Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jamis Jingles to Mt. Shaw Summit

Jamis ready to hit the trail!
Winter has been slow to arrive this year in New Hampshire.  It was beginning to look a little like Christmas as Jamis and I set out on our hike early in the morning on Sunday, December 18th to the top of Mt. Shaw (2,990 ft.) - the highest peak in the Ossipee Mountains.  This handsome Labrador retriever/Great Dane mix weighing nearly 90 pounds certainly had the energy to keep himself warm on a chilly day.  The temperature was only 15 degrees when we arrived at the trailhead, but Jamis was ready to face the cold and start hiking.

Taking in the views
In the interest of taking pictures, I do allow the dogs with Foster Dog Summit to take the lead and travel ahead of me.  While I do my best to continue reinforcing good leash manners, a 90-pound dog hiking in front of you does resemble more of a towline at times.  With Jamis, however, I knew that his occasional pulling was equal parts enthusiasm for a walk in the snowy woods combined with his sheer size and strength.  He did respond well to my requests to wait and slow down while we charged our way to the top of Mt. Shaw with scenic stops at Tate Mountain and Black Snout en route. 

Looking handsome in his holiday collar
We did not encounter any fellow hikers on the trail until we were approaching the lookout at Black Snout.  Despite having hiked several miles alone, Jamis was curious yet accepting of the hikers as they approached.  We spoke briefly with one other person on the summit of Mt. Shaw who commented how handsome Jamis looked in his holiday collar complete with jingle bells.  

For a dog with roots in warmer climates, Jamis quickly discovered the excitement of making fresh tracks in the snow and the importance of getting a good claw grip on black ice.  He will easily adapt to four season living here in New England.

Hiking and fishing in December!
Most of all, Jamis really just wanted to continue following the scents of the trail.  I think he would have preferred completing the entire 7.7 mile loop without taking a break for photos or even water.  Of course, the Labarador in Jamis could not resist wading and splashing in the streams.

As we neared the end of the our journey, I wished that I had time to hike even longer with Jamis on this day.  I was equally happy to have his company in the car where he quickly settled in for the ride home and took a nap.

Jamis is currently residing in foster care with a family who volunteers with Almost Home Rescue of Maine.  His foster family reports that Jamis is a true gentle giant who loves to snuggle with kids. 

Jamis would be thrilled to have a new start in a new home for the new year.  Jamis was previously adopted from an animal shelter in 2010, but his family very reluctantly had to surrender him when their living situation unexpectedly changed.  Please help Jamis keep his New Year's resolution by sharing his trip report and complete photo album and visiting his online profile at Petfinder.com.

Happy Holidays!  See you on the trails.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Maribel Marches to Mt. Tecumseh Summit

Maribel at the summit of Mt. Tecumseh
Okay, so perhaps marching is a bit of an exaggeration for this lovely yet lanky Labrador/Weimaraner mixed breed who recently arrived from an overcrowded animal shelter in Arkansas.  Ten month old Maribel was found wandering as as stray on the fairway of a local country club.  So, while we knew Maribel was capable of walking eighteen holes, we wanted to see if she would be equally interested in hiking four thousand feet.

Sure, I'll try a munchkin
Our adventure to the top of Mt. Tecumseh (4,003 ft.) began with a stop at Dunkin' Donuts where Maribel graciously accepted the offer of a complimentary munchkin to fuel her way to the summit.  Maribel was extremely well behaved in the car though she did need a little bit of a boost to get in the backseat since she is still getting familiar with how to jump into a car.  Thereafter, she was perfectly content with her car ride and had no problem jumping out and hitting the trail.

To be fair, Maribel is far more spectacular and sweet than my amateur photography skills may convey.  Pointing and shooting with my right hand on the camera and my left hand on the leash does not always produce the most centered, focused or appropriately lighted shots.  Photographing a dog that is nearly all black while hiking along the trail can be especially difficult.  Sometimes, I am disappointed when a photo that I had high hopes for turns out to be blurred when later downloaded from the camera after a hike.

Taking a flying leap
Then there are times when I am surprised by a candid moment that I did not realize I had captured.  Such was the case with one of the first photos I snapped as Maribel faced crossing a stream on the Mt. Tecumseh Trail.  After hesitating briefly and seemingly aware of how cold the water would be if she did not hit each stepping stone, Maribel nearly took to the skies in an attempt to keep her feet dry.  Thereafter, Maribel confidently trekked across the streams, up rocks, around trees and over ice. 

Maribel, Roxy and Tucker
I was expecting a 10-month old dog to have fewer leash manners and to be a bit rambunctious when meeting and greeting people on the trail.  Maribel was completely the opposite.  She walked rather calmly on her leash, and she approached both human and fellow canine hikers on the trail very politely.  When two high energy hiking hounds named Roxy and Tucker came galloping up the trail during our descent, Maribel greeted them with a quiet enthusiasm and seemed ready to accompany them for a second trip to the summit.

Hoping for a home for the holidays!
Overall, Maribel fully enjoyed her hike and was especially curious of the snow which she sniffed and accumulated around her chin for the majority of the trip.  If you are interested in adopting Maribel or know someone who is looking for a canine companion, you can learn more on her Petfinder.com adoption profile here.  Maribel is currently residing in a foster home in New Hampshire with a volunteer from Almost Home Rescue.

A full album of photos from Maribel's hiking adventure is also available for viewing.  See you on the trails!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Marvin Circles Mountains Welch and Dickey

Marvin prancing along the ledges on Welch Mountain
Marvin and I were originally planning to hike to the summit of Mt. Moosilauke on Sunday, December 4, 2011.  However, one of us got a later than intended start, so we opted to amend our one mountain plan for a little shorter hike to the summit of two mountains via the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail.  This is an incredibly scenic 4.5 mile loop trail to the summit of Mt Welch (2,605 ft.) and continuing on the to top of Mt. Dickey (2,734 ft.).

Marvin skillfully squeezing through a tight spot
Marvin did not appear to mind the change in hiking plans one bit.  In fact, Marvin does not seem to be bothered by much of anything.  He loved the car ride from his foster home in Southern New Hampshire to the trail head located off Orris Road in Thornton, New Hampshire.  Marvin is sweet, friendly and extremely photogenic.  This approximately 8-month old Golden retriever/German shepherd mix would be the ideal companion for an active family in search of a kind canine to enrich their home life.

Muddy paws pausing on the trail for a photo opp

For such a young dog who was most recently running free as a stray in West Virginia prior to ending up in an overcrowded animal shelter, Marvin did extremely well on his leash throughout our entire hike.  While dogs hiking with Foster Dog Summit are not allowed off leash during our travels, many dogs do become excellent off leash hikers by responding well to voice commands and staying on the trails just ahead of their human companions.  This is a behavior that is learned over time, however, and not something that I can risk with a dog I just met.

Taking in the views from top of Welch Mountain
Marvin was extremely responsive to my requests to stop and wait and even to turn for the camera.  He seemed to enjoy posing for the photos, and there were several opportunities for him to show off his stunning good looks along the trail and at the summits of each mountain.  Since the rocky ledges on both peaks were wet and icy in many spots, I was extremely grateful for Marvin's mindful leash manners.  He was also very polite with all of the people and the one dog that we had the opportunity to meet on the trail.  Everyone wished Marvin well and promised to share his adventure with their friends and family in the hopes that he would find a home in time for the holidays!

A serious pose from the summit
Please help us make Marvin's wish for a home come true by sharing his story and photos - a complete album of his hike is available online

Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. is the rescue group who coordinates Marvin's foster home and adoption process.   If you cannot adopt or foster a dog in your own home, please consider making a contribution this holiday season to assist in the costs of transporting and caring for a dog in need of rescue.  To learn more about Marvin, please visit his profile on Petfinder.com.

A short video clip of Marvin's hike along the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail is also provided below.  See you on the trails!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Norrie Hiking for a Home on Mt. Roberts

Norrie at the summit of Mt. Roberts
At only eights month of age, Norrie is still very much a puppy - full of energy, eager to please and showing all signs that she will grow into a perfect lady with a family to call her own.  A lovely mixture of beagle and hound, Norrie seemed to smell that an adventure was in her near future when I picked her up en route to our hiking destination in the backyard of the Castle in the Clouds located in Moultonborough, New Hampshire.  This magnificent property features 28 miles of trails running over 5,500 acres of conservation land in the Ossipee Mountain Range.

Norrie ready to start up the trail
On the morning of December 3, 2011, Norrie and I decided that we would tackle five miles along these routes with a straight out and back hike on the Mt. Roberts Trail to a scenic summit that shares the name.  Norrie was ready to lead and did not require much coaxing to begin charging her way to the top of the mountain.  However, along the way, she obeyed requests to slow down and also agreed to take several photos en route.  Norrie was especially interested in playing catch up to the hikers who were on the trail ahead of us.  Norrie also kept us precisely on course with her nose to the ground following the scent of the trail so adeptly that she steered me in the opposite direction just as I was about to make a wrong turn.

Scenic outlook!
Norrie and I enjoyed a mostly solitary hiking adventure, but we did have the opportunity to meet up with a few people at the summit of Mt. Roberts who were eager to learn about her search for a home and to share stories of their own canine companions past and present.  While we did not have the opportunity to interact with any other dogs on our journey, Norrie does very well with other dogs, cats and kids.  As we were concluding our hike, a few children who were playing on the property near the hiker parking area definitely attracted Norrie's attention, and it was obvious she would have loved to join them.

Part beagle and part treeing walker coonhound perhaps?
Norrie is currently living with a family who provides her foster care as volunteers with Almost Home Rescue.  Her temporary family happily reports that Norrie is house trained and continues to improve her leash manners.  Most of all, Norrie would love to have a home of her own for the holidays.  

For additional information about Norrie, to share her profile or to make an application for adoption, please visit her page online at Petfinder.com.  In addition to the following video clip of Norrie hiking on the Mt. Roberts Trail en route to a scenic outlook, there is also an entire album of photos detailing her adventure available online at the Foster Dog Summit fan page.  See you on the trails!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two Pups Two Peaks One Goal

Sage and Tyson collaborating about their search for homes
It was a first for Foster Dog Summit on Sunday, November 20, 2011 as my friend Karen and I headed out for a hike with a pair of pups, Sage and Tyson, in search of two peaks and one goal - permanent homes for both of these fine gentlemen.  We took a double dog daring trek to the tops of Mt. Percival (2,212 ft.) and Mt. Morgan (2,220 ft.) to take some pictures and enjoy the views of Squam Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Sage was so excited to hit the trails!
Our newest hiker Sage is a handsome, approximately two year old Labrador retriever/German shepherd mix who currently resides in a foster home with a volunteer from Almost Home Rescue.  During his hiking adventure, Sage demonstrated that he loves riding in the car and craves human affection as much as he enjoys charging to the top of a mountain or two!

Tyson on the summit of Mt. Morgan enjoying a second hike
Followers of this blog may remember our second hiker Tyson from his adventures on the trails to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North a few weeks ago.  Shortly after that trip, Tyson was adopted by a someone we met on the trails, and we were very excited to see him off to a new home that included a canine sister.  Unfortunately, after only a few days, his canine sister decided that she did not care too much for Tyson's high energy and preferred to be an only dog once again.  So, Tyson has returned to his foster home with a volunteer for Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. to look for a new permanent family to call his own.

This adorable, mostly Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever mix was happy to have the opportunity for another hike.  Tyson and I have decided that our motto at Foster Dog Summit will be, "If at first you don't succeed; hike, hike again!"

Side by side on the descent from Mt. Morgan
Thankfully, Tyson and Sage did not conflict with one another during our hike even though they met for the first time as we arrived at the trail head on Sunday morning.  During the majority of the time where the trail was wide enough to accommodate both dogs, Sage and Tyson hiked side by side occasionally stopping in unison to sniff something of interest on the side of the trail.

Lisa-Marie, Sage, Tyson and Karen on Mt. Percival
As the sun began to set, our hiking duo concluded their five mile journey to the summits of Mt. Percival and Mt. Morgan before sharing a car ride back to their respective foster homes.  Both Sage and Tyson are hoping that they will find forever homes soon and have a shared holiday wish that it will come true!  Please help these hikers find their homes for the holidays by sharing this post and the links to their profiles below.

A full photo album of photos to accompany this double dog blog is available online.  Our hike along the Mount Percival - Mount Morgan loop was planned using the route described in the book "Best Hikes with Dogs - New Hampshire & Vermont" by Lisa Densmore which we recommend for its suggested routes around dog unfriendly obstacles such as the steep ladders near the summit of Mt. Morgan.

To learn and share more about Sage or to make an application for his adoption, visit his profile on Petfinder.com.  Tyson also has his own profile which is available by clicking here on Petfinder.com.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!  See you on the trails.  A video of Sage and Tyson's adventure is posted below and available for sharing on You Tube.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lewis Travels to Tate Mountain and Beyond

Lewis on the Shaw Trail
Lewis and I decided to tackle some lesser known trails over in the Ossipee Mountains this weekend.  This adorable, approximately four year old Australian shepherd mix enjoyed meandering along the Shaw, Italian and Big Ball Mountain trails on Sunday, November 13, 2011.  Since this was my first hike over in the Ossipee range, I was a bit unsure of exactly where our journey would take us, but Lewis did not seem to mind a bit about our open agenda.

He was a perfect gentleman during the car ride to the trail head and walked very casually yet inquisitively along the trails en route to the summit of Tate Mountain 2,060 ft. (also known as Big Ball Mountain) and beyond to the lookout at Black Snout at 2,803 ft.

Lewis exchanged pats on the head for photos
Lewis loved the walking as much as he did the many stops along the way for photos where he would look up with his soulful brown eyes for a rewarding pat on the head.  Of course, I could not help but to oblige his many requests for attention.  In addition to our various photo stops, Lewis and I also chatted with a number of other hikers who were also enjoying a crisp walk in the fallen leaves.  Lewis proudly greeted fellow hikers as well as canine trekkers Moose, Chase and Seamus.

Lewis and I at Black Snout lookout
As we continued along on our approximately six mile out and back hike, we collected photos from our stops along Fields Brook as well as the top of Tate Mountain and the Black Snout Lookout which is a sub peak of Mt. Shaw.  While we enjoyed well marked trails throughout our journey, we were not always certain of the stops that we had made along the way.  Lewis and I attempted to confer with other hikers on the trails, but it quickly became evident that they were also new to the trails and that our own map of the area was the most comprehensive one which even a trail locator application seemed to contradict.  A full album of photos featuring Lewis' adventure in the Ossipee Mountain Range is available online.   Should any followers of Foster Dog Summit who have hiked this area wish to comment on our locations in the album, we would sincerely appreciate your clarifications.  Our comparisons with other trips reports we have found online indicate some conflicting references to locations such as Big Ball Mountain and Black Snout Lookout.

Taking a snooze at the Black Snout lookout
While Lewis would really love to be in a new home for the holidays, he understands that not everyone is in a position to adopt him right now.  However, Lewis realizes that you may be interested in helping him and his other foster friends currently living in temporary homes with volunteers for Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.  So, if you would like to support the rescue and adoption of homeless dogs this holiday season, Lewis would sincerely appreciate your charitable vote for him in the Virtual Dog Race.  Click here to cast your vote for Lewis by making a donation in his honor.

You can read more about the Virtual Dog Race and also see more recent happy endings in the latest newsletter from Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.  See you on the trails!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tyson Bags a Home on Mt. Kinsman

A little rain but a lot of fun on Mt. Kinsman!
Two nights before my journey with Tyson as I was contemplating which mountain to hike, I told my husband that I was thinking about heading to the summit of Cannon even though I had already climbed there with my own dogs, and I also ski there frequently in the winter.

My dogs Neely and Bandit at the summit of Cannon July 2009
My husband replied, "You have already hiked Cannon.  Why not go over and do the Kinsmans instead?" 

I decided to take his advice, and my last check on the weather reports indicated that Kinsman would be favorable for a hike.  So, Tyson and I decided to head for the summit of Mt. Kinsman North, and if we had the time, we would also go over to the top of Mt. Kinsman South. 

When Tyson and I reached the trail head that morning, it was already drizzling in Franconia Notch.  I thought about driving further south and hiking Mt. Tecumseh instead.  There was not a drop of rain until I drove into Franconia Notch that morning, so I knew there was a good chance it was drier elsewhere in the White Mountains.  I worried about having low quality photos from the hike if it really started to rain, and I was concerned about the route becoming too slippery on the way back.

But I just had a feeling that Kinsman was where we should hike that day. 

Tyson looks toward the trails
As I looked into the backseat at Tyson, he seemed ready to start hiking, and something told me to simply, "Go for it."  I had new boots with a good tread, and if it rained too hard, we could turn back or at least modify our original plan to hike to the summits of both Kinsman North and South.  We could always settle for one 4,000 foot peak on this rainy day. 

Tyson, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever who is bred for the water, definitely seemed to agree.  I leashed Tyson, grabbed my backpack, pulled my hood up, and off we went on our adventure to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North.

There were a number of other hikers who were also fooled by the latest forecasts and were surprised by the drizzly, cold and foggy conditions.  I spoke with many people on the way to the summit who were very impressed with Tyson.  I make a pitch about Foster Dog Summit to anyone who indicates interest in my hiking companion du jour, so nearly everyone on the trails that day heard about Tyson's search for a home.

Tyson and his new sibling Maddie
One person paid particular attention because by Monday morning after our hike, Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. had an application for Tyson from a hiker I spoke with on Mt. Kinsman.  Mark already had a young pit bull mixed breed rescue dog at home, and he was looking for a second companion.  He believed Tyson might be the perfect addition to his family. 

Tyson went home to Mark, his wife and their dog Maddie last weekend.

Tyson and I bagged only one peak on that rainy Saturday as we decided to head back after reaching the summit of Kinsman North to be certain we had enough time for a potential slip and slide on the descent. 

We are extremely happy with our one peak and one home! 

See you on the trails.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take Two for Tipper on Indian Head

Tipper at the summit of Mt. Pemigewasset (Indian Head)
Watching Tipper tackle the trail on Mt. Pemigewasset (2,557 ft.) on a beautiful autumn day was especially rewarding as I recalled that this sweet six-year old Labrador mix recently spent four years living at an animal shelter.  Tipper relished her time in the woods and displayed an increased level of comfort and confidence over our first hike to the top of Red Hill in early September.  
Since my time was limited for hiking this weekend, we chose the approximately three mile out and back trek along the Mt. Pemigewasset trail where Tipper and I could enjoy spectacular views from the ledges several hundred feet above Franconia Notch.  On a perfectly clear day without a cloud in the sky, our journey did not disappoint. 

Tipper at the start of the Pemigewasset Trail
Tipper was eager to get started on a hike that included several stops for photos, a few stream crossings, and the opportunity to meet many new people and a few dogs as well.  She calmly greeted fellow hikers and was especially fond of meeting fellow canine climbers Bella, Scarlet, Barclay and Mike.

Tipper meets Scarlet and Barclay at the summit
Since Tipper and I got a relatively early start, we encountered only a few other hikers until we reached the summit.  Our final steps to the summit can be viewed on this short video clip.  After carefully peering over the ledge from the summit and taking a few photos, Tipper and I made the acquaintance of fellow rescue dogs Scarlet and Barclay who were enjoying the views after having climbed via the Indian Head Trail.  Scarlet and Barclay were both very friendly and proudly modeled their fleece coats while I spoke with their human companions about Tipper and how she was hiking for a home as part of Foster Dog Summit.

Tipper's friend Mike whom she met on the trail
After spending some time enjoying the warm sunshine at the peak, Tipper and I began our descent where we had the opportunity to meet several more hikers.  Everyone was interested in hearing about Tipper's hike for a home and looked forward to sharing her story.  We also met a very enthusiastic cairn terrier named Mike who has climbed several of New Hampshire's 4,000 footers and also enjoys accompanying his family on cross country skiing trips in the winter.  Mike was very excited to make Tipper's acquaintance and to have his picture taken.  He was delighted to pose for a few photos while Tipper enjoyed a break from the camera.

Getting ready for the trip home.
Tipper enjoyed every aspect of her second hike from the trip to the trail head to the stroll to the summit.  A complete photo album of Tipper's journey to the top of Mt. Pemigewasset is available online.  

To learn more about Tipper and to make an application for adoption, please visit her profile online at the Almost Home Rescue page on Petfinder.com.   Tipper hopes that the next time she meets you on the trails, she will be able to introduce you to her new family.  Please share Tipper's story and help find her a home.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Archie Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Archie at the summit of Mt. Tecumseh
It was the calm before the storm early in the morning of October 29, 2011 as Archie headed north for a hike to the summit of Mt. Tecumseh (4,003 ft.)  This friendly, smart approximately two and a half year old Treeing Walker Coonhound was in for a bit of winter on the Mt. Tecumseh trail.  While the major storm was still hours away from hitting the New England area, the snow that had fallen a few days earlier left an impressive blanket of white in the higher elevations.  The autumn snowfall is definitely welcome on Mt. Tecumseh since it is home to the Waterville Valley Ski Resort which will commence operations in a few weeks.

Archie agilely crossing a stream
Archie thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of the white stuff and happily journeyed along the trail as if he was a skilled winter walker from the hills and not a former flatlander who recently arrived from an overcrowded animal shelter in Arkansas.  Archie greeted all of the hikers we met on the Mt. Tecumseh trail with a calm and friendly demeanor that demonstrated his ability to easily make friends with men and women.  While we did not encounter any children or other canines in our travels, Archie would have greeted them with a similar level of calm friendliness.  Archie is especially fond of children, and he currently shares his foster home with other dogs and cats.

Obstacle was no match for a treeing walker coonhound
Fellow hikers were curious to learn more about Archie and his breed.  Upon seeing Archie coming up the trail, one man jokingly exclaimed, "He looks like a giant beagle!"  Archie does indeed share the tri-color markings of a beagle, but he is significantly larger - weighing in at a tall and very handsome ninety pounds.  In spite of his size, Archie is a big lug who loves to lean into your thigh for a pat on the head and will be equally happy with reaching the summit of a sofa to take in a view from the television. 

The relaxing ride home
Riding in the car is a new experience for Archie, and he was a bit drooly with nervous excitement on the way to the mountain.  However, having relaxed during his hike, Archie was not at all concerned about the car ride home.  He quickly settled in on the back seat and napped for nearly the entire ride which indicates that his anxiety will likely subside entirely once he has a few more trips under his belt.

Archie and I shivering at the summit!
Our round trip out and back hike of five miles along the Mt. Tecumseh trail was extremely enjoyable, and I am confident that Archie's adventure will enhance his profile to potential adopters.  Please share his journey and increase the chances of him finding a home soon.  I would like to extend a thank you to my friend Karen who accompanied Archie and I on this trek and provided photography assistance.  A complete photo album is available for viewing online. 

You can learn more about Archie and make an application to adopt him by viewing his profile at Petfinder.com.  To learn more about becoming a foster family for another dog in need or to make a contribution towards the all volunteer rescue efforts of other dogs like Archie, please visit Almost Home Rescue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tyson Tolls to Kinsman North Summit

On the Lonesome Lake Trail
We do our best to check the weather forecasts when planning our hikes to avoid inclement conditions as much as possible.  In Franconia Notch, however, the weather is very unpredictable and often differs from that of the surrounding areas.  On Saturday, October 22, 2011, a partly cloudy forecast soon turned to drizzle and then to sleet as my partner Tyson and I made our way to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North (4,293 ft.).

Enjoying a pre-hike treat in the car
Tyson, a mostly to possibly pure bred Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever did not seem to mind the drizzle at all.  This smart, active two year old was as thrilled with his arrival in Franconia Notch State Park as he had been for the entire car ride to the trail head.  While most dogs are content to simply hang their heads out the window or lie comfortably sprawled on the seat, Tyson mostly preferred to sit upright in the middle of the back seat with his focus on the front windshield actively searching for clues to his ultimate destination.

Posing on the bridge along Lonesome Lake
As we made our way along the Lonesome Lake, Cascade Brook, Fishin' Jimmy and Kinsman Ridge Trails, Tyson and I considered taking an even longer route by visiting the summit of Mt. Kinsman South as well.  By the time we were nearly 3/4 of the way to the top of Mt. Kinsman North, the rain began to fall more steadily and the temperatures began to drop.  Taking a wait and see approach, we opted to make a decision once we reached the first summit and to enjoy our photo opportunities and views along the way.  One of the more scenic stops along our route was at Lonesome Lake where Tyson happily posed for several photos that could be added to his adoption profile.

Taking in the views at Lonesome Lake
Tyson and I encountered several groups of hikers and a few other dogs on our journey.  True to his breed, Tyson can appear leery of some strangers when first approaching them, but he happily accepted all of the hikers on the trail and was especially receptive of them once I initiated a conversation and indicated my acceptance.  One fellow hiker even got a lick on the nose from Tyson before I had the chance to officially introduce him.

Fogged in at the summit of Mt. Kinsman North
We spoke with several other hikers at the summit of Mt. Kinsman North who enjoyed meeting with Tyson, learning about his breed, giving him a congratulatory pat on the head and taking photos of his accomplishment.  Tyson showed off his sit command in front of the hikers in the hopes that one of them would share a bit of their snacks.  Of course, he enjoyed his own lunch of kibble as well as some dog biscuits before beginning the descent.  Given the level of fog and the sleet that we encountered at the top, we opted to save the summit of Mt. Kinsman South for a less rainy day.

Tyson was very agile on the slippery descent
We were happy to leave the sleet behind and have a little extra time available for a potentially slippery hike down the mountain.  Tyson proved to be even more agile on the way down the trails.  It was as if he had committed the route to memory and quickly selected the right steps on the steepest portions of the descent.  Tyson was also very mindful of my pace and did not pull on the leash or cause me to lose my balance.  I find it difficult to believe that this was Tyson's first climb up a mountain.  Given that he was picked up while wandering as a stray in West Virginia several months ago, it is quite possible that Tyson may have spent time roaming through the woods and honing his hiking skills.

Tyson and I discussing the return route
What I do know for certain about Tyson is that he is a wonderful, smart, attentive dog who is fortunate to have been given a second chance thanks to the volunteer efforts of Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.  He will make a wonderful companion for someone who is looking for a dog that enjoys new adventures and loves to be active.  Tyson is currently in foster care where he continues to work on his obedience skills, enjoys the company of other dogs (especially the ladies) and doesn't pay any attention to the cats in his home.

To learn more about Tyson or to make an application to adopt him, visit his profile on Petfinder.com.  You can also see and share a full online photo album of his journey to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North.

If you like our blog and are on Facebook, please be sure to like the Foster Dog Summit page, too!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Addi Scrambles to Whiteface Summit

Blue heeler mix Addi on the Blueberry Ledge Trail
"Smart, loving, energetic and the perfect running or agility dog," is the opening description on Addi's profile at Petfinder.com.  With such a high-energy resume, I was determined to tire Addi out with a challenging hike on a gorgeous summer like fall day.

Buckled in for safety en route to Mt. Whiteface
When I met Addi on Saturday morning, I was immediately impressed by her stunning good looks and playful demeanor.  Her foster mom informed me that Addi bonds very quickly to new people and that she would most likely enjoy hiking since she runs 2-3 miles nearly every day.  Addi hopped right into my car with such enthusiasm it was clear that she agreed with this assessment and couldn't wait to go on her first hike!  

Addi and I atop Mt. Whiteface
As we drove to the hiker parking area, I thought about how so many wonderful dogs like Addi become homeless as a result of housing restrictions.  Addi was adopted from an animal shelter when she was approximately 2 years old.  Her new family, which included two other dogs, loved Addi and were so thrilled to have rescued her from the shelter.  Sadly, only a few months later, the family had to move to military base housing where a two dog limit was in place.  Addi fell victim to the last in first out (LIFO) rule, and she became homeless for a second time in her short life.  I am hopeful that Addi's hike with Foster Dog Summit will put her one step closer to a permanent "three's a charm" home.

We chose the 8.4 mile round trip to the summit of Mt. Whiteface (4,020 ft.) via the Blueberry Ledge and Rollins Trails.  This is one of the most popular routes to the summit of Mt. Whiteface, but it does require more than a bit of scrambling near the top.  By all accounts, Addi - a 2 and 1/2 year old blue heeler mixed breed was up to the challenge.  When hiking solo with a dog on a leash, it is important to be certain that the dog is physically capable of some leaping and that you are prepared to lift the dog, if necessary.  Thankfully, Addi had some leaps, and I was able to give her a boost in a few spots near the top.

Addi and the view from the ledge en route
We met our first hikers on the trail approximately 45 minutes into our journey.  Addi alerted me to someone coming up the trail behind us by barking at them from a distance.  I was grateful for the heads up, but most of the dogs I have hiked with have not barked such alerts.  Addi, however, was a working dog intent on finishing her climb, and she clearly had bonded to me in a short amount of time.  I explained that Addi was on her first hike and had been very focused on the trail when they came up behind us.  They understood and joked that I was the safest person on the trail that day.  As we made our way up the Blueberry Ledge Trail, Addi became increasingly more confident and accepted that it was normal for other people and even the occasional dog to be on the trail with us.

Don't be fooled, Addi is just getting her second wind!
By the time we reached the summit, Addi and I took a much needed break, had some lunch and enjoyed the views.  We also made the acquaintance of another solo hiker named Martin who was planning to descend via the Blueberry Ledge Trail.  We were grateful for Martin's offer to take some photographs and his interest in Foster Dog Summit.  Addi and I decided to partner up with Martin for the return journey down the mountain.  Addi proved to be just as agile and energetic on the descent as she was on the way up the mountain, and she required very little assistance negotiating her way down the steeper sections.

I would be thrilled to hike with Addi again, but I hope that she will be hiking or enjoying some other activity with a new family before I get the chance to climb with her once more.  Please visit the complete photo album of Addi's hike to the summit of Mt. Whiteface.  Additional details about Addi are available on her profile at Petfinder.com.

To learn more about how to adopt Addi or to contribute financial or other support to the all volunteer rescue organization that provides Addi and many other dogs with foster homes, please visit the website for Almost Home Rescue of Maine.  See you on the trails!