We outdoor writers take great pride in reporting things exactly as they happen. It’s a matter of professional pride.
And so, here, with possibly only a few creative embellishments, is my report on a recent conversation that I had with my dog, Ellie the Miniature Schnauzer.
She’s my buddy, and she loves to go for walks.
Anyway, I walked into the office this morning, and there sat Ellie the Miniature Schnauzer. Everybody needs a friend like Ellie – unfailingly cheerful and always overjoyed to see you. I can walk out of the room for 30 seconds, and when I return it’s like she’s welcoming me back like I’d just come back from a trip to the other side of the world.
Anyway, I walked into the office and there she was, curled up in the chair like she owned it and with one paw resting on the keyboard of the computer. She looked at me and then back at the computer screen, and that’s when I saw it – the official announcement of the upcoming June launch of Georgia State Park’s new hike-with-your-dog walking program, “Tails on Trails.”
“See?” said Ellie, clear as day and tilting her head toward the computer. “There are the details, right there. It’s a great idea, for it gives us dogs a chance to walk our people on the trails of Georgia’s parks.”
“Well, yes it does,” I agreed. After all, who could possibly disagree with a cute little mini Schnauzer named Ellie? “So how does it work?”
“It’s simple,” Ellie said. “The good folks at Georgia State Parks have always welcomed well-behaved dogs like me, and now we dogs and our people can earn some recognition for all that fun hiking that we like to do. All we have to do is join the Tails on Trails program, and we can do that at any of the seven participating parks or online at GaStateParks.org/TailsOnTrails.”
“Does it cost anything?”
“Just $15,” Ellie said. “A bargain!”
“Once we join, then what?” I asked.
“Then you grab my leash and we hop in the car and off we go to hike the seven designated trails together,” she said. “But don’t worry,” she added. “I’ll go slow. You’ll be able to keep up.”
It sounded intriguing, and I wanted to know more.
“So tell me about these trails,” I asked. “Where are they?”
Ellie explained to me that the Tails on Trails hikes are loop hikes located all across the state, which range in length from just a-mile-or-so to about five miles.
“I did some research,” she said, “and here’s a look at the Tails on Trails hikes...”
Fort Mountain State
Park Lake Trail (1.1-mile loop)
This loop takes you through shaded forest and through a creek valley. Short and mostly flat, it’s a great running loop for owners and their dog.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
Mountain Creek Trail (3.2-mile loop)
One of this parks most scenic trails, this one takes through over gently rolling mountain terrain and through several plant habitats such as pine and hardwood forests.
Don Carter State Park
Woodland Loop and Lakeview Loop Trails (1.5 miles)
This hike is paved for stroller and wheelchair access, and the Woodland Loop option provides welcome shade in the summertime.
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Red Trail (2 miles) and White Trail (5-mile loop)
Both of these trails lead to the historic ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. The Red Trail, at 2 miles, leads directly to the mill ruins. For a longer hike, explore Sweetwater Creek’s rocky banks on the 5-mile White Trail Loop.
High Falls State Park
Falls Trail (1.5-mile loop)
The 1.5 mile Falls Trail is a moderately challenging trek through hilly forests, but your efforts will be rewarded with a great view of High Falls.
Fort McAllister State Park
Redbird Creek Trail (3.1-mile loop)
The 3.1-mile Redbird Creek Trail takes you to scenic views of salt marshes and coastal wetlands.
Red Top Mountain State Park
White Tail Trail (1-mile loop)
The White Tail Trail of Red Top Mountain State Park meanders through hardwood forest to a beautiful overlook of Lake Allatoona.
Clearly, the pup had done her homework.
“What happens once we’ve hiked all seven trails?” I asked.
“Well, once we complete the last one, you get a neat t-shirt and I get a matching bandana. And you know I like bandanas almost as much as I like chasing the cat.”
She stood up then and stretched, then settled back into her place in the chair.
“We also get bragging rights,” she added. “And that’s important, you know.”
"Should we check it out?”
“We should!” Ellie said. “Just don’t forget my portable water dish!”