Introducing Pittie Trails: a MD Hiking Group

I know it’s been a long time since I did my few posts about hiking, saying we wanted to get this group together – and here it finally is! Pittie Trails is a hiking group in the DC/MD/VA area, aiming to exercise and socialize the things that mean the most to us: our dogs! Sorry in advance that this post is about to be a little lengthy, but we have a lot of exciting stuff to cover to get ready for our first walk.

The name is no more than just a tribute to the breed we love – dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds are welcome! We are also super excited to meet other humans in the area who are as passionate about hiking and dogs as we are. Walks will probably be once a month at first.

I’m excited to introduce to you a few of the master minds behind this group, as you will probably meet them at some point if you are ever able to join us!

Jen & Lily Fireworks

You may remember Lily from our post about Baxter’s hiking date with his crush… yep, that was Lily – formerly known as Lollie from Love & a Six-Foot Leash. Lily’s mom Jen is the one who had the idea for us two to go for a walk together in the first place, and then made a comment in passing about starting this group. Well, one thing led to another and sure enough here it is! Lily is using the group as a way to stay social with other dogs, and to work on not trying to meet every squirrel she spots.

Katie, Ian, Reese, & McMuffin

Ian & Katie are our trail experts. They volunteer with the Montgomery County Parks Service (I think I’ve got that right…) so they know essentially every trail in the area — jackpot!!! Reese is their resident pittie, and McMuffin on the right is their foster from Jasmine’s House. They run the blog Running With Squirrels. McMuffin is working on her leash skills in the presence of other dogs, and Reese is working on staying the perfect trail dog that he already is.

Then there is Me & Bax, but we’re old news. Baxter will be working on his excitement levels when around other dogs & people.

See, everyone has things to work on! That’s why this group is so great. To make sure everyone stays safe when we’re walking and learning and socializing and exploring, we have some group rules. We ask that anyone who joins our hikes follow and respect these rules to keep the safety (and sanity) of the group.

Pittie Trails Rules

1.  No greetings between dogs even if the dogs know eachother. This alleviates the social pressure for everyone, and keeps the group calm (or… more calm than it could potentially be). Please respect this – we don’t know the background/behavior/preferences of the dogs and we want people to feel comfortable bringing their dogs no matter what “issues” they need to work on.

2.  No retractable leashes. Only 6′ and under leashes, please. We want to make sure everyone has the most control of their dog possible and at all times.

3.  At least 5 feet should stay between each dog on the trail at all times. The group will be nice and spread out so the dogs can relax. You’ll see that when the dogs start walking on top of each other, they get pretttty excited.

4.  One dog per walker. Again with the control factor. Speaking of, though – we would love to have extra humans who don’t have dogs, so feel free to bring dog-less friends!

5.  Respect the area & other hikers.  This means please bring things to pick up after your dog. Also, when other walkers pass us, please step off the trail and get your dog under control (if they are not being a perfect angel already, of course : -)) so that we don’t freak the community out with our big group of dogs. We want to send out a positive image of dogs, especially pitties, so we don’t want anyone annoyed/scared/unhappy with our group.

6. Bring treats & water. We want the dogs to stay hydrated and focused!

I think that’s it for now! As we begin these hikes we will tweak and add to these as we see necessary.

So, finally the fun stuff: our first hike is going to be this Saturday, February 4 at 10:30 am at Rachel Carson Conservation Park in Olney. We will meet at the parking lot off Zion Rd. (on the right if you are headed on Zion toward Sundown Rd from Rt. 108) around 10:15 am. We will do group introductions, then head out around 10:30.

The trail clocks in at just about 1 hour, winding through the woods past a gorgeous creek, rolling hills, and a horse farm. It is a pretty straight forward loop so for those of you who want extra exercise for your pooch, feel free to do the loop twice! It can be a little muddy, so come prepared.

We’d appreciate it if you emailed pittietrails@gmail.com or left a comment here if you’re planning on coming, just so we have an idea of numbers. Also feel free to email us with any questions, and check out our Facebook page for updates. Other than that… we look forward to seeing you Saturday!

We also want to say a big thank you to Hikeabull and Chicago Sociabulls for their help on starting this project!


Sugarloaf Mountaineer

This weekend we took advantage of the unusually warm weather and headed out to the only “mountain” – it’s much more of a hill – I have in decently close proximity to me, Sugarloaf Mountain. We enjoyed a two and half hour, five mile hike/walk up and down and around the “mountain”. I love hiking in general, so having a dog to join me makes it so much better! Baxter LOVES to walk and hike (and sometimes even run!) with me as well, so our weekends together are busy with adventures during the day and lots of sleeping at night.

Our Sugarloaf Adventure: Check it out!

It was actually a pleasantly challenging hike! Mostly because most of the time we actually had to watch our footing or navigate hills. We took a few water breaks on the way to our destination.

Baxter took full advantage of our breaks.

Baxter is a great hiking partner. This picture of him pretty much sums up the way he walks with us on the trail. Can you say totally loose leash!

At one point, we hit a pretty steep hill. To prevent any of the three of us tumbling down it because of all the slick leaves on the ground, we made the perfect plan. Mark carefully made his way down, then waited at the bottom. I let Baxter go and Mark called him. Bax happily and safely ran all the way down the hill straight into Mark’s arms. Then I could make my way down, dog free. I’m mostly just sharing this because the pictures of happy Bax running to greet Mark are silly and adorable: ears bouncing, tail wagging like crazy.

You can’t see Mark at the bottom, but I promise he is there.

We finally made it to the overlook, and boy was it worth it.

Credit for this great photo to Mark!

The whole thing was pretty tiring, but so worth it. Bax slept the whole day and night.

I know a lot of you agree with the “a tired dog is a happy dog” mentality, right? That’s why you mentioned in comments on my previous post about walking with Lily Fireworks that you’d be interested in a hiking group. Well, we’re in the works of making that happen! We’re trying to get all our ducks in a row, but in the mean time can anyone who is interested in a hiking/walking group in the DC area please email peacelovefoster@gmail.com so you can receive an invitation to our inaugural hike! Or you can leave your email address in a comment – up to you! Stay tuned for announcements about when/where we’re doing the walk, and also what the group’s name will be (!), and hopefully a facebook page. We’re really excited to get together a group of people who love the same things we do. Stay tuned!

Hope you all had as great a weekend as we did, maybe enjoying some nice weather wherever you are!

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com