The final big outing that I had planned for Staycation 2013 was to Crowder's Mountain. Located just 25 miles outside of Charlotte, Crowder's Mountain has a peak elevation of just over 1600 feet. After some rain showers the day before, it was a slightly cool, yet perfectly sunny day.
The main entrance to the park is currently closed for construction, so we opted to park at the Linwood Road Access instead. We began our trek up the mountain on the Tower Trail. The path is wide, making it perfect for a casual start to the day.
As we neared the turn-off from Tower to Rocktop Hill, the terrain definitely began a more steady ascent. After some hard work, we were greeted with beautiful views and crystal clear skies. Bailey loved every moment of exploring, and votes that nearly 3 hours of off-leash time in the woods is a dog's idea of a perfect day!
After a five mile run that morning and lots of activity in the previous days, Bailey was finally worn out enough to listen very well, never once running off or attempting to pester others enjoying a quiet day on the mountain.
Mom and Dad are quickly learning that any vacation with me will involve lots of exercise. Not only do I make them paint and do housework while they are here, but then I include 20+ miles of hiking/running over three days. I'm so glad they were able to spend some time exploring Charlotte with me!
Mom caught a picture of me teaching Dad some stretches for his sore muscles. He's lacking a bit in the flexibility department, don't you think? I can't complain though, this guy has turned into a legitimate runner over the past year!
After scaling huge piles of rocks, we reached the point that Rocktop Trail met Crowder's Trail. The terrain began to smooth and we eventually connected to Backside Trail, which brought us back to the parking lot.
After 2.5 hours and 6.2 miles of strenuous hiking, it was time for FOOD! We spread a blanket out in a sunny field and all eagerly dug into a picnic. Bailey absolutely refused to lay down, and instead stood panting between us and the car, begging for a soft place to lay. Evidently she is far to precious to lay in the scratchy grass.
Here she is at her finest - comfy and content laying in Dad's lap. They laid that way for at least five minutes, Bailey with her eyes closed and loving every minute of the attention. She's quite a princess!