Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

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20 Aug 14

Doggie Day Trip: Historic Montauk ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

If you are looking for another historic and dog friendly spot on Long Island to take your dog on a Doggie Day Trip too – you’re in luck.  In our article series Historic Dog Friendly Long Island, and another of our series of Doggie Day Trips – this is combo of the two!

When we think of Montauk, aside from the beaches and laid back vacation vibe, you may not realize that there is a Suffolk County Park that is a piece of history, and dog friendly.  Montauk County Park is located just before the oldest horse ranch in America on the left hand side heading east on Montauk Highway.  It’s a bit of a secret spot because you may just be driving by out to the lighthouse and pass right by not realizing what you are passing.  On a recent Doggie Day Trip, I was accompanied by Snoopy Brunn, the cutie pie Boston Terrier in all the photos.  She an east end native, but this was her first visit to these MTK spots!

Montauk County Park is packed with history, being the home to the first cattle ranch in the United States, and the historic “Third House” on the property was home to the early cattle keepers.  The home also played a significant role in the Spanish American war as it was Camp Wikoff – and served as the quartine area after the war for nearly 30,000 troops including Teddy Roosevelt.

While it’s not the biggest county park on LI – it’s a great stop to make on your way out to the lighthouse, especially if you’re traveling a distance to get there.  The park is dog friendly and the very historic grounds over look the horse ranch, and when we were there, there were no other dogs.  So if you have a dog that maybe doesn’t do great with other pups – this is a nice spot to visit, maybe bring a picnic for you and your dog and enjoy the quiet, beautiful scenary and clean crisp fresh air that seems to be just a bit different in Montauk.

Snoopy was very good observing the horses, don’t let your dog harass or get to close to the horses, respect their space – this is their home after all.

After hanging at for a while or if your just want to go straight out to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, while this is a state park that are generally not always dog friendly, (although we have a few state parks on LI that are dog friendly state parks), you can bring your dog to MTK lighthouse.  He is just not allowed on the lighthouse grounds or near the restaurant…but other wise you can walk the hilly trails which are great for hiking.  You can bring your dog down to the beach – leashed of course at all times, and have him pose in front of the lighthouse.  The beach is very rocky – but incredibly beautiful – the color of the water is gorgeous!

If you want to do the trails – it’s a great place to do a hike with your dog – I have personally done the trails a few different times with my dog in the past – and we always had a great workout.  Just be sure to check yourself and your pup for ticks after the hike if you go this time of year.  Also if you go during the off season – or in winter, be very careful as it is hunting season, and not all hunters abide by the rules of where they should be hunting and that they shouldn’t be doing so on the weekends.  (My friends and I learned that the hard way when we hiked in December on the weekends and heard gun shots very close to where we were the hunters were not supposed to be there). A suggestion is to have your dog and yourself wear bright colors and never take your dog off the leash while hiking the trails.

Snoopy posing at the beginning of a hiking trails.

The secret of Montauk? September is probably one of the most amazing months to visit, the weather is perfect, it’s not hot and less people. You can bring your dog through town and enjoy the beauty around you.  Have your pup pose for some pictures in MTK – and post them in the Facebook comment section below!  For a LOT more pictures of Snoopy’s adventure in Montuak, click here. And remember bring water, treats, a pet first aid kit and if you do the hike, be sure to check your pup for any buggers.   I have been many times in the past it’s a beautiful spot to visit, almost like you have left LI altogether. :)  Enjoy – and stay tuned for our next article Historic Dog Friendly Long Island – and Doggie Day Trips – coming very soon!

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30 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Recently we hiked a trail in Manorville, Manorville Hills County Park, which is dog friendly and also has horse trails and mountain bike trails.  This path system is a relatively new addition to the Greenbelt Trail for hikers on LI.  I know what you’re thinking if you are reading this living in Nassau County – Manorville, you’re either saying, “where is that?” or “I am not driving all the way out there!”  First I would say, when you’re on this trail, you really can’t believe you’re still on Long Island – this has to be one of the hilliest trails around – boasting a 150-foot high elevation, (that’s 15 stories high folks), throughout the majority of this 6.5-mile hike we were climbing up some serious hills.  It is well worth the drive whether your 20 minutes away or and hour and 20 minutes away.  When you are at the top of the highest elevation – it’s just beautiful.

The hike will take you approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.  If you do bring your dog be sure you dog is up to a hiking a trail like this.  My dog, who is used to being walked 3 or 4 miles and going on hikes, was pretty tired ¾ of the way through, and was wiped the rest of the day! (But he was all ready for another walk the next day – damn good for an almost 10 year old dog!).

Also since this trail is right smack dab in the middle of the beautiful Pine Barren Region – make sure you wear long pants (covering your hiking boots or sneakers) and spray your pants with bug spray.  This is tick season (all over LI) and I did have to stop a few times to knock ticks of the dog – yuck, (the natural bug spray from Fetch Doggies Boutique I used on him worked pretty well), but the trails are wide enough for the most part that your not walking through brush.  Unfortunately, ticks are par for the course on any and most hikes, parks and even your own well landscaped back yard here on LI.  Be sure to check your dog thoroughly a few times during and after any hike – or even after he comes in from your own yard.

So if you are taking part of the 250-Challenge this will be a great hike to add into your challenge, knock out 6.5-miles, and have a great workout climbing those Long Island mountains! The pictures below don’t do justice to how steep some parts were.

We followed the yellow marked trail from the parking area (square yellow marks on sprayed onto trees) to the orange marked trees all the way through, (turned yellow again about ¾ way through, then back to orange) and this is a loop that will bring you back to the parking area.  We did this without a map of the trail!  However you can purchase a map from the LI Greenbelt and get directions to the park which is off of Country Road 111 (on the north bound side).

We didn’t see too much wildlife during the hike, to my surprise, some birds and a nuclear green colored bug, small lavender colored moths fluttering about, and on our way out a family of deer.

Max taking a rest during hike!

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14 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Hiking with your dog, Blydenburgh

The next park in our series of dog friendly parks throughout LI, as part of the 250 Challenge, we bring you Blydenburgh County Park in Hauppauge.  While many people may have heard of this park or past by it on their way to Suffolk County office buildings – most have yet to venture into the park itself.  This is one of my favorite places to take my dog for a good 6 – 7-mile hike through the woods.  The full hike around Stump Pond takes about 2 or 2.5 hours depending on which path you take and where you entered the park.  There are skinny, very hilly trails right along side the “pond” for a large part of the hike or a wider less hilly trail that is quite sandy due to the horses that frequent the park on a daily basis. Long Island is still horse country, if you didn’t know!   Recently we hiked there on a busy Saturday and I think we passed maybe 3 or 4 other people with dogs, on leashes, at most.  The reason the trails are not over run with dogs, like some of the other Suffolk County Parks is because of the large enclosed dog run that is there.

A few years ago the Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-Dog) lobbied to get more dog runs built on Suffolk County land, and one of those great dog runs is located right inside of Blydenburgh Park.  In my opinion this has made a huge difference of a lot less off leash dogs running in the trails (and safer for horses, hikers and dog walkers alike).  Now the vast majority of people that want their dogs to run off leash go into the dog run.  It is a nice size too and there is a large dog and small dog area separated by fences.  There is also a water pump near by and open bathrooms too.  (The bathrooms by the row boats are not open until Memorial Day weekend I believe).  I was pleasantly surprised to learn from many dog owners at the dog run that they have had really nice experiences, and come back often to it.  When I stopped by there must have been like 50+ dogs in there, but it’s large enough that there is plenty of room for the dogs to run around and it didn’t look crowded.  (As a quick tip, you should always watch your dog’s body language and make sure he is having fun and not feeling overwhelmed by other dogs in the dog run.)

So if you are looking for a gem of a place to hike with your dog or to meet other dog owners Blydenburgh is the spot – centrally located on Long Island and very easy to get to. Why not try a different park to walk your dog, he will thank you!  You should bring with you water for you and your dog while hiking and be sure to check for ticks afterwards.  For directions and more information about Blydenburgh click here.  See below for pictures.

Max is a veteran hiker at Blydenburgh - on one of the many little bridges on the trail.

Horses walking by the Grist Mill.

Dog run

Coco enjoying her first hike at Blydenburgh