Best hiking trails in Pennsylvania? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Best hiking trails in Pennsylvania?

Hi guys!
We are so excited this December my family bought us plane tickets for Christmas to go see my grandparents in PA, i'm a little nervous though too since Gandalf will be FLYING but that is a story for another time! They live in the womelsdorf area but we absolutely LOVE the poconos and don't mind driving! My husband has never seen snow in his life and neither has Gandalf (yep lame Florida people here) so we are keeping our fingers crossed for a blizzard lol! For those of you that live in PA do you have any secret secluded hiking spots you wouldn't mind sharing with us and the world? Any dog friendly trails on the poconos? Also any special christmas time things or recommendations to go visit while we are up there? Can't wait to get up there and do some real hiking with the pup!!
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 11:39 AM
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Sounds like fun! What a cool Christmas gift!

One thing to watch for that could put a big glitch in your plans is if they won't let Gandalf fly because the weather in PA is too cold. I'm using Delta as an example because I've flown them with a pet before, but if the weather is too severe - if temps are outside of certain boundaries at any point/destination on the trip - they won't let the animal fly in cargo. American Airlines has similar restrictions but I think they're stricter: If any destination/stop on the trip is colder than 45 degrees F, the animal can't fly cargo. Given a guess that the average temps in Pennsylvania are probably around 40 degrees in December, that's a distinct possibility.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 11:49 AM
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Expect lots of sharp rocks on trails once you venture outside of urban/suburban parks. Pennsylvania is full of boot-shredders. The difficulty of the trails isn't bad, but the trail surface in a lot of PA is nasty on your feet, especially if you aren't expecting it.

You'll want quality footwear for yourself. Your dog's paws need to be in good, tough condition before you set out, otherwise you might end up carrying your dog. I own a set of dog booties, but IME they're more of a hindrance than a help - I only take them with me to use in case of injury.

If you have any reservations about the toughness/condition of Gandalf's paws, I'd stay on short local park trails to make sure it stays an enjoyable vacation.

alltrails.com is a good website for looking at length, topography, and reading user reviews of different trails. There's often info about what the dog policy is. It's free, I recommend.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like fun! What a cool Christmas gift!

One thing to watch for that could put a big glitch in your plans is if they won't let Gandalf fly because the weather in PA is too cold. I'm using Delta as an example because I've flown them with a pet before, but if the weather is too severe - if temps are outside of certain boundaries at any point/destination on the trip - they won't let the animal fly in cargo. American Airlines has similar restrictions but I think they're stricter: If any destination/stop on the trip is colder than 45 degrees F, the animal can't fly cargo. Given a guess that the average temps in Pennsylvania are probably around 40 degrees in December, that's a distinct possibility.
He'll be staying with me in the seat instead of cargo, hopefully bulkhead if we can reserve it. Right now he is an ESA dog (i've got the legitimate paperwork from my Dr.), we are working towards service dog in the future but he is not there yet! I figured this would be a good experience for him, he does great in public with people and tight spaces. He knows the curl command and to tuck his tail but i'm still not sure he would fit under a regular plane seat, he is 70 lbs now ! We've practiced with chairs against the wall and small boxes. Luckily its a short flight about 1 hr 30 minutes. We're flying Southwest so good chance if we board early family will be sitting next to us so he can stretch out. Any first time flying tips for those of you have done it? We're planing on tons of exercise the morning before and a very light breakfast, if he skips breakfast he throws up bile.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
He'll be staying with me in the seat instead of cargo, hopefully bulkhead if we can reserve it. Right now he is an ESA dog (i've got the legitimate paperwork from my Dr.), we are working towards service dog in the future but he is not there yet! I figured this would be a good experience for him, he does great in public with people and tight spaces. He knows the curl command and to tuck his tail but i'm still not sure he would fit under a regular plane seat, he is 70 lbs now ! We've practiced with chairs against the wall and small boxes. Luckily its a short flight about 1 hr 30 minutes. We're flying Southwest so good chance if we board early family will be sitting next to us so he can stretch out. Any first time flying tips for those of you have done it? We're planing on tons of exercise the morning before and a very light breakfast, if he skips breakfast he throws up bile.
Nope, he's not going to fit under a seat!

Do be prepared for people to be leery. There were a lot of really strong negative reactions among my offline social circle after this happened:

Passenger mauled by an emotional-support dog on Delta - Business Insider

@Thecowboysgirl might have some good tips for travel, I think she has a service dog or has trained them.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 12:21 PM
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I've done some work around Scranton and State College. I agree the trails are very rough and rocky. Be prepared. I visited many of the State Parks in the area and had some great runs. I always had my dogs with me, off leash, and no hassles.

There are tons of deer- be ready with a good recall. The area is overpopulated with deer. There are a bunch of black bear, they should be in hibernation but I've never seen an area with so many black bear. Porcupines are dense, too. Basically, make sure you have good control of your dog.

The ticks should be gone, but I'd be real careful and make sure to treat your dog if you see any- you will not get them all. Deer ticks are tiny and on a large, coated dog you will miss some. My GSD got Rocky Mountain fever (tick disease) from field work in PA. It was super scary. The ticks were really bad.

I highly recommend the State Parks. Blue Knob was among my favorites, also Promised Land, but there are many, and they are well maintained, have lots of trails and are dog friendly. It's a decent area to hike, but don't expect any "real" mountains, it's more rolling hills and ridges- but nothing wrong with that.


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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 12:29 PM
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Oops, realized Bald Knob isn't the Poconos- but one more place to Google is Rickett's Glen State park, it has miles and miles of trails and I didn't see anybody when I went there.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 01:06 PM
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Yeah no. The ticks will not be gone. They are still going strong. Make sure your dog's protected.

Not PA, and a few hours north, but the trails for the falls in Ithaca NY are amazing and dog friendly.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WateryTart View Post
Nope, he's not going to fit under a seat!

Do be prepared for people to be leery. There were a lot of really strong negative reactions among my offline social circle after this happened:

Passenger mauled by an emotional-support dog on Delta - Business Insider

@Thecowboysgirl might have some good tips for travel, I think she has a service dog or has trained them.
YIKES! The only mauling he might do is death by kisses. Man that is something I am really trying to work on with him... we have gotten special permission from several stores around here to bring him in and train, he does great, looks really professional until someone looks his way and says "cute" and then he loses it, full blown tail and body wag lol. He completely loses focus until the person walks away and usually because they see he is so friendly they come over to talk which results in petting. I wish I knew how to make him not react like that, any ideas? He does fantastic in public, no forging ahead on his leash and he constantly makes eye contact with me. Many people in home depot have stopped to hug him and he gives kisses to random strangers when he isn't wearing his vest, he is such an attention hog. He never barks either unless I say the command. I would prefer negative reactions towards him at this point at least those are easier to ignore. We are still training his task, it has been a long set back with the medical issues but I know we will get there. Anyone with experience know if the bulkhead seating can fit a GSD?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah no. The ticks will not be gone. They are still going strong. Make sure your dog's protected.

Not PA, and a few hours north, but the trails for the falls in Ithaca NY are amazing and dog friendly.
NY isn't too far away, what is your favorite trail? We might make a special trip if it is really something !
Any all natural tick repellents that actually work? I'm still hesitant to throw him on more meds at this point. We are also gong to be bringing his raw meat along on the plane!! It looks like as long as its frozen solid we are good to go, we will only be there 5 days so about 10+ lbs of meat. My mom has a great backpack cooler I was thinking of throwing some dry ice in there once we land and get situated as the first day we are going to a german food festival in Philly that is dog friendly! If he does good on the plane I promised him a brat lol. Black bears make me a little nervous, he has never seen one before. We will probably bring that long lead while we're up there to be safe. Just to clarify when you guys put a 30 ft long lead on your dog do you let it trail behind him when hiking or actually hold on to the end?
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