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!