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Eight Reasons My Dog Loves Hiking Snoqualmie Mountain
posted by John : June 19, 2014

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Nice trail, huh?

I remember when Treen first came to us. She was a quiet, reserved dog of almost two years. She'd been immaculately trained for a career as a guide dog, but didn't quite fit the mold so she came to us. Her first trip up Mailbox must have been a confusing time for her.

In the last three and a half years she's put on 20 pounds of muscle, been effectively untrained, and developed a love of the trail. I know she loves the trail because she lights up when I change into clothes with logos from OR, Injinji, and REI. When we arrive at the trailhead she still waits patiently as I open the trunk, but she's dying to fly up the mountain or dive into the lake.

Here's eight reasons I know Treen loves to hike that I saw her demonstrate on our last TNAB hike up Snoqualmie Mountain.

  1. She gets to be the leader. Treen's not a very dominant dog. If there's an alpha in every pack, she's the omega. The most submissive of the bunch. But when we're hiking, she can be the lead dog and scout ahead... as long as we're on a trail where voice control is enough.

  2. She gets to show me up. At home, I'm the co-leader of the pack. (Let's be honest, Amy's the leader of the Moosefish pack, but she's a generous leader and doesn't rub it in.) On the trail, Treen gets to run circles around me. Sometimes literally. On a steep trail like Snoqualmie Mountain (3,000 feet in 1.5 miles) I have been known to stop to catch my breath and/or die a little. Treen does not suffer from middle-age so she'll run ahead and look back quizzically as if to ask, "You coming?"

  3. Things smell better in the wilderness. You and I can smell it. Imagine if we had a dog's nose. Now imagine if we weren't put off by the scent of something dead under a rock. That's a reason to go hiking.

  4. Water tastes better straight from the source. When I'm hot and thirsty and I come across a crystal clear stream the urge to drink straight from it is almost overwhelming. Then I think about what might happen to my insides and I stick with the water I carry in my bottles. Dogs don't seem to have that problem. Except for a couple of bouts with giardia suffered by Tokul, I don't know any dogs that have gotten sick from drinking from moving water.

  5. OMG SNOW! Even late in June there's snow that's pretty easy to get to, relatively speaking. I love the snow a lot, but Treen loves the snow. When we found the first patch of snow, about a meter square, she ran through the brush to get to it, then lay down and rubbed herself all over it. Each time we found a new patch of isolated snow she repeated this ritual until we were in continuous snow. Then she was just happy.

  6. Graham crackers. I know this sounds weird, but Treen has a love affair with graham crackers. This can absolutely be blamed on Mr. Eric who has been known to bring an unopened pack of grahams on a hike solely for Treen. It's so bad that when she hears the distinctive crackle of the cellophane at home she goes all Pavlov and starts to drool.

  7. She gets to look epic. I don't think she spends a lot of time online, but if she did she'd see that most of the photos of her make her look like quite the adventure dog.

  8. The views are better up there. Even weirder than the graham cracker addiction is the idea that Treen appreciates the views. I wouldn't really believe it if I hadn't seen her stand motionless and stare across the cloud-filled valley at snow-covered peaks fading into the distance. It was a moment of utter peace and one that assured me she appreciated our destinations as much as the journeys.

All of these reasons Treen loves to hike can be found on Snoqualmie Mountain. This trip started great, but the weather deteriorated pretty quickly. In fact, it just started to rain when we made it back to the trailhead.

Now... why do I love to hike? That's a different list. After all, I'm not that big a fan of graham crackers.

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