Doggie Day Trip: No Expenses Necessary
Perfect weekend for a dog hike!
Great Outdoors Offers Free Sights, Spaces, and Smells
I wouldn’t call myself a selfish dog owner by any means, but I guess I’m not always listening to what my pooch Oscar wants. Sometimes it takes getting out of the city to realize what really makes him tick. Two weekends ago, I decided Oscar was not completely happy in this beautiful autumn weather just breaking loose for 20 yards in one of Hoboken’s dog parks. In the recent past, he’s gone to events where he can socialize with other dogs on leashes, but that doesn’t seem to do much for his soul either.
Now that the summer is over and Oscar is less lethargic from the heat – and more curious about the new smells of leaves and nuts on the ground – I thought he deserved a real trip to the outdoors.
I decided to take him up to Ringwood State Park, which is just a quick 45-minute drive from Hoboken. After all, in another month, I’m really not going to want to take him anywhere but the dog park. By then, the “real” outdoor trails will be full of puddles, ankle-twisting pitfalls and roots covered with leaves, and maybe even snow.
These factors make October the perfect time to hit the trails, and this weekend in particular (October 23rd-24th) will be ideal because the weather is predicted to be beautiful (especially tomorrow). I suggest you take your dogs out to check out these sights and smells.
Our Ringwood State Park hike was the best decision I made for Oscar all year. For a change, he was off his leash (and overjoyed about it), and got to run off a little into the woods to sniff and explore, and then re-join me to be the “trail-blazer.”
It was great to watch him frolic and enjoy the smells and sounds of the outdoors, which we too often discount as a great human pleasure as well. Just watching Oscar, I appreciated my surroundings much more. At Ringwood, there are lots of streams, so Oscar did his share of splashing around. I prepared myself by bringing a towel, and going with the understanding that the car might need a really good cleaning afterwards. Surprisingly, I never even needed to use the towel – the fresh air seemed to clean Oscar up after a five-minute air-dry.
Finally, the best thing was that Oscar slept like a baby on the way back and all night after that – probably dreaming of squirrels and chipmunks we saw, and other cool odd sounds out in the woods. One other really nice thing about Ringwood was that quite a few massive grassy hills were perfect for playing fetch with a ball – so be sure to bring one.
At the end of the day, you and your dog will be happy and tired. A highly recommended hike.
Detailed Trail maps are available to purchase on-site – or take a look at this preview map for a general idea. Trails.com also offers a 14-day trial if you want to do further research. Finding a trail that leads to a pond is a fun choice. Gallery of photos below: