K9 Trailblazers Dog Hiking Club
Schaeffer Farms—5 or 10 miles
When we gathered early in the morning at Schaeffer Farms Park, the wind was blowing hard and predictions were for gusts up to 50 mph. Last minute cancellations had reduced our group to 7 people and 6 dogs, but we just pulled up our collars, shoved our hands into mitts and introduced ourselves and our dogs quickly so we could get moving! Cold weather, and well-conditioned hikers and dogs, combined to encourage a fast pace on both loops and an abbreviated lunch stop.
Thanks to Susanna and Sheba for suggesting this new location and co-leading our first K9Trailblazers hike here. We enjoyed traveling over easy terrain passing intermittently from woods to fields, crossing occasional small streams and stopping every so often for snacks and water to keep ourselves and our dogs well fed and well hydrated to prevent hypothermia. Unfortunately, Jeff, our club photographer, didn’t make this hike so we have no pictures. But, the map is here and you can go take a look. Or wait until we schedule another hike—this is a place we’d like to return to!
The trails are shared use so we expected to meet a number of mountain bikers, and we did. But since we consider ourselves "goodwill ambassadors" for hiking with leashed dogs, when we meet people, horses or bikes on the trail we routinely step off the trail and keep our dogs quiet. At Schaeffer Farms, the mountain bikers all stop, too. Most put one or both feet on the ground while they greet us and our dogs. My favorite was the man who pulled off the trail for us, then called to someone behind him, "Hey, Dad, get off your bike! There are dogs coming." When MB goodwill ambassadors meet K9TB goodwill ambassadors you get a whole lot of good will! We shared a few humorous moments: "go ahead, no you go first, no please you first."
By lunch time, the wind had picked up and while we don’t think it hit 50 mph we agreed it was probably at least 30 mph. We found a semi-protected area and crouched low on the ground for the 15 min. it took dogs and people to gobble our food. Then we set off at a fast pace to warm up again. By the time the hike ended at 1:30 or so we were glad we had done this hike but ready to turn up the heaters in our cars.