Our first hike with Sadie Boo!

Our first hike with Sadie Boo!
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My wife and I love the outdoors, one of the primary reasons we moved to the North GA Mountains. Before we made the leap to move here, our youngest son and his girlfriend talked us into getting an Aussie Husky. This beautiful energetic breed is a mixture of Siberian Husky and Australian Shepherd. Well, our Sadie Boo absolutely loves the outdoors. Only problem is, she thinks she is a sled dog and wants to drag my wife everywhere. She just gets so excited when she knows she gets to go outside.

We decided to take Sadie Boo (born October 31, 2020) on her first hike just outside Copperhill, Tennessee, on the Big Frog Trail #64. This adventure was going to be between 5 and 10 miles depending how she was doing. We set out from Blue Ridge, GA and made our way to the trail, about a 45 minute drive. It is a very easy drive down Highway 68 through Copperhill and then taking Highway 64 West toward the Ocoee River. Directions from our GPS took us directly to the trail with no issues. Once you are on Highway 64 it is a little less dog on hikethan 10 miles to the turn on Forestry Rd 221. You will cross over the Ocoee River and go between the TVA water plants. It will look like you took a wrong turn but trust the GPS and continue for 2.9 miles on the gravel road. This is an easy road to maneuver but I would recommend a 4×4 or AWD SUV. Low riding sedans may have difficulty. When we went, the area just had a heavy snow and several trees had fallen across the road but the branches had been cut away to have a clear path. We had our own little tunnels to cross under to enhance the adventure. The parking area is very small holding only 4 to 5 vehicles. When we arrived, we were the third one. After putting on additional warm clothes and leashing up Sadie Boo, we set out on our adventure. There is an easy to read map posted at the entry to the trail. Several other trails branch off at various areas as well. I would rate the hike as Moderate/Difficult. The trail is easy to follow but does have several obstacles and is uphill for a large part of the way. At the 2nd fork, it is straight up to reach the Chimney Top area. The description of the trail is this: Big Frog Trail is a 10.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Copperhill, Tennessee that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Sadie Boo made it look easy. Jumping back and forth, going in circles, and walking twice the distance we did as she sniffed and explored every inch of the trail. Her excitement was very hard to contain. Big Frog starts off meandering through the woods and then begins its steady elevation climb with a few flat lengths along the way. While the descriptions recommend March through October, the January time provided a very clear surrounding to see into the woods and catch glimpses of nature’s beauty and mountain peaks. There are a few small stream crossings along the trail and careful foot placement is needed in some areas. We took a lunch with us to have on the trail but there are not many areas to stop and sit. However, if you love peace and the sounds of the outdoors, this is a wonderful trail to explore. During our 3 ½ hour hike, we only came across one couple during the trail and one person as we were exiting. Sometimes we would just stop and listen. A concept lost on so many these days. However, you will be amazed at what you hear when you take the time. As Sadie Boo explored, she was attacked by this mean small tree sprout and she jumped three feet in the air and gave her best growl and then tried to shake it off like she meant to do it. We had a good laugh at this. Aw, the fun and joy pets bring!

We made it a little more than 3 ½ miles into the trail before we decided to turn around at the Chimney Top area. This was the steepest part of our climb and I would rate it as difficult. The trail is narrow, slippery and there is a good drop-off to your left during your climb. We actually shed a layer of clothing as we made our way up because it was strenuous. Our adventure started at 12:30, a little later than we would have liked, so we had to turn around to make sure we made it back out before dark because I wanted to stop at this little brewery in Copperhill, TN called Buck Bald.

On our way out from the trail, we allowed Sadie Boo to run free for a few minutes and the kid came out in her. Up and down the trail, stopping to look back to make sure we were there, and running back to us in full gallop. It is safe to say our first hike with her was a success.

At one point, we came across a paw print in the snow, you can be the judge, but we think it is a bear print. Glad it crossed the path before we arrived and experienced Sadie Boo’s curiosity. Nothing like a hungry bear coming out of hibernation.

So our day came to a close around 4:30 p.m. and we loaded up a muddy pawed dog, two tired adults and headed our way back to Buck Bald Brewery. I had been thinking about this reward for the last hour of the hike. We highly recommend the visit, people are very welcoming, beer is good, and it is dog friendly. Nothing like a cold beer after a good day’s hike. It was a very enjoyable day, sunny but cold, and a great first adventure with our bundle of energy. Sadie Boo climbed in the car, looked at me and collapsed on my wife’s lap, ready for a nap after her first hike.

I’m sure she will be ready for the next one!

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