K9 Trailblazers Dog Hiking Club
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SugarLoaf is a perennial favorite hiking destination. Even in summer. The peaks are worth the effort and the views are stunning. Well, sort of. It was foggy and some of the views were, um, “obscured” you might say. But 8 people and 6 dogs showed up and a good time was had by all. Jeff came but Katy stayed home; Pat came with Mickey; Joanna and Jeff came with April; Ken and Mary came with Troop and Casper; Nancy came with Tester; and we welcomed new K9TB hikers Alyssia with Ty.
We joked about the fog which at that point would have been considered “rain” by people more pessimistic than our group. We just took extra chocolate and dog biscuits to bolster our spirits and set out on the Northern Peaks trail. After hiking up and over the 4 smaller peaks we reached White Rocks where we rested and snacked and gazed at the mist-shrouded valley below.
We had started early to take advantage of the cooler morning shade, but it became increasingly hot and humid once the fog burned off. No problem for our experienced and enthusiastic hikers and their always-eager dogs. April and Casper were glad to see each other and resumed the games they’d played on the backpacking trip. Everyone kept up an easy pace and conversation and, before you knew it, it was time for lunch at the West View picnic area. We had porta-potties, trash cans and picnic tables with benches-- can’t ask for better than that! Hikers who enjoy the mountain, which is open to the public free of charge year round, can thank Gordon Strong, who died in 1954. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to buy the mountain but Mr. Strong refused to sell. Instead he set up a trust fund and created the “Stronghold” corporation to hold and manage SugarLoaf Mountain for the benefit of the public.
Following lunch, Pat with Mickey; Ken with Casper; Joanna and Jeff with April; and Alyssia with Ty climbed up the red trail to the main peak and enjoyed a breeze as well as the view which by then had emerged from the fog. Unfortunately there were no buzzards or hawks flying. We noted the survey marker at the top, from which lookouts operated during the Civil War. And everyone who hikes to this peak should give thanks that a 1924 plan by Frank Lloyd Wright to pave a good part of the mountain for car parking was never undertaken. Check out the “Gordon Strong Automobile Objective” here: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/flw/flw02.html
After a rest and water break, we returned to the West View parking area via the Green trail—all 160 steps but who’s counting? (Ken!) There will be more K9TB hikes here because it is gorgeous year-round and the many varieties of flora and fauna guarantee that you will find something new to enjoy each time you visit.