The news of snowfall in the early months of 2018 had all of our ears perked. For Angelenos, winters are wet or dry, and this one was dry. There is no snow for most of us in any part of Los Angeles, ever. The Mount Baldy region of San Bernadino is a little too far for our daily sports activities but is just close enough for a day trip. We thought it would be a blast to take our dogs on a snow day. For dog lovers like us, seeing dogs in the snow is a pretty awesome prospect.
We wanted to have our pack explore a brand new hiking trail. Plus, most of our pups would be experiencing snow for the very first time. It was hardly profitable, but providing such an enriching experience for our pack members seemed well worth it.
We got right to work organizing the logistics of the excursion. Within a few days, our pack was formed, and the day was planned. But which of our fearless Sports Leaders would want to take such a big group out into snowy terrain? Who could remain calm and confident enough to lead the excursion?
Our fearless Sports Leaders stepped forward. We had Cynthia, our leonine guardian, Chris, our practical sage, and Kaylie, our nimble magician. The day came, and I found us gathering in the Club lobby. It was so endearing to see what our dog’s families had packed for them. Sweaters, snacks, and snow boots– just to give you an idea. Although it was 60 degrees when we embarked from our Santa Monica headquarters, these guys were suited for a frosty fun day.
Roscoe observes the trail while Cynthia leashes up the pack.
Trekking to Mount Baldy
We caravaned out past Downtown LA, towards the eastern stretch of mountains that only occasionally grace our hazy vista at home. Meanwhile, our doggos were brimming with anticipation as they knew an awesome adventure was afoot.
When we arrived at the trailhead parking lot it was full. But why wouldn’t it be on such a gorgeous January day? The sun was shining, and the temperature was just cold enough to want to work up a sweat. Two of the Sports Leaders and I all corralled in the parking lot as our third team member went and parked the van.
As we waited, I looked around at Mount Baldy’s marvel and saw one big red flag: no snow. I think there was a general feeling of disappointment among us humans in the group. Did we drive all the way out here for nothing? Was this entire trip in vain? We humbly hit the trail.
Hudson, Bodhi, Mack, Ricky, and Cody wait patiently with Chris
Our doubts were squashed once we saw the excitement of the dogs on the trail.
The dogs clearly didn’t care whether there was snow, they were just psyched for the opportunity to explore new terrain. I remember seeing Husdon tepidly maneuver a couple of boulders to meet his buddies on the other side. I remember Bruno, our tiny but mighty terrier, nimbly keep up with the group with stride. All of the dogs happily made their way along the trail next to each other. And I have to say how amazed I was at the grace of Cynthia, Chris, and Kaylie.
Our discovery spot
The best part of our hike was absolutely a secluded clearing we found with the stream running through it. After a challenging hike, our pack rejoiced in a chance to frolic off-leash in the water. Penny was the first to take a big splash in the rushing water. The rest of our pack dispersed into the surrounding areas. (Thanks to our assessment process, we can confidently let certain members play off-leash.)
Some of our fluffiest dudes, Charlie, Cody, and Tad, immediately cooled off in the water. Ricky, Roscoe, and Titan stretched their legs and sniffed around the boulders and trees. Bandit was immediately covered in rich, earthy mud, and ecstatically running around. He came right up to me, and let out a liberating howl. Out here, he let his freak flag fly.
Bandit lets out a howl
All of our dogs took their time to explore the trail in their own way. It was interesting watching what all the dogs did with their freedom in nature. Each of our pack members got to express themselves uninhibitedly, surrounded by the healing forces of nature. And just as the test of time has demonstrated, our dogs stuck right by our side. Human’s best friend indeed.
Sports Leader Kaylie gives Tad some love.
The Road Home
I’ve heard it said the road home is faster than the one leaving. Our hike back flew by in a wave of on gazing hikers, sweet breezes, and occasional potty breaks. I greeted the trashcan at the trailhead happily and tossed about seven bags of poop we had accumulated on the way.
The dogs calmly marched back to the van. Just like that, our Mount Baldy excursion was coming to an end. I turned back to the snowcapped peaks one last time. Not what we were expecting, but still, what an adventure.
The pups peacefully snoozed as Cynthia expertly drove us back to the western edge of LA. After our excursion, I felt I could relate to the dogs in a way I never had before. I mean, besides the fact that we all love falling asleep in a car. But more seriously, we could all relate to this experience of discovering a new place and submerging ourselves deep in nature. Furthermore, the endorphins released after a long, testing hike make all sort of happy receptors flare in my brain. I saw how the dogs enjoyed the moment rather than being let down by expectations. To me, seeing our dogs demonstrate that joyous presence worth the whole day itself.
Before I knew it, we were back at Fitdog. I said Salud to my team and crouched to offer some doggie love. I was greeted with a cluster of sleepy kisses from our dogs. No, there is no better way to end a workday.
I may not know what the dogs came out of that experience with, but I know one thing for sure. I can hardly wait for next year’s snow day, whether or not there is any on the ground. Thanks for the fun, Mount Baldy!
Post updated on June 12, 2019