Saturday, April 4, 2009

2009 Schedule of Canicross Club Hikes

Canicross Hiking the Gunpowder Falls North and South Loop with sled dog, Zoe

Spring is in the air and it's time to think about doing some hiking with your dog. Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC hosts Canicross Club Hikes throughout the Maryland-Washington, D.C. area. This year's hikes will explore a variety of different parks and trails near the metro Baltimore-D.C. areas. Visit the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC website for more information on our Canicross Club. For a schedule of upcoming hikes, check out the Upcoming Events section of our website. For specific hike details, see the hike descriptions below.

Enjoying the views while canicross hiking with sled dog, Acadia

What to Bring on all of our Canicross Hikes: To canicross, you will need a properly fit pulling harness for your dog (loaner harnesses can sometimes be arranged, email for more details), a canicross (or skijor) belt (belts can be purchased through Nooksack or White Pine Outfitters), and a 1-2 dog line or leash (lines can be purchased from Maryland Sled Dog Adventures for $35 per line with advance notice), plenty of water for you and your dog, a bowl (or some way to give your dog water), comfortable and supportive hiking boots, a lunch for you and snacks for your dog, and weather appropriate hiking clothes. Optional items include sunscreen, hat, bug repellent, and a camera. You will need a small backpack or fanny pack to carry these items along the trail.

If you would like to hike with your dog on leash, leashed dogs are welcome as well. Please be aware that park rules require that all dogs must remain leashed at all times.

Details: Cost of each hike is $10 per person. One dog per person, please. Each hike is limited to eight (8) participants. All participants must sign our waiver and release. Start time for each hike is 10:00 am unless otherwise noted below. Each of these hikes requires a certain level of physical fitness for both dogs and humans. Please be honest with yourself (and us) about you and your dog's ability to complete each hike.

Acadia demonstrates a perfect line out

Canicross Club Hike Schedule 2009

June 6, 2009: Our first Canicross Club Hike will be the Blue Ridge Summit--Hog Rock hike held at Catoctin Mountain Park near Frederick, Maryland. This hike is a ramble through hardwood forests and over the ridges of Catoctin Mountain, with views of the Blue Ridge and the Monacacy valley. Dogwoods and other flowering trees should be abundant at this time of the year. This loop hike begins at the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center and is approximately 5.1 miles in total length. This hike does climb nearly 700 feet and is moderate to difficult. At approximately the midway point of this hike, we will plan on stopping for lunch (please plan on bringing a sack lunch as there is no where to purchase lunch along this trail). Water and restrooms are available at the visitor center and a pit toilet is available approximately midway through the hike. For all of our hikes but especially this hike, we recommend supportive hiking boots.

Rating: Moderate to Difficult


From D.C., drive north on I-270 about 32 miles and exit onto U.S. Highway 15 North. In 17 miles, head west on Maryland Highway 77 (at Thurmont). Catoctin Mountain Park visitor center is 3 miles on the right. The trail head is at the far end of the lot.

From Baltimore: Drive west on I-70 to Frederick, Maryland. Exit onto U.S. Highway 15 North. In 17 miles, head west on Maryland Highway 77 (at Thurmont). Catoctin Mount Park visitor center is 3 miles on the right. The trail head is at the far end of the lot.

June 20, 2009: Our second Canicross Club Hike of the season will be approximately 5 miles of hiking through the woods along the Gunpowder North and South Trail at Gunpowder Falls State Park. Bring your swim suits and water shoes and after the hike, we'll take the dogs for a swim/wade in the crystal clear waters of the Gunpowder at an area the locals call "Hillbilly Beach." Starting out, we'll follow the Gunpowder South trail as it parallels the Gunpowder River for approximately 2.5 miles. At Big Falls Road, we'll cross the Gunpowder and come back along the river on the Gunpowder North Trail passing a small waterfall, Raven Rock Falls. This hike is a moderate to easy hike. After the hike, we'll lunch, swim and wade with the pups at Hillbilly Beach. In addition to the items above, for this hike, be sure to bring a swim suit (plan on changing in your car or the woods), towels for you and your dog, sunscreen, and a lunch for you and snacks for your dog. You may also wish to bring a camp chair for lounging around and socializing after the hike.

Rating: Moderate


From Baltimore: Take I-83 North to Mt. Carmel Road. Exit and go east (right). Follow Mt. Carmel Road to York Road (stop light) and turn North (right). Follow York Road north for approximately 2-3 miles. As the road begins to go down steeply and just BEFORE crossing the river you will see two trail head parking areas on the left and right side of York Road. Park in either (be careful crossing the road with your dog).

From DC: Take I-95 North toward Baltimore to I-695. Take I-695 North towards Towson. Exit onto I-83 North and follow the directions above.

Okemo canicrossing on the Gunpowder South Loop

Sobo lines out while canicrossing at Prettyboy Reservoir

Sobo canicrossing at Prettyboy Reservoir

Small falls at Hemlock Gorge

September 12, 2009: Our third Canicross Club Hike of the season will be held at Gunpowder Falls State Park (Masemore Road trail head). To read more about this hike, visit the blog entry from last year's canicross club hike. While short (approximately 3.5 miles) in duration, this hike does require a bit of scrambling over boulders and large rocks. Several spots along the river are suitable for the dogs to swim (and the humans to wade).

Rating: Moderate with short difficult (bouldering) stretches


From Baltimore: Take I-83 North to the Mt. Carmel Road Exit. Exit and proceed west (left). Follow Mt. Carmel Road for approximately 1-2 miles and turn Right onto Masemore Road. Follow Masemore Road about 2-3 miles. The road will go down sharply and make a hairpin turn by an old mill house (be sure to slow way down and watch out as this is strictly one way traffic). Immediately after going past the mill house, the Masemore Road parking lot is on the right.

From DC: Take I-95 North towards Baltimore. Take I-695 North towards Towson. Exit onto I-83 North and follow the directions above.

Okemo and a Day Lily at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Taking a dip in the Gunpowder

September 26, 2009: Our final Canicross Club hike of the 2009 season will take place at Sugarloaf Mountain. This five mile hike offers panoramic views of Frederick and the fields and farms surrounding Frederick. Please plan on packing a lunch which we'll plan to have at the White Rocks Overlook. Also, please be aware that this hike is a popular day hike and as a result we will begin this hike at 9 AM. Please bring only dogs that are friendly with other dogs and people. Also please plan on carpooling. The lots at Sugarloaf Mountain are small and fill up quickly. We will meet at the West View Parking lot. For a map of the hiking trails at Sugarloaf Mountain and site information click here. Post hike join us for an optional excursion to Sugarloaf Mountain Winery for a short wine tasting (please plan on bringing money to cover the cost of this additional excursion).

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

From Baltimore: Take I-70 West towards Frederick for approximately 60 miles. Exit onto I-270 South.

Take Exit 22 for Route 109. From the bottom of the exit ramp, follow Route 109 South for 2.9 miles. Turn Right onto Route 95 (Comus Road) toward Sugarloaf Mountain. Go 2.4 miles to a wide paved area at the Sugarloaf Mountain Entrance. Turn Right into the mountain entrance (the second right) and follow the road steeply uphill. Pass the East View parking lot. Continue along a level stretch of road and then fork right uphill for the west view parking lot.

From DC: From Interstate 495 (Capitol Beltway) take Exit 35 (outer loop) or Exit 38 (Inner Loop) in order to take I-270 North. Once you are on I-270 North follow the directions above.

View from White Rocks at Sugarloaf Mountain

Broken tree along the trail at Sugarloaf Mountain

Canicrossing at Sugarloaf Mountain with Acadia

Trees framing distant views at Sugarloaf Mountain