Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quina Hikes with the Big Dogs on Mt. Kearsarge

Quina on the summit of Mt. Kearsarge
On Sunday, May 27, 2012, Quina and I enjoyed a spectacular day traveling to the summit of Mt. Kearsarge (2,937 ft.) located in Wilmot, New Hampshire.  The 2.8 mile round trip was ideally suited for this young terrier mix who recently arrived from an overcrowded shelter in Arkansas thanks to the life saving, volunteer efforts of Almost Home Rescue of Maine.

Quina may be only six months old, but she has proven that she can hike with the big dogs.  Quina has spent approximately five weeks in her current foster home where she has quickly become well socialized with the 7-year old child and four dogs who share her temporary living quarters.  

Meet and greet with Bailey and her family
Her foster family indicated that Quina has not had much experience with walking on a leash or riding in a car, so I was extremely impressed with her leash manners and with how quickly she settled in for the ride to Winslow State Park.  Having previously hiked Mt. Kearsarge with former foster dog hiker Bertie, I elected to take a reverse route to the summit by traveling up the longer Barlow Trail and descending via the shorter, steeper Winslow Trail.  The holiday weekend brought many human and canine hikers to the trails, so Quina and I had plenty of opportunities for meeting and greeting.  She was consistently friendly and occasionally yet understandably a bit cautious with the people she encountered.

Climbing high on the Barlow Trail
Quina happily accepted a number of welcoming compliments from fellow hikers such as, "Oh - look what a cute dog!"  She was equally excited about pats on the head from people of all ages.  Two young girls, ages 4 and 6, spent several minutes talking to and petting Quina at the summit as we took a break from photos and enjoyed the views.  The young girls' father was amazed at how calmly Quina accepted the attention by sitting patiently while the sisters took turns patting her head and talking excitedly about their hopes of having a dog of their own in the future.

Hiking with the big dogs - literally!
If you or someone you know is looking to add a canine member to your family, sweet Quina would be a wonderful addition.  You can view a full album of photos from Quina's hike.  Additional information and an application for adoption are available on her profile at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daisy Leaps to Top of Fletcher's Cascades

Daisy at the start of the Drake Brook trail
For our gorgeous girl Daisy, we were in search of a moderate hike - one without steep climbing that could accommodate the short legs and sturdy frame of an approximately 55- pound Bassador retriever hound.  We found the perfect route to the top of Fletcher's Cascades located in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire via the Drake Brook and Fletcher's Cascade trails.

Fletcher's Cascades
Daisy and I meandered up and down the quiet trails leading to Fletcher's Cascades for nearly three hours and covered 3.2 miles.  We did not encounter any other hikers until we were almost at the top of the Cascades.  Daisy warmly greeted our fellow hikers and posed for a few photos which one of them so kindly offered to take for us.

No leaping required
While Daisy's leaps may be lacking in height, her limbo skills are second to none and also enabled her to tackle a number of trees that had fallen across the trails.  Basset hounds are also not known for their swimming ability, but it was obvious that her Labrador instincts took over every time Daisy crossed the brook as she happily splashed and waded through the water.

Daisy proves that long legs are overrated
At the end of our journey, I was convinced that Daisy had enjoyed her hike and that she would be a perfect addition to a family in search of a happy hound dog.  Daisy, formerly known as Stormy, is currently residing in a foster home with volunteers from Almost Home Rescue.  Her foster family reports that Daisy gets along well with her canine siblings, easily tolerates the resident rabbits and is friendly with all of the people she meets in and around her home.

A complete album of photos from Daisy's hike is available online here.   Please share her adventure with friends and family and help find her a home!

See you on the trails!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Roscoe Braves High Winds on Mt. Cardigan

Roscoe en route to the summit of Mt. Cardigan
This wonderful one year old mixture of Labrador retriever, giant Schnauzer and possibly Scottish deerhound is known formally as Pedro.  His foster family feels that he both resembles and responds better to his nickname Roscoe.  And so for our journey to the summit of Mt. Cardigan (3,155 ft.) on Sunday, April 29th, I chose to address him informally as Roscoe.

Roscoe meets Emma and samples some treats
We had the opportunity to encounter several hikers - both human and canine - on our trip to the summit.    Roscoe was a perfect gentleman when greeting everyone he met.  He also displayed exquisite leash manners throughout our hike along the loop comprising the Manning, Mowglis, Clark, Cathedral Forsest and Holt trails which begins at the AMC Lodge located in Alexandria, New Hampshire.  I was very impressed with how well Roscoe responded to commands and instinctively waited for me to be walking right alongside him before proceeding further up the trail.

Just below the summit of Firescrew Mountain
A few of the hikers we encountered had traveled a reverse loop with an ascent up the Holt Trail, and they strongly cautioned that it was NOT dog friendly.  A partial description of the upper section of the Holt Trail in the AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide reads, "The upper ledges are very steep, and the scramble up these ledges is much more difficult than on any other trail in this section and one of the most difficult in New England...",

Time for only a few windblown photos from the summit
While there are likely a number of canine hikers who have successfully climbed the Holt Trail (in addition to the very agile German shepherd mix we met at the summit on Sunday), Roscoe and I want to pass along this word of caution to others who may be contemplating that route.  There are plenty of other more dog friendly ways to reach the summit of Mt. Cardigan.  Roscoe needed very little assistance on the route we selected which included a stop at the summit of Firescrew Mountain (3,064 ft.).  Our only complaint from the otherwise perfectly gorgeous day was that the high winds at the summit of Mt. Cardigan made it very chilly and difficult to take more than a few photos.  We continued further down the trail for a short break just below the summit before completing the second half of our loop.

Roscoe making it difficult for me to say goodbye
Roscoe was rescued from an overcrowded animal shelter in Arkansas thanks to the all volunteer efforts of Almost Home Rescue of Maine.  He currently shares his foster home with two adults and a 7-month old Labrador retriever mix.  To learn more about Roscoe, share his information with a friend or apply to adopt him, please visit his profile here on  In addition, you can view a full album of photos from his hike.  A short video clip from Roscoe's hike is provided below and can also be viewed online here.