Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canicross Hikes 2010: First Hike and Swim is July 10, 2010

Come on Out for Our Canicross Hike and Swim!

It's been a bit delayed in coming but we have finally scheduled two Canicross Club Hikes for the 2010 canicrossing season. We've had numerous inquiries from interested folks so hopefully we will have good groups for each hike.

Our first Canicross Club Hike will be a Hike and Swim held at Gunpowder Falls State Park on July 10, 2010 and our second Canicross Club Hike will be at Sugarloaf Mountain on September 11, 2010.

All abilities are welcome on our hikes. If you would like to hike with your dog on leash instead of canicrossing, that is fine too. Please be aware that park rules require that all dogs must remain leashed at all times.

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. To register email

Eric and Okemo canicross hiking at Gunpowder Falls State Park

The view on the trail

Acadia lines out. For a list of dog sledding (and canicross) commands visit our website.

Acadia practices her doggy paddle after Canicross Hiking at Gunpowder

Sugarloaf Mountain views

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 have any questions about what to bring email

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. Each of these hikes requires a certain level of physical fitness for both dogs and humans.

Okemo on the Gunpowder north trail slides under a log

Okemo and I hike along at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Acadia takes a cooling dip after canicross hiking

Canicross Hike and Dog Swim at Gunpowder Falls State Park

Saturday, July 10, 2010
: Our first 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. Start time for this hike is 10 AM. Bring your swim suits and water shoes and after the hike, we'll go 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: Easy


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).

Canicross Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike (with optional winery stop)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
: Our final Canicross Club hike of the 2010 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.

Three Across: Canicross Hiking Sugarloaf

Anna and Wolfie Canicross Hiking Sugarloaf

Day lilies and Garden Update

Blooming Day Lily

Last year, Eric and I visited the Free State Day lily bloom show and sale (with Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dog, Sobo) at Cylburn Arboretum and picked up several day lily plants. While we've had many day lilies in the past, we've had a very difficult time keeping them safe from the deer and rabbits. As in year's past, we lost some buds to the deer and rabbits but this year, for the first time, we have blooms! Most of the blooms are on plants we planted last summer from the sale. So before the deer, bunnies or Okemo could eat the buds or flowers, I decided I had better snap a few photos. Of course, I couldn't just take one photo and snapping a few quick photos of the day lilies quickly became a full garden update.

This is the stage they are tastiest for the deer and rabbits

In nearly 8 years, these day lilies near our mail box have only bloomed once. Every other year the deer and rabbits have eaten them before they could bloom. This year was no different.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Lace cap hydrangea

The stepping stone are being over grown by hostas and hydrangeas

The raspberry plants are flourishing

The window boxes on the back terrace are filling in nicely

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It Must Be Summer!

The wall of hydrangeas

The mercury is rising into the 90s. The humidity make it feel positively steamy outside. The Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dogs are shedding and blowing their coats. The gardens are growing and the harvesting is beginning. Meals are being served alfresco. The BBQ is being fired up almost nightly. Although summer does not officially begin until June 21st, it's summer time in Maryland.

A sure sign of summer: A pile of Sobo fur. Note: For those of you wondering if Siberians shed? Proof Positive. They shed. Like crazy. And with five Siberians and Siberian mixes, they pretty much blow their coats from late March through September. From October to February they shed "lightly".....for Siberians.

Summer is tiring: Maybe I'll just sit here and rest a spell say Chloe (left) and T-Bone (right)

So far this season, the garden has produced six heads of red leaf, green leaf and Romaine lettuce, along with strawberries and raspberries from our new raspberry plants. The tomatoes are still green but are developing nicely (especially the Early Girl and Husky Cherry red) and we even have peppers on two of the pepper plants including the Cayenne and the Giant Marconi (sweet pepper). The shallots are growing tall. The Ichiban eggplant is flourishing despite it's earlier wild ride through the garden courtesy of Acadia. We've been harvesting fresh herbs including rosemary, golden and purple sage, lemon and English thyme, parsley, cilantro, mint, and oregano for the past month or so. Recently, our chives have really sprouted and have been added to omelettes, won tons, and mashed potatoes. The crab apples are still developing but we're hoping to make some nice crab apple butter, crab apple sauce, and crab apple jelly as we have in past seasons.

The Ichiban Eggplant has gorgeous purple flowers

The shallots are growing tall

I know it's early but I hope this Giant Marconi pepper gets a bit more "giant."

Early Girl Tomatoes are getting bigger

The crab apples are developing nicely

On the flower side, the "wall of hydrangeas" is in full bloom. The hostas and day lilies have buds (except for the day lilies in front by the mail box which the deer have, for the sixth straight year in a row, eaten before they could bloom). The window boxes are getting lush with petunias, impatiens, vinca, and others.

Yesterday, Eric and I managed to capture a few summer time photos.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Chloe (left) and Zoe (right) share a nap

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Five Year Anniversary

Happy Anniversary!

Today, Eric and I have been married for five years. Three of the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dogs (Zoe, T-Bone and Sobo) were participants in our wedding on the Eastern Shore of Maryland five years ago. Since the wedding, we've added Okemo and Acadia. During the past five years we've done a lot both together and individually: I left the practice of law at DLA Piper; we started our own business, Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC; Eric made tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Delaware; we almost moved to Minnesota; and we purchased a cabin in Maine. What's next? Who knows, but as long as I have my "sweetie," I know we will make it through it. I love you sweetie.

On the dock right before our wedding

T-Bone was the honorary best man

Sobo thought my bouquet might be tasty

The three dogs that were in the wedding: T-Bone, Zoe and Sobo

Eric with T-Bone, Okemo, Sobo, and Zoe in Lubec, Maine (August 08)

The team in January 2005

Okemo was adopted in February 2006

Okemo hides in the grass after a swim

Acadia joined the family in August 2008

Acadia December 2009

The team in February 2010

The team in Farmington, Maine (February 2010)

Eric in June 2005 at our wedding

Eric (February 2010) traded in his tux for Carhartts and a Trans Alaska parka

The cabin (December 2009)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Maine: Up to Camp!

Live Maine Lobsters

Eric and I along with the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dogs just returned from ten days of adventures up north at our cabin (to Mainers it's a "camp") in Maine.

Hanging the new sign we received as a gift

Along the way, we had two nice Maine lobster dinners. All of the lobsters we purchased this time were "hard shells" vs. "shedders." Eric and I both agree that shedders are much easier to eat than hard shells and even have a different (sweeter) taste than the hard shell lobsters we had on this trip.

We also purchased a new gas grill for the cabin to replace the tiny Weber "Smokey Joe" (portable) we were using as our grill up there.

Eric spent several days cutting and splitting firewood for the wood stove come winter. The new log splitter and the electric chain saw sharpener really helped make that task easier. We also managed to score four free pallets while down at the Home Depot in Augusta. One pallet will be used as a small "bridge" through a wet place on our tie trail (the trail that connects our cabin to the surrounding trails) while the other three were used as a base for Eric's wood pile.

New gas grill

Okemo waits for dinner

Chloe (the cat), Eric and T-Bone relax on the couch

For recreation, we hiked up to the top of Mt. Blue (approx. 3000 feet) in Mt. Blue State Park, took a trip up to Rangeley, and went swimming in Lemon Stream and the Sandy River. The hike up Mt. Blue was quite strenuous as it rises a little under 2000 feet in just 1.6 miles. Along the way we saw tons of moose activity but, sadly, no moose. Once at the top, however, the views were spectacular. Along for the hike were Okemo and Acadia.

On Sunday, we decided to take a short drive up to Rangeley. Along the way we stopped and got some Giffords ice cream. Even Acadia and Zoe enjoyed an ice cream treat.

Acadia checks out the view from the top of Mt. Blue

The view from the top of Mt. Blue

Eric at the top of Mt. Blue

Fish eye view

Webb Lake

Rangeley Lake

While up at the cabin, we had temperatures ranging from the mid 90s to the low 40s. As they say in Maine: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Most of the time the day time highs were in the 70s with very low humidity