Saturday we picked up our gorgeous new foster dog, Liza, for Saving Carolina Dogs. Knowing our big Bonds trip that we've planned for quite some time was coming up, I had to get this chica on the trail to evaluate her. I've been wanting to repeat Pierce for awhile and knew it'd be dog friendly for a first timer and warm day. There was also a group going from one of the Facebook pages I belong to so it was an easy decision.
We started a little after 8:00. The temps were already in the mid-60's but the dogs were all super enthusiastic. Passing the first natural pool of the day at only .4 miles, where the Crawford Path and Connector (to the main parking lot on Clinton Road) meet, put them in extra high spirits. I decided to try a new tactic for Tango and start him in his Ruffwear Swamp Cooler before he got warm and uncomfortable and I think it worked out really well.
The trail is very consistent from the start. Elevation gain is pretty constant and forgiving. The trail is predominantly dirt, interspersed with low rocks. Even when it gets rocky, there is generally an easy to follow dirt path through the easiest section. No big boulders, no scrambling or hopping -it really is one of the most enjoyable hikes I've been on. (Not to say Ty and I don't enjoy a good scramble but for Tango just wanting to mosey along and a brand new pup, Pierce is ideal.) I believe the women in the group for whom this was their first 4000 Footer would agree it's beginner human-hiker friendly too!
|Rocks and vista approaching the summit cairn|
|Some of the easiest portions of trail are near the summit|
|Just a taste of the alpine zone!|
|Last cairn before the summit|
|More trail dogs!!!|