I think these are in pretty much chronological order. This is the very start of our hike. It gently slopes for.......not far......then the field just goes straight up. Honestly, that was the hardest part for me. Muscles not warmed up and no rocks and such for good footing and no winding, zig zag trails like most wooded mountain trails. Just straight up. I was gasping. And wondering how the heck Rich's dad did that last year at 78?????? I felt old and I am not even 50, yet. OK next month I am 50 and I should not feel like I could NEVER do this hike in 18 years, but that was how I felt. Old. Sigh. Did you read that right????? Rich's dad did this hike at 78 years old. I am IMPRESSED!!!!
We actually have hope that maybe they are not too old for such things. They totally loved it and while I don't think Colby can navigate a wooded mountain hike and Roscoe probably couldn't handle the up and down on the rock that wooded mountain hikes demand, they both handled Sugarloaf just fine. The open trails and soft open meadows were perfect!! We flushed a mother grouse and a bunch of her babies. I kept the dog's attention while Rich flushed them. Spur briefly noticed, but even the tiny babies took flight, so they were probably in the tree tops. Colby found lots of tiny grasshoppers to hunt. Probably what the grouses were eating. The wild flowers and butterflies were picturesque and absolutely stunning, even though my camera doesn't show that. The wild dianthus, yarrow, trillium were in full bloom. The Eastern Tiger Swallow tail butterflies were EVERYWHERE!! I could never get a good photo of one, though.
We met a breed of dog at the top that I was unfamiliar with. Two Boykin spaniels. They looked like Irish water spaniels, but they had docked tails. I asked if they were related to the Irish spaniels and they said....."No, they are from South Carolina". HUH? An American breed? Yep, I looked them up. A working, hunting spaniel bred to work the waters and marshes of South Carolina. Pretty chocolate, wavy coated spaniels.