Yesterday Steph and I took our younger dog, Lucy, up to the Vineyard Mountain Trail (warning: PDF content) on Lake Allatoona. There is a doggie hike every Sunday morning, however, it conflicted with other plans we had made for today. Instead, we decided to go check things out yesterday morning so we could get our lazy asses moving again. We've been pretty sedentary since returning from the Grand Canyon...
From our place it is about a 45 minute drive to the trailhead which is located just off Interstate 75 near Cartersville, GA. We were one of four cars parked at the trail, so we knew it wouldn't be too busy, unlike Kennesaw Mountain. We took off up the trail with Lucy on leash, but that didn't last too long. Lucy is a complete wuss, so we knew she wouldn't go far if she was allowed to run free. So I unclipped her leash and off she ran, never more than 30 feet from either of us. Of course, she'd run ahead, then back to us and off to either side, so I'm sure her hike was at least twice as long as ours!
The hike was really nice. While not terribly difficult, it did have a number of downed trees across the trail provided some challenges for Lucy to figure out. Of course, she could just do an end run around the tree, but that would be too easy. Instead she had to figure out how to either go over or under the tree, but never around. That would take her off the scent trail that everyone else has left behind!
Lucy really impressed me, she's a great hiking companion! She was extremely well behaved the entire hike, even when we met up with a group of hikers with two Great Danes and another mutt. She was a little cautious at first, but quickly fell into her place in the pack with the humans and dogs. We hiked the last mile or so of the trail with the people we met, they showed us how it connects back to the park to make a loop. Based on the map we had, we thought the trail was an in-and-out for a total of 5 miles... we were clearly quite wrong and almost doubled our intended hike. However, since the terrain was relatively flat it didn't feel like a long or strenous trek.
This is definitely a hike we'll be doing again in the near future due to its proximity to the city and the lack of traffic on the trail early in the morning.