Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Dog Trails To You

Long before the kids came along, another member of our family loved to Nordic ski with my husband and me: our dog Daisy. Our 12-year old black Labrador Retriever loves winter probably more than any of us. She adores running, but heat really slows her down in the summer. She recognizes when we’re getting our outdoor gear ready and whimpers at the door, ready to go.

Last week I decided to take Daisy with me to the dog-friendly trails at Bretton Woods while I towed Timothy in the Chariot. This was my first try at simultaneously towing a kid and keeping an eye on Daisy. Luckily, Daisy is usually very well behaved on the trail. She has always been a people-dog, more interested in staying close to us than in ranging too far. Still, with Timothy in tow I didn’t want this to be the day she decides to go exploring without me.

It was a blue-bird day, and I was excited to get outside after some home-bound days with another round of sick kids the past week. Daisy’s exuberance manifests in a funny little habit when we are setting off on skis or mountain bikes: she nibbles ever-so gently, but incessantly, at my gloves. Luckily that only lasts a minute and then she’s galloping along next to me.

When we first took Daisy cross-country skiing, it took a while for her to figure out how to manage getting around those long sticks attached to our feet, and we’d get all tangled up, dog fur and poles and skis and me, and I would come crashing to the ground. Fortunately, Daisy soon figured out that she didn’t need to run so close to her people – a little distance made it easier for everyone.

The dog trails at Bretton Woods are in the Deception Trail System, which are the trails northeast of the Nordic Center, mostly on the other side of the Cog Road. To get there, you can either go behind the Omni Mount Washington Hotel on Lower Honeymoon, which is partly a snow-covered dirt road, or go over the Ammonoosuc River Bridge, take a left on Perimeter, then go over the river crossing where the river is frozen. This takes you behind one of the old villas that used to house workers for the Resort, and then back onto Lower Honeymoon. Lower Honeymoon follows along the river until it meets with the Cog Road, where you need to watch for snowmobiles and cars as you cross.

I took the loop up Upper Honeymoon and back down Split Rock. Daisy occasionally stopped to sniff rabbit tracks in the snow, but mostly just bounded along next to me. This trail seems to be a favorite of the local moose, but I didn’t get to see them today. The view from the top of Upper Honeymoon is wonderful on a day like today, and Daisy and I take a breath at the top enjoy that feeling that although we’re only 25 minutes from the Nordic Center, we’re taking in some sights that not everyone gets to see; only those of us who take the effort to get out here can hear the winds whispering through these trees.

Daisy runs so fast back down hill that her hind legs get ahead of her, but she still has that tongue-hanging-out doggy grin on her face. I take her back to the car, knowing that she is getting older and I don’t want her to overdo it. Timothy is still singing along in the Chariot, so we head out for another short loop over the golf course, Crawford’s Path, and back on Perimeter. Daisy slept soundly at home for the rest of the afternoon, but I know when I see her running in her sleep, she’s probably dreaming of cruising the cross-country trails with me.

Another good thing to know: if you're visiting Bretton Woods overnight, you can bring your favorite doggy friend with you. The Omni Bretton Arms Inn will host you and your pooch, and you can ski right out your door. Dogs deserve a little winter vacation getaway, too, don't they?


  1. We are bringing our 2 dogs with us next week and staying in a private Rosewood Townhome. I am trying to figure out where I can walk them - can I hike/snowshoe on the trails you mentioned, or is it only cross country skiing?

  2. Hi Margie- The trails I mentioned above are all open to snowshoeing. With the warm spell we had this week, I would guess they will not be groomed for cross-country skiing. You can get a trail map at the Nordic Center, and it will show the Deception System, which is all dog-friendly. There are also a whole host of AMC trails near the Highland Center, which is about 5 miles east of the Resort on route 302.