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Friday, March 13, 2009

Tiger Mountain - Hiking with the Dogs

Yesterday a friend of mine & I went hiking on Tiger Mountain with our dogs.

I hadn't been hiking for years, which is sad because that was one of the reasons I moved to Washington - to enjoy nature and get some exercise on those big hills .

Being from Chicago, which has no hills, it's always amazing to me the difference in weather at the various elevations. To the left is a picture of a portion of the trail (an old logging road) we came up. As you can see, it's pretty steep and still full of snow.

The temperature was about 55 degrees so we had on just a sweatshirt and we were pretty warm throughout the incline! Talk about exercise, but also talk about some wonderful views. The dogs were really loving it, being in nature and being able to run up and down the trail with us.

The entire trail to the top is approximately 4.5 miles and they say the first 1.5 miles is the steepest part. Holy cow, it was a workout!  We went a total of about 2 miles up and then hiked the 2 miles back down.  When I first moved to Seattle, I said I'd love to train to climb Mt. Rainier which is an elevation of approximately 14,400 feet...Today's hike on Tiger Mountain was a mere elevation of 1,375 feet and we didn't even start at the very bottom!

I think I'll start my hiking career by getting to the top of Tiger Mtn, then move onto Cougar Mountain and then maybe Rattle Snake Ridge after that.  Perhaps the best way to continue to see Mt. Rainier up close is from an airplane flying overhead.  It's a lot less work!

I took Spot on this trip because he is a wonderful traveling dog. He has quite a bit of stamina, is very solid in strange situations and listens well off-leash. Since there are ridges with extreme drop-offs, potential wildlife to contend with (Bears & Cougars, although that's very rare) and other hikers, it's important to have a well-trained and experienced dog when going into the wild.

I'd like to bring Ru at some point, but will probably keep her on a flexi until I feel a level of comfort with her as she is an inexperienced, naive & incredibly curious pup.  All good things to have in your backyard, but not in the wild .  At least she has a good recall!

Sounds like I've got a couple of great things to add to my training list as well as my personal exercise agenda!

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