Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wintry Adventure: Dog Scouts Sugar Hollow Hike

Today Josh took our Dog Scout Troop on another amazing hike.  We hiked from the parking area at Blue Hole (west of Charlottesville, near the Charlottesville Reservoir) up through Sugar Hollow.  (I thought it was really cool that you have to take GARTH ROAD to get there!)

The Sugar Hollow trail runs along the Moormans River -- and I was of course the first to get into the icy water!  I thought the water felt pretty good, but for some reason the humans weren't quite as enthusiastic about the river crossings.  The water was high, and pretty cold, and mom couldn't quite manage the crossings without getting her feet wet.  She made these funny faces when she was walking through the water, and occasionally let out a moan or uttered one of those words she's not supposed to say.

But there was ice and snow on the trees, and a little snow coming down from time to time, and it was really beautiful.  Mom thought it was wonderful, despite her cold, wet feet.  She doesn't get the zoomies like I do, but she sure loves to get out into the woods, and she especially loves the mountains.

We had a great group along for the hike -- Juneau, Jewels, Bunny, Zen, Wyatt, Tango, Mario, Bailey, Megan, Peri, Sassy, Paisley, Bug, Bee, me, and of course our non-Dog Scout* guides Cisco and Marshall.  We had the trail pretty much to ourselves and we all had so much fun.  Zen, Wyatt, Tango, Mario, and I did some serious zoomies through the woods and up and down the trail!

Yep, I OWN this trail

Zen -- in a rare still moment

Zen and Tango led the way through the icy waters

Does someone have treats?

What's that you're wearing Zen?

Despite the label, Bee never seems naughty

Mario and I checked out the trail up ahead

Come on you guys!

Cisco kept a lookout for bears

Wyatt was looking good in his orange polartec

Bug is such a cutie!

Tami and the Sheltie Crew tried to pose for a family photo

Taking a stick break

Siblings Wyatt and Zen take a break between zoomies

I just hate it when I get things stuck between my teeth

It was great fun to have Tango along

There were lots of waterfalls - this was the biggest one

When the trail started looking like this, we decided it was time to turn around
Josh and Cisco
Zen and me
The obligatory pose-in-a-scenic-location photo

Marshall looked very sharp in his jacket

I slept all the way home!

*This post contains a photo of Cisco, and Cisco is wearing a prong collar.  Prong collars are against the Dog Scout rules.  We are okay with those rules, and our Dog Scout members do not use prong collars.  But Cisco isn't a Dog Scout.  He comes along on our hikes because he and his dad and his brother Marshall are our hiking guides.

Cisco, by the way, is one of the best dogs I know.  His job on our hikes is to lead the way, make sure all is safe up ahead, and bring back any dog that strays too far away from the group.  He is great at what he does, as is his dad Josh, who has led us on many amazing hikes over the past couple years.  Josh has shown us trails our parents didn't know existed, and taken us places our parents never would have gone otherwise.  He has helped the more timid dogs to gain confidence and has taught us all -- water dogs and non-water dogs alike -- to love the river.  Josh has inspired our parents to take us out hiking more, and has improved the quality of life of many, many dogs in Richmond by creating the concept of adventure walks for dogs and founding a business that provides this service, Canine Adventure.


  1. That sure looks like a great hike! We are quite jealous, but the muzzer just shakes her head and says "no way" are you guys hiking off lead."

    She is a little insecure you know, wants to be connected to us at all times.


    1. Some of my hiking buddies stay on leash the whole time, but they still have fun. And sometimes I stay on leash, depending upon where we are hiking. If we're likely to see wildlife, I have to stay on leash because mom doesn't trust me around wildlife. But yesterday I think everything was hibernating!

  2. My mom is from east coast VA and never heard of Sugar Hollow. That looked like a fun hike except it would have been fun to chase some squirrels.

    love & wags,

  3. Wow! They named a whole ROAD after you, Garth?

    Gosh, what a fun hike. There's pretty much nothing I likes better than a good long hike in the woods. But, well, I think I mighta had to have mom carry me over that water. Have I told you that brindle furs melt? They do! It's a real fact.

    I luved meeting all your furends and I'm so very much glad you had such a very terrific time!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  4. Looks like a lot of fun, however, Cisco is wearing a pinch collar which is against DSA guidelines!! What's up with that??

    1. Wow. I didn't realize my every post would be scrutinized for compliance with Dog Scouts of America guidelines. Yes, our troop understands that pinch collars and prong collars are against Dog Scouts rules, but we don't feel we should impose our rules and our views on our guide or his dog, who are not Dog Scouts but whom we hire to lead us on these amazing adventures.

    2. There was no way for someone reading this blog to know whether or not Cisco was a Dog Scout or not. If someone who didn't know better came across the picture, they would or could easily think that aversives were allowed by the DSA.

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    4. I would caution you or anyone from drawing too many conclusions from a blog written by a dog -- even a dog as impressive as myself.