The Weather's Cool...How About a Mountain Hike with your Dog? | Blogs
Here's an idea for Saturday or Sunday with your canine companion(s): Head over to Scratch Bakery in Willard Square in South Portland really early and grab a couple of fresh, hot-from-the-oven bagels and maybe a homemade dog biscuit or two for your buddies and then hit the road! Your destination couldn't be sweeter, and the early morning drive down Route 302 from Portland to Fryeburg will be smooth sailing at that time of day. Pleasant Mountain via the Fire Warden's Trail will become a regular hiking route after just one try, I promise you! This hike has everything you could hope for -- clean, cold water bubbling into gorgeous stone pools at the base of some lovely waterfalls; a mix of logging roads, gravel trails and rocky terrain as you head toward the summit; delightful flora and wildlife and the songs of a variety of birds on the breeze; and best of all, amazing views of the Sebago Lake Region and White Mountain National Forest at the summit. What are you waiting for? Start packing a light backpack right now!
You'll need water for yourself and maybe a piece of fruit, some trail mix and a nutritional bar for energy. For your dog, you should carry a leash and put it on your dog if you encounter other hikers who aren't canine-friendly. On our recent trips to Pleasant Mountain, we only met fellow hikers who had canine companions with them -- perfect! I'd recommend bug spray in the backpack as well, both for yourself and also a dog-friendly bottle as well. Planet Dog Company Store sells a fabulous line of organic, natural products made by Earth Animal for topical application. We also carry water and a portable bowl to water the dogs at the summit, as the top 1/3 of the hike is pretty dry (no streams or water sources). We use Blue Buffalo's Wellness Bars as recall rewards for our canine hikers. They're healthy, nutritious snacks that our dogs are happy to come back for!
From Portland, expect about a 1.25 hour car drive on Route 302 to Fryeburg. Just past the "Welcome to Fryeburg" sign, you'll see the Fryeburg Animal Shelter on your left. Just a bit past this is the Wilton Warren Road, also on the left. Travel a couple of miles and the pavement turns to dirt. There is parking for about a dozen vehicles just before the trailhead, which sits beside a beautiful old Victorian-style home decked out in yellow and white paint, with a couple of accompanying barns on the opposite side of the road.
This hike is mild-to-moderate in difficulty and takes about three hours round-trip to cover the five miles up and back. Our pack of canine hikers adores this hike and we often have the mountain to ourselves, as we hike on Friday mornings. Arriving early is a good thing, as the temps are milder earlier in the day and you should have unbelievable views from the summit on a clear, sunny day. If you go THIS weekend and head out nice and early, you'll be back home in time to make the Yarmouth Clam Festival in the late afternoon.....while your tired, blissed-out dog(s) snooze away the rest of the day with dreams of their next hiking adventure!
See you on the trail!