Day Hiking with Dogs in December


When Patronus and I awoke, the temperature was in the 40s with no chance of rain, perfect for a weekend outdoor adventure!

I put on my favorite cold weather moisture wicking shirt, an insulated vest, my favorite workout pants, and a bright orange hat, which is super attractive I know, but hey, it’s hunting season in Michigan.  After downing a quick cup of coffee and loading up the car, we set off to meet our friends for another day hike.

When we reached the parking lot, I got both of our packs situated.  Then, we met up with our friends Erin and Bruce for a day of hiking.

We decided to hike the Crooked Lake Trail that Patronus and I had done in October, only with a twist.

The Crooked Lake Trail itself is pretty much what it sounds like: a 5-ish mile loop circling around Crooked Lake.  The first half is also part of the Potowatomi Trail, a hilly wooded trail frequented by mountain bikers and backpackers.  After the second bench, it splits off and becomes its own trail until the last mile or so, where it joins up with the shorter Silver Lake Trail.

When we reached the first bench, we decided to stop for a water break and to snap a quick photo.  Convincing two dogs in the middle of the woods to look at a camera at the same time?  Not exactly easy.

Eventually, we reached an area overlooking a small lake, so we decided to stop for some more water and a snack.

Patronus always seems to look so incredibly majestic in photos, until you notice the drool.

After passing the third bench and heading right at the fork in the trail, we eventually came upon a historic stone fireplace and a root cellar standing in the middle of the woods.

We spent a few moments checking out the structures.  I think Patronus enjoyed having his own fort.

We decided to hit the trail again, as there was still at least a mile or so left to go.

When we reached the trailhead, Erin and I decided to let the dogs play for a bit until we were ready to head home.  All in all we hiked about 6.4 miles.

By this point, Patronus was finally actually tired, so he pretty much napped during the entire drive home.

Luke stayed home playing video games and making chicken soup, so there was plenty of goodness to fuel up on once we were finally back home.

The following weekend, Patronus and I decided to meet up with Erin and Bruce for another day hike, this time at Maybury State Park.

The weather was beautiful when we headed out, sunny and in the 50s.  I had just gotten a new moisture wicking flannel, so I was really excited to actually have a chance to test it out…in December nonetheless!

After getting all of our packs situated, the four of us headed out onto the hiking trail.  It was Erin and Bruce’s first time hiking at Maybury, so it was fun showing them that although the park’s trail system basically looks like it was planned by two cats and a ball of yarn, it can be a really fun “choose your own adventure” type of hike if you just have fun with it and explore.

Once we made it to the pond, it began to rain.  No rain was in the forecast, of course, but when you’re planning an Erin and Kristy adventure, any inclement weather situation within reason is pretty much fair game.

Eventually we stopped for a water break and I decided to fish my raincoat out of my pack, only to notice that apparently it had fallen out earlier that morning and was at home, chilling on my living room floor.  Typical.

Luckily it wasn’t raining too bad, I still had my other layers with me, and it was pretty easy to get back to the car if we needed to, so we just decided to keep hiking and then head back to the car of things didn’t improve.

The rain stopped after a couple of minutes and the sun even came out for a bit, so all was well.

Eventually we stopped for a snack break.  I enjoyed my favorite dried mango slices, while Patronus had a couple of peanut butter treats.

Once we were all refueled and ready to go, we decided to head back out on the trails and check out a few of the sanatorium sites as well as another loop of the hiking trail.

Naturally there was also time to play!

Eventually, it was about time for it to start getting dark.  After hiking back to our cars, we packed up all of our stuff and headed home.

All in all, we did about 6.2 miles for the day.

Patronus was hardly tired at all this time, so he mostly just chilled out and snacked on dog food the whole way home.

One more dog hike in the books!


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