Now that summer is finally here, we got a chance to do a great day hike at Bear Mountain State Park with some friends and their dogs. Nothing is stopping my family and I from getting outside. Not even the coronavirus.
Keeping things like restaurants and bars closed during the pandemic is understandable because of the close proximity to other people. But hiking is a great way to spend time with friends and maintain distance without having to wear a stupid face mask.
It was humid in Brooklyn and the hottest day yet at 91 degrees, but we’d been inside long enough after the virus and all of our dogs needed exercise.
After driving about halfway through the mountain we pulled into a rest area with a huge grassy hill.
We decided that by hiking up the hill first the dogs would run out of some initial energy from the car so we wouldn’t be calling after them the rest of the time.
We were right! By the time we got to the top of the hill we were all ready for a break already! We sat down on some boulders and took a water break while Cali chewed her favorite gorilla toy.
After ten minutes of resting we picked up our bags and kept walking down the trail. Cali always feels the need to lead the pack, so all five humans and three other dogs followed her.
This year I decided that I would no longer be hauling the dogs toys, bowls, water, and food in my bag along with all of the human blankets and food. Especially at Bear Mountain State Park with all the hills. I got a hiking backpack for Cali (and will get one for Archie when he’s full grown) that holds everything the dogs need.
I made sure to weigh the bag after putting in 3 cups of food, 1 large water bottle, 2 chew toys, and a travel bowl to make sure it wasn’t too heavy.
The pockets on the hiking backpack are pretty big. Big enough to fit 4 1qt water bottles in and close them. I made the executive decision that 6 lbs was light enough for my 65 pound pitbull to carry.
Since this was Archie’s first time hiking, he was busy getting drunk on the smells of nature.
He was born November 2019. So between the winter and the coronavirus, we couldn’t really get outside as soon as we wanted to this year. However he didn’t seem to notice at all.
When we got to the top of the hill, we found a firepit left behind by a previous group. So we decided to light a small fire and eat lunch. The fire keeps the mosquitos away, which is a lifesaver when it’s super humid and sticky outside.
Archie’s girlfriend Cleo was there. But there was also another new female puppy named Bonnie that he fell head over paws for. I felt kind of bad for Cleo. My fur son is a player.
Here’s Bonnie, Archie’s new mistress. She was supposed to be a mini australian shepherd. But she’s grown past that point so we don’t actually know how big she’s going to get. They would have interesting puppies for sure.
After we were done resting and put out the fire, one of our friends made the suggestion to hike down the other side of the Bear Mountain State Park. Obviously the dogs got there first. Halfway down we noticed there was a massive lake, which was the perfect spot to stop at.
By the time we got to the bottom, Cali was teaching Archie and the other puppies how to swim for the first time. But I’m pretty sure they were naturals to begin with.
Sorry I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of the lake, I was too busy swimming after puppies!
The hike back up was much more work than the hike on the way down. We were off trail at this point and were grabbing onto anything we could to get back up the steep mountain.
Luckily for me, Archie was wearing his harness. He still loves to pull, so he had no problem pulling me up the hill when I attached the leash to the top hook.
(I’ve found that the top hook makes the dogs pull, while the front hook stops them from pulling. If Archie wears anything but this harness, he’d be taking me for a walk.)
About two hours later, we made our way back to the original hill we hiked up in the beginning. I’d love to go back in the winter when it snows because it was the perfect hill for sledding.
Once the dogs had the car in sight they sprinted all the way down. Then they sat and looked at us judgingly for being so slow.
Once we made it back to the car the sun was starting to set. We decided to pick up some burgers for the road and head home after a successful day.
Five minutes into driving, Cali found some space to curl up and nap while Archie spread out and took up most of the backseat.
As I always say, tired dogs are well behaved dogs, and this hike is exactly what they needed.
All 4 dogs had a blast and got to work their noses, swim, and socialize with each other. These are all fantastic activities to keep your dog happy and healthy.
We can’t wait for the next trip to Bear Mountain State Park, and all the other places on our list!
What outdoor activities do you like to do with your dogs? Let me know in the comments!