Smoke’s First Hike

We took Smoke on his first hike yesterday. I decided to go to a trail that we’re familiar with, so that I knew I could wear him out, get a good hike in, and know my surroundings in the event of any issues. The choice, one of our yearly favorites: Crabtree Falls in Spruce Pine, NC.


Crabtree Falls is an approximately 2-mile loop down to the falls and back to the trailhead. We got there early to attempt to beat the crowds (it’s a pretty popular trail). We got there early, and only one other car was there, when we left, the entire lot was full!!

I wanted to be early for multiple reasons.

  1. Smoke’s first hike: I had a pretty good idea, but I wasn’t really sure how he’d react to the trail. So I wanted to have some space in the case of any issues.
  2. Smoke is VERY friendly. So much so, that he can become obnoxious, barking at people and dogs because he wants to play. I wanted to try to get some energy out and calm him down prior to meeting people to avoid disrupting anyone else’s time on the trail. Also, the trail is pretty narrow at times, I didn’t want any potential safety issues with his excitement, for us or anyone else.
  3. Smoke is still learning some basic leash manners. See #2 for potential safety concerns also applied to this learning curve.
  4. I enjoy solitude on the trail, and so do my girls. I wanted to give Smoke a little taste of that to enjoy, too, and see if he enjoyed it.
  5. This trail has some stairs, and Smoke does not like stairs. I wanted time to work with him on them instead of just shoving him up/down them because we’re holding others up in their hike.


Smoke did wonderfully, and I count it a victory, as he slept the entire 2 hours home. Usually, he’s moving back and forth between the back windows, sticking his head out, never relaxing. Lots of learning and energy burning knocked him out. He even slept all night instead of needing his usual 2-3 AM potty break!

The girls love the trail as well, and all 3 did beautifully. From going all the way down to the falls (you start up and hike down to the base at Crabtree Falls)


To hiking up the mountain


With river crossings


They all loved the trail, as they do each time. I probably went at a slower pace than was strictly necessary for a few safety reasons. While it was cooler in the mountains than at home, it was still warm so I was careful with the pace to avoid overheating the pooches, taking some breaks along the way.

Including playing in the water! (Not for long, it was COLD!!)


Crabtree Falls is a shorter trail than what we typically do, but I wanted to be close to the car in the event anything happened. Even if something did happen, 1-2 miles is a long way when you’re in a hurry or carrying a hurt pooch!!!

Crabtree Falls was gorgeous and delivered a wonderful experience, as always, and it was so amazing to be back on the trail. We all had an amazing day that was much needed to clear our heads and help refocus on what’s important.

Ever been to Crabtree Falls? Have a trail we need to check out? Let us know!!

Thanks for joining us on our adventure!

~Ashton and the crew


One thought on “Smoke’s First Hike

  1. Smoke did wonderfully on his first hike I like that you considered the dogs and other hikers for his first hike. He had a positive experience and will be excited for the next hike.
    So many people just choose the trail that they want to hike without considering the dog’s readiness.
    We like early morning hikes, mostly because the woods smell so good in the morning
    Beautiful photos also.


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