Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Canicross Hike: June 27, 2009

"Who me?" asks Acadia

Our June 20, 2009 canicross hike at Gunpowder Falls State Park was re-scheduled to this past Saturday, June 27, 2009 due to rain on Saturday, the 2oth. While the weather was gorgeous, we did have a directions glitch that resulted in two of our participants missing the hike although they did finally find the trail head (after a scenic tour of Baltimore and I-83). While they missed the hike portion, they did get to hang out, socialize and swim with the dogs at Hillbilly Beach post hike.

Acadia pulling hard down the trail

Total hiking time was approximately two hours and total hiking distance was approximately 5.2 miles. Temps were in the upper 70s to low 80s but with low humidity. The trail is a single track wooded trail and is mostly shaded which also helped to keep the dogs and people cool and comfortable. Along for the hike was lead dog in training, Acadia, and veteran wheel dog, Okemo. Joining us post hike were Cara, Kevin and their Alaskan Malamute, Chelsea, and their adorable pup, Masu.

"Is it lunch time yet?" asks Okemo

Starting out on our hike we paralleled the Gunpowder River, hiking down steam following the white blazed Gunpowder South Trail. At the end of the Gunpowder South trail, we crossed the river and proceeded to loop back on the blue blazed Gunpowder North trail again paralleling the Gunpowder River but this time heading up stream. Along the way we saw two deer including a small, spotted fawn. We also saw kayakers, tubers and rafters on the river, all out enjoying the wonderful weather after many days of rain. Along the Gunpowder North trail, the dogs stopped for a brief cool down at Raven Rock falls. Post hike, we enjoyed lunch and swimming with the dogs at the local swimming hole which is sometimes referred to as "Hillbilly Beach." The big bend in the river provides a nice place to swim in the refreshingly cold waters of the Gunpowder. For the more adventurous there is rock jumping.

Acadia cools off at Raven Rock falls

Acadia taking a post hike swim at Hillbilly Beach

After swimming Acadia rolls in the grass

If all of this canicross hiking sounds like fun, our next hike is August 29th at Prettyboy Reservoir in northern Baltimore County followed by swimming at Hemlock Gorge. For photos of this truly spectacular area, visit our blog entry from last year's hike. For details on start times, what to bring, directions, etc., visit our Schedule of Canicross Hikes. To learn more about canicross, visit our website.

Don't have a dog and still want to join us for a hike? Don't despair, all are welcome on our hikes, with or without a dog. If you like, we will even pair you with one of our very friendly, very happy, hard pulling, sled dogs if you would like to try canicross hiking and don't have your own dog. Don't have a northern breed dog? That's fine too. We've had a variety of different types of dogs join us on our hikes. Any dog active dog over 30 lbs can be trained to pull and most dogs enjoying a day spent hiking and swimming with their owners. Dogs hiking on leash, with dog packs are also welcome.

Okemo's swimming sequence: Leaving the far shore

Wading in further....

Swimming (doesn't he look like a polar bear?)

In the shallows....

Coming ashore

Preparing for a....


And the water flys....

All better (don't my feet look big under water?)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Photography: Sled Dogs at Play

Soft evening light plays over sled dog, Acadia

On evenings when the light is good, sled dog dad and team Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC photographer, Eric, sometimes spends the evenings outdoors in the garden photographing the sled dogs at rest and at play. Not only is Eric the team photographer and the photographer responsible for nearly all of the photos on the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures website, Eric's photography has been featured in many publications including among others Baltimore Dog magazine, Urbanite magazine, Solutions at Home magazine, the Baltimore Sun's Mutts Blog, Maryland Family magazine, and Stewards (the alumni magazine for the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment) (Catherine is an alum). In addition to being featured in many publications, Eric is also a wedding photographer specializing in weddings with dogs. For more information on Eric's wedding photography and for samples of his photos, email eric@marylanddogsledding.com.

"I am pretty, aren't I," asks sled dog, Sobo

Sled dog, Acadia, rolling in the freshly mowed grass

Ah choo!

Zoe pokes her head under my arm

Interesting light in the trees

T-Bone hangs out on the back steps

Sled dog Acadia playing with her ball

The flash illuminates, Siberian Husky, Sobo

Friday, June 26, 2009

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Zoe and Eric heading to work at the University

Today, June 26th is officially take your dog to work day. Much like the first day of school, we just had to capture this important moment with the camera.

Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' veteran lead sled dog and Alaskan Husky, Zoe, was the lucky canine beneficiary of take your dog to work day as she headed up to the University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bioresources Engineering Department with sled dog dad, Eric for a fun and exciting day researching avian influenza, foam depopulation, and composting. We are quite certain that Zoe's composting "experiences" in the back yard (aka her penchant for hiding her tennis balls behind the compost bin) will be quite important as she "assists" Eric in his research at the University today.

Of course, take your dog to work day requires a special doggie outfit and sled dog, Zoe, was all decked out in her favorite Hawaiian print scarf direct from Honolulu, Hawaii. Eric decided they should "match" and wore his favorite Hawaiian print shirt.

Zoe heads to work

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dining Out: Our Passion for Eating Outdoors

Acadia chewing on her tennis ball

During the spring, summer and early fall here at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC, we often find ourselves outdoors sharing the outdoor lifestyle with the sled dogs.

Is this my good side? asks lead dog, Zoe

Impromptu flower arrangement for the breakfast table

I love my tennis ball, says lead dog in training, Acadia

Sobo's favorite resting place is under the lilacs

One of our favorite activities is dining out. While most would think of dining out as going out to a restaurant for dinner, to Eric and I, dining out is eating out on the back patio. Of course with five energetic (and hungry) sled dogs, you sometimes have to eat quickly to avoid having your food pilfered by the ever hungry and extremely patient and cunning, Okemo.

Eric bringing out breakfast while Okemo, Zoe and Acadia salivate

Eric and Okemo

With the cool temperatures and low humidity that we have had here in central Maryland this summer, we've been eating out even more often than in prior years. And dining out is certainly not limited to dinner. We frequently will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the back patio surrounded by annual and perennial flowers, shrubs, and herbs.

Pretty pink begonias on the patio

Last night we enjoyed a nice dinner of fresh corn on the cob, lobster tails stuffed with crab, and herb laced mashed potatoes. This morning, Eric whipped up a batch of apple cinnamon stuffed pancakes accompanied by maple breakfast sausage and of course plenty of warm maple syrup.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes. Yum!

Friday, June 19, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

During the late spring and early summer months here at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC, we like to fill our days, evenings and weekends with gardening and relaxing since it's far too warm to dog sled. This year's cool and wet spring and summer has resulted in a lush and happy garden.

T-Bone relaxes on his dog bed

At present, Eric and I (thankfully with very little help from the sled dogs) have two 3 ft x 6 ft raised beds and several pots planted with annuals and vegetables and herbs. This year at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures, we are growing two types of tomatoes: early girl and a heirloom variety, yellow pear. We are also growing four different types of peppers: super chili, purple bell, and Italian frying peppers along with a Trinidad hot pepper which is being grown in a pot. Along with the tomatoes and peppers, we are growing burpless cucumbers, tomatillos, strawberries, and red leaf and romaine lettuce. Since lettuce is a cool weather crop here in Maryland and by early June has all been harvested, we've also interspersed our lettuce plants with garlic. In the past, we have not had great luck with root crops (by my definition anything that grows under the soil) so we're hoping our little garlic experiment ends well.

Trinidad hot pepper growing in a pot

Early Girl tomatoes in mid June

Super chili

Since both Eric and I enjoy cooking with fresh herbs we are also growing: basil, tri-colored sage, lemon thyme, English thyme, lavender, oregano, mint, and curly parsley. Most of our vegetables and herbs were either purchased at the University of Delaware's Ag Day or Valley View Farms in northern Baltimore County.

Everything is better with fresh herbs. Yum!

In addition to the vegetable and herb gardens, we've planted lots of annuals including, among others, impatiens, petunias, salvia, and begonias in window boxes and pots around the patio.

Impatiens and Petunias in Window Boxes

Bright annuals on the front porch

Sunflowers we planted with some free seeds we received

Blue Salvia
Also growing in the garden and providing color and texture are three specimens of my favorite flower: the hydrangea. Among our hydrangeas, our wonderful oak leaf hydrangea which has gorgeous fall foliage in addition to big white conical flowers throughout the summer. In addition to the oak leaf, we have two lace cap hydrangeas. Augmenting the hydrangeas, are lavender, hostas and lilies.

Hostas flank the back wall of our house

T-Bone keeps a close eye on the garden

Monday, June 8, 2009

What do sled dogs do during the Summer?

Dogs that swim are dogs that shake!

If you happen to be one of the lucky sled dogs at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC, you go swimming during the summer. Swimming is a great way to keep your dog in shape during the warm summer months with far less risk of over heating.

So while the sled dogs at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures spend their winters dog sledding, they spend their summers swimming and relaxing at the beach since in Maryland it is simply too warm to safely run the dogs in harness in the late spring, summer and early fall.

In general, mushers use what is called the Rule of 100 to determine whether it is too warm on any given day to run their dogs: add the temperature and the humidity together and if the sum is 100-120 or more it is probably too warm to safely run your dog in harness. Thus, with the advent of warm weather, mushers are always looking for creative ways to exercise their ever energetic sled dogs. Sled pet, Acadia's new favorite way to blow off steam and cool down a bit is swimming.

Trying to hitch a ride

"I'm not so sure about this swimming business," thinks this pup.

Swimming Siberian Husky, Acadia

Where's my boogie board?

Acadia showing her focus

A couple of weeks ago, Eric and I learned that Siberian Husky sled dog, Acadia, our lead dog in training, LOVES to swim. So with the onset of warm temperatures, we've been taking Acadia swimming at various swimming holes and beaches throughout central Maryland and exploring some of nature's best swimming "pools."

Swim Spa: Acadia swims against the current

Sled dog, Acadia, splashing in the Gunpowder River

If all of this swimming looks like fun, why not join us for our upcoming Canicross hike on June 20th which includes a 5.1 mile hike and then some post hike relaxation and swimming for you and your dog splish splashing in the Gunpowder River. For more information on our canicross hikes visit our canicross hike schedule and for more information on what is involved in canicrossing visit our website. If you are new to canicross and just want to hike along with your dog, that's fine too! To see photos from our most recent canicross hike at Catoctin Mountain Park visit our blog. Email catherine@marylanddogsledding.com to register for an Upcoming Canicross Hike.

Acadia prepares to dive in

I wonder what is over here?

Is it time to get out already?