This past Sunday, we enjoyed our first offline Instagram meetup with some local friends and pups at Harriman State Park in upstate New York. This park is home to the famous Appalachian Trail and our group planned to hike the Lemon Squeezer, a moderate 8.2 mile loop along the trail.
Luckily, the brisk Fall weather was on our side that day with clear skies and a high of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Our particular meetup spot in Harriman State Park was the Elk Pen parking lot, which took us a little more than hour to drive to. Prepared with the trail map, 2 liters of water, fruit & nut bars, dog treats, a serving of Alaska’s freeze-dried dog food and natural tick spray in our backpack, we embarked on our hike.
There was about 16 humans and 10 dogs in our group – 8 huskies, 1 cocker spaniel, and 1 American Eskimo (Alaska). Alaska and I have gone hiking before, but what we experienced on Sunday blew my mind. I felt as if we were climbing a mountain with what seemed like infinite inclines and declines. The rocky terrain didn’t make our trek any easier, with loose rocks and leaves covering our paths. Each step forward was uncertain and even with hiking boots, I lost my footing numerous times.
Our group was separated several times, and we lost our path on the marked trail over and over again but our morale did not waver. We were each determined to continue what we had set out to do.
We completed the Lemon Squeezer and headed back to Elk Pen because we didn’t have enough daylight to complete 8.2 miles. Plus, our entire group was tiring out pretty fast. In total, we completed about 6 miles back and forth which is the longest and most challenging hike we’ve ever done.
Around 4:30 PM, we made it back to the parking lot just before it got too dark, and once safely in the car we realized just how physically exhausted we were. My legs had a burning sensation from waist down accompanied with a sense of real accomplishment.
Alaska amazed me with her stamina and energy; not once did she seem tired or stop me to rest.
For 6 hours straight, she was on her little feet, pulling me to hurry up and take her to the front of the group to lead the pack.
I did find 4 ticks crawling on her while we were hiking (which were immediately removed), but other than that, Alaska had a fantastic time.
We are so thankful for this experience and would definitely go hiking again, but next time we will look for a more scenic trail and an easier/shorter one. 🙂 Until next time…