“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
Friends, the time has come. Bags are packed and our adventure is about to begin. See you in about a week. - Lowell and Sparkle
"Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach." - Earl Nightengale
I was glad I had taught her directional cues (she'll go left when i say "left", etc.), as there were a number of sharp turns or spots where there was more than one way over the rocks, but some preferable to others. I'll have to show how I trained that as I hadn't thought about how handy that would be as I had taught that skill more for canicross, which is essentially running with your dog with them attached to you and pulling.
It was the first time that I could not find the summit marker upon reaching the top of a mountain, but according to my altimeter, we did make it.
The trail widens past an antenna and structure and we could have gone many miles (to Georgia, in fact), but we had to get to Stamford by afternoon, so after a mile or so further, we headed back.
On the way back we took a left from a split in the trail and went down the fire road that runs more or less parallel to the AT. It is an easier grade, but you miss out on some views. Right before we got back the trailhead, we took a left at a side trail that leads to Table Rock and past that to a steep descent to the far side of Lake Lenape before taking you back to the parking lot for the trailhead.
We hiked about 6 miles that morning. It was a nice break from the 550 miles of driving we had done the day before. Up to this point, I think my training has been paying off. Sparkle was the most relaxed she's been on a long car ride. She did well in the cabin and on the trails. The pack fit Sparkle well and she didn't seem to mind carrying it. She didn't chafe and her paws held out, even though it was pretty rocky. We didn't see any people or any dogs the entire 3 hours on the trail, so we really felt like we had what I understand to be a busy trail to ourselves.
I feel like I achieved my goal of seeing where we were with taking a long road trip, how she'll settle down for the night in a strange place, how she'll handle the pack, and how she'll hold up on the trail. Feeling good about tackling the CL50 in just a few short weeks. Here's a video compilation of the trip. Enjoy!
Angela and Lowell, your friendly Harmony Dog Trainers!