Antoine Peak has been on my hiking radar for a while.
The trailhead is a mere 15 minutes from my front door and yet there it sat, unhiked by me and Bella.
With access on both sides of the hill, Antoine Peak is popular among hiking enthusiasts and mountain bikers in Spokane. The west side has the most direct route to the peak, according to Washington Trails Association, but access to that is tough right now with construction on Bigelow Gulch and Forker.
The east side has a steeper route to the top. I didn’t check that before I left the house and found out the second I set boots on the trail. However, I was determined to have a great hike with Bella and come back with lots of images.
After all, I needed a post for the worldwide pet photographers blog cirlce. This week’s theme is before and after, and I’ve come up with a few different ways to show you before and after our hike up Antoine Peak.
To leash or not to leash
This is always an easy answer for me.
Bella’s natural instinct as a Maremma sheepdog is to roam, to protect her perimeter. When she’s somewhere new, she needs to explore where her perimeter exists.
I would be devastated if she never came back, so I don’t take the chance.
In addition, Antoine Peak is maintained by Spokane County so there is a leash rule. A rule that never seems to apply to everyone but I try to let that go.
I ran into one pack of women with three dogs who apologized for having their dogs off their leads (I had pulled off the trail to social distance) and said they had heard there was a cougar in the area. Trouble is, your dogs won’t protect you from a cougar. Likely, they’ll just become lunch.
Also, the chance is great that an off-leash dog will run into the woods, find wildlife and bring it back toward you. It’s just dangerous.
However, leashes do get in the way when you’re turning a dog into art. Photoshop helps out with that.
I planned my shot from the second I picked this trail, expecting the great views promised by most of the trail apps and websites but, as you can see, it was pretty wooded at the top.
A good haul up Antoine Peak
The entire Antoine Peak Conservation Area offers five different routes, two that take you to the summit. If you take Tower Road from the west parking lot, it’s less than a mile to the peak.
From the east parking lot, tt’s a good 3 or so miles.
So, hey, who doesn’t love a good challenge?
The parking lot was jammed with cars when we got there and several hikers veered right onto the Canfield Gulch trail, an easy 3.7-mile loop that connects to the summit trail.
Which meant we turned left.
The first 1-mile stretch was a good way to warm up the hamstrings. It holds some pretty steep sections with few switchbacks to lighten the workload.
And there are some great views of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake along the way.
Along with lots of other reasons to stop and give my hamstrings and quads a break.
Even for Bella:
And then there’s this.
Most of these images are a great before for you.
A perfectly wide dog. Pristine white. Beautiful white.
This is what happens after:
I can tell you, though, that Maremma hair is magical.
By the time we got to the parking lot at the bottom of Antoine Peak, the mud had dried and flaked off. Bella was white again!
One more after
All told, Bella hiked 6.24 miles last Sunday.
We were pooped.
While our man human and I relaxed in the afternoon sun with a cold one (or two), Bella went straight to bed.
We’ll both get in better shape if we keep up a regular schedule of hikes and, sooner or later, this virus shutdown will be over so we can be free to head up to B.C. and Alberta where we’ll punish our paws with some Rocky Mountain hiking again.
All around the circle
How’s that for before and after?
My after now is finding the next trail to hike Spokane and area. We aren’t permitted into Idaho for nonessential purposes anymore. The state announced that restriction a day after I put last week’s post about hiking in Post Falls.
There are so many great trails in Idaho! It’s going to be tough not going over there.
In the meantime, let’s see how my pet photographer friends tackled before and after. Start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, saving photos in Northeastern PA until she can escape her house again.
Click the link at the bottom of her post to get to the next photographer, and so on until you find yourself back here.
Home. Right where you belong.