Meet Duke

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I can’t believe I never introduced this little guy!  (Seriously, I thought I wrote about him ages ago!)  This is Duke.  We got him about 9 years ago – before we were even married!  He’s a Cairn terrier, and his zest for life is matched only by his enormous underbite!  Duke has been my steadfast companion through all kinds of ups and downs.  This little guy has a lot of personality – he’s super outgoing, greeting every guest and playing with every dog he meets!

I don’t take him running, since his legs are awfully short and he’s getting a bit of arthritis now that he’s getting a little bit older.  We do take him out and about, though.  He loves to run on the beach and through the woods.  And, after a long day of adventuring, he wants nothing more than to snuggle up on my lap!

 

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Winter Day at the Beach

 

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Since it has been unseasonably warm here, we decided to head up to Maine and spend a few hours at the beach.  I love going to the beach anytime, but there is something special about going in the winter.  Maybe it is the small/nonexistent crowds?  Or maybe just that we can bring our dogs…?

Duke has always loved the beach – he chases toys into the water and runs around like a crazy dog!  He also loves meeting all the other (big) dogs.  People are always surprised that his little legs can keep up with all the larger dogs (seriously – he’s tiny.  Only about 13 pounds!).  Fiona loves the beach too, but she’s a little less social than Duke.

The only downside to the day is that we forgot the camera!  Our phones did the work this time, but it would have been nice to try out my new macro lens. 🙂  Although.. forgetting the camera gave me an excuse to collect shells and rocks to bring home and “practice.”

I’m definitely going to need one or two more quiet days at the beach before the crowds come back!  This was just what I needed for a mental break!

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Bash Bish Falls State Park

In the same area as Mt. Everett (the Mount Washington State Reservation), there are multiple state parks.  The day we hiked Mt. Everett, we didn’t have time to check out any of the surrounding parks, but we were pretty curious about Bash Bish Falls State Park.  According to the website, Bash Bish Falls is the largest single drop waterfall in Massachusetts (yes, I know – not saying much).  While the falls were nice, we also really loved some of the surrounding trails.

There are two parking areas – one in MA and one in NY.  These parking areas are only about a mile apart, and I highly recommend checking out both areas.  The hike down to the falls from the MA lot is very steep and strenuous, but there is also a short, steep hike UP from the parking lot to a scenic viewing area.  We liked the view so much that we went back again just after sunset to take another look.

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Same view, but sunset!

Same view, but sunset!

There was also a small trail off to the side of the parking lot that led down to the river (not sure what it is called, but it’s the one that feeds into the Falls).  No one else was down there, and we really enjoyed the quiet!  There’s nothing like the sound of rushing water for stress relief – plus, the dogs liked swimming in the calmer areas.

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After a couple hours hanging out by the river, we drove over to the NY parking area and hiked about a mile uphill to the falls.  It was a nice, relaxing hike with a wide and smooth trail.  We had to cross the state line (back into MA) to get back to the falls, and were excited to find that we were the only people there.  Apparently, the falls are very crowded in the summer, but it was quiet when we were there – likely because it was 7 p.m.!

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All-in-all, we had a great day!  The hiking wasn’t overly strenuous, which was relaxing (in a way), but we were rewarded for our efforts.  Plus, the dogs had a great time, and I had some fun playing with my camera!

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Mt. Everett

We went hiking this weekend at Mt. Everett State Reservation in southwestern MA.  It is part of a (free) state forest area, and delightfully quiet (we only saw one other couple hiking the entire time – and that was at the very beginning!).  Despite the heat (it was 90+ close to home, though the temperature dropped as we got into the mountains), we were able to get in a good workout, great views, and a little break from the craziness everyday life.  Of course, we took lots of precautions to keep our pups cool!

Duke and I at the summit!

Duke and I at the summit!

We really liked this hike.  There was a pond close to the parking area (where Jeb and the dogs took a swim), and the trail (which is part of the Appalachian Trail) was easy to follow and had lots of interesting features.  The parking area is partway up to the summit, but we took the “Guilder’s Pond Trail” the rest of the way.  The trail begins with a fire road and switches to singletrack about halfway up.  There’s an AT shelter and nice overlook (with a bench!) around the same area that the trail changes.

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With lots of stops, the entire hike to the summit (2900+ feet) only took about 45 minutes.  There is lots of vegetation at the summit, and a lovely view of NY, CT, and MA (since the mountain is situated in the SW corner of the state).  Along the trail, we saw plenty of wildlife – a turtle, frogs, mudpuppies (in the pond), and a rabbit!  There are warnings that rattlesnakes and black bears live in the area, and I am NOT disappointed that I didn’t see any of those!

All-in-all, we had a great day – there are some other natural attractions (including the largest waterfall in Massachusetts), so we are definitely planning to head back to the area and check out some other trails.

Turtle!

Turtle!

Jeb - surveying his domain

Jeb – surveying his domain

Dogs love to climb!

Dogs love to climb!

The whole singletrack section was interesting and picturesque.

The whole singletrack section was interesting and picturesque.

Duke wanted proof that he summitted Mt. Everett! :)

Duke wanted proof that he summitted Mt. Everett! 🙂

Miller State Park

Last weekend, we decided to head out for our first big hike of the season!  We went to Miller State Park in New Hampshire to hike Pack Monadnock.  We chose this hike for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is dog-friendly!  We love to hike with our dogs (shocking, I know).  The regular (and more famous) Mount Monadnock does not allow dogs.
  2. Since it is close to a really popular mountain in the area (Mount Monadnock), Miller State Park (and Pack Monadnock) do not generally have the same kinds of crowds.
  3. It is relatively close to home (about 45 minutes away), but not so close that it is a hike we tackle often.
  4. It is a long and challenging hike (there is even some scrambling involved… well, if you’re short like me!)

 

We had a great day!  The dogs had a blast, and Jeb and I had a great workout.  The trails were nice and quiet, and the views were spectacular.  There is a fire tower at the summit, and I love to climb up to the top and take photos.  The only downside, really, was the mud.  It had rained for a solid week here, and the trails were a bit muddy.  Not only did the mud attract LOTS of mayflies, but I also slipped and fell while scrambling up some rocks.  I’m fine, but I do have a nasty bruise on my thigh.  Whoops.

I missed out on a lot of hiking last summer because of my injury.  This year, I plan to try lots of new trails! 🙂  Here are some pictures from our day.

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Tired Dog!

We went for a long run today, as planned.  I wasn’t really feeling it, though that tends to be the pattern lately.  Either way, I knew I needed to do something so I headed out.  The schedule said 6 miles, but it is kind of hard to plan exact routes now that parts of my normal loops are snowed in, so I ended up a bit over (6.4).  It felt good… no, it felt great!  I felt strong throughout.  Wendy seemed perfectly fine for the distance too (it was her longest run ever!).

We’ve been having some warmer weather lately, and I really enjoyed the higher temps during my run.  I think we got close to 50º F today – not too shabby.  It was foggy too, so the whole neighborhood had a very quiet and peaceful feel.  My phone said the humidity was 100%, which felt surprisingly nice.  I’ll have to remember this in the summer, when the humidity is high along with the temps!

I feel good about my run today, and optimistic about my progress.

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Resting after a job well done!

 

 

Meet Wendy

This is Wendy.  She is my running partner.

I have two dogs.  Duke is a Cairn Terrier.  He is sweet and cuddly, and is a wonderful companion.  Duke follows me around the house, and spends every possible moment sitting on my lap (or at my feet).  Wendy is a “hound-mix.”  No one really knows much about her heritage – the shelter said she is part bloodhound, but she also has some qualities of a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  She has webbed feet.  Everywhere we go, someone tells me that she “looks just like_____,” but no one REALLY knows.  Most importantly, Wendy LOVES to run.

I started running with her about a year ago, but we both took a break when I hurt my back and had to stop running.  Once I regained my strength, I began taking her again – and never looked back!  She loves heading out for a workout, and is definitely very motivating on the days I am feeling a little bit lazy.  When we come home, she is so relaxed and happy – like me, satisfied by her efforts.

I’ve read that dogs with her body type can run upwards of 20 miles if they are properly hydrated.  This gives me hope as I build my mileage (not that I intend to see 20 miles anytime soon!).  I don’t know that I could bear to leave her behind!