Hiking Spokane: Tackling the hills around us

September 27, 2019
sunrise hike at rocks of Sharon

It’s no secret. Bella and I love being outdoors … so much that I’ve set a goal to conquer all there is to hiking Spokane.

We’ve no shortage of great hikes around here, whether it’s inside city limits, nearby or within a few hours distance.

Therefore, when I learned of our topic for this week’s pet photographers blog circle, my mind quickly went to my favorite hobby.

What is your favorite book?

Yeah, I could have gone with something fantasy-wise, since my favorite book when I was growing up was Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

I could have gone with something more convoluted and conceptual, because my favorite book as a grownup (ha ha, grownup) has been Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Or I could have gone with something macabre. A recent favorite read was Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas, the book that inspired the Netflix series, Mindhunter.

All of those would have required more complex setups, maybe props, indoor-type stuff. Probably a lot of Photoshop, too.

Except my style as a dog photographer is to showcase the gorgeous landscapes we have in the Spokane area.

Thus, my favorite book—rather, books— these days are guides to hiking Spokane.

hiking Spokane guide books

Highlights of hiking Spokane

Remember those Best-laid plans I always seem to run into?

I had every intention to head out to Dishman Hills and get some updated images so I could have some fresh content for you. (I do, just nothing to do with hiking Spokane! More like Oregon beaches and more specially abled dogs You’re just going to have to wait … or follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

We have rain in the forecast all day today, the one day I set aside this week to get in an urban hike close to home.

Alack and alas, it is not to be. And if you look at our forecast for this weekend, we might be snowshoeing soon instead of hiking!

Instead, I’ll show you some highlights of Hiking Spokane Summer 2019 … kind of like those reports we had to do in school, How I spent my summer vacation.

Mirabeau Park

This is one of our favorite places to go when we want a quick, close-to-home walk in the woods. < ahref=”https://nosesandtoes.com/?s=mirabeau+park” target=_blank”>Mirabeau Park in Spokane Valley may not qualify as a “hike” but when you have a 100-pound Maremma sheepdog dragging you off trail and into the back section, it’s as close as you can get.

It’s also one of my favorite places to book sessions for your dog photos.

One moment, you’re in a big greenspace near the picnic shelter and, the next, you’re hoofing it up a steep hill to get to some good rock-climbing spots. All the while, I spy cool rocks to perch on with your pooch and, in the spring, gorgeous blankets of wildflowers.

white dog sits on a rock at mirabeau park in spokane valley
At Mirabeau Park

The waterfalls (where I got married almost five years ago) is always a go-to spot and, right across the road, Bella gets to cool off in the Spokane River.

maremma sheepdog in spokane river
Spokane River

Saltese Uplands

I first discovered the hiking trails at Saltese when Shep was still around. He was an old man, though, and we didn’t get too far on the trails.

Now with a super energetic five-year-old, I can go all over hell and beyond. Saltese is easy to access with the parking lot just off Henry Road.

With a few different easy trails, it’s well trafficked with people.

And mountain bikers. Keep your head up, your ears open and your dog on a short leash when you’re going over some of the little blind crests.

Otherwise, it’s pretty wide open and you can find yourself walking in the wind a bit.

maremma sheepdog on a rock
My goofy girl in the wind

At the top, you are rewarded with a terrific view of Liberty Lake.

bella with a view of liberty lake
The view of Liberty Lake from the top

And on the way back to your car, another view of Spokane Valley.

view of spokane valley
A view of Spokane Valley

Rocks of Sharon

This hike in the Dishman Hills Conservancy Area is one of my favorites.

On our most recent trip, we made it to the top of the rocks in 25 minutes. Trails wind into the woods and further into the Conservancy.

I’ve never taken them.

The views of the Palouse are too good to ever leave behind for anything but to go home and process my images.

Bella and I did the Rocks twice this year, once in the spring and once last month to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Shep leaving my world.

I was on a mission to test my new off-camera flash skills at sunrise, too.

bella hiking rocks of Sharon at sunrise

sunrise at rocks of Sharon
Sunrise at the Rocks of Sharon

Liberty Lake

Oh, here’s the fun one.

About a month ago, I said, “Hey, Bella, I think it’s time to venture onto the Liberty Lake loop!”

Technically, it’s the Liberty Creek Loop. Not important, I know.

I wanted to test a new gear thingy, a handheld mount for my off-camera flash and eight-inch reflector that my husband built to make hiking lighter and easier (no tripod!).

Bella and I stopped for a cute natural light image on a little bridge.

dog hiking at liberty lake
On the Liberty Creek trail

About two miles in, we came upon an outlet onto the creek. Bella wanted a drink, even though I was carrying enough water for both of us. She’s a natural woman apparently.

While she was taking her initial laps, I set up my flash and got my camera ready. I posed her and fired off two, maybe three shots, before she lost her patience. She pulled away and went back into the creek.

Only this time, she went over a rotting log and stirred up a hornet’s nest. No, really. Not a figurative hornets nest where she just found some trouble and got tangled.

No, she stirred up an actual hornets nest and got her leash tangled while she was snapping away the stinging pests.

I had no choice but to go in and try to free her. Then I got attacked.

I imagine it was a sight for anyone who might have passed by. All at the same time, I’m pulling at Bella’s leash while she’s panicking, gathering up my camera gear, slapping away hornets taking their pound of flesh and yelping “ow, ow, ow,ow.”

I returned home with maybe 12 to 15 stings and a moderately severe allergic reaction. Luckily, I don’t go into anapylactic shock but the itching and swelling only subsided a few days ago.

At least I got this:

bella at liberty creek
At Liberty Creek

Needless to say, we promptly went back to the car and drove home rather than attempting the full 8.5-mile loop.

It’s definitely on the list to complete.

All around the circle

We’ve only scratched the surface if we want to conquer hiking Spokane. There are untold adventures to be found all over this area and I can’t wait to keep digging into those books.

As long as heavy snow holds off. Snowshoeing is hard!

Now we get to see what other dog photographers love reading. Let’s start with Shae Pepper and Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography, presented by Shae Pepper Photography. Read her post, then click the link at the bottom to get to the next one.

Travel through the circle and when you land back here, you’re home.

Right where you belong.

    1 comment

  • Elaine
    September 29, 2019
    Reply

    Bella is so lucky to have all these great places to hike with you! I love hiking too.

  • Leave a comment

Total: