Monday, June 17, 2013

Glen Highland Farm

Jonah, Nika, Dave and I just got back from a wonderful trip to Glen Highland Farm (GHF) in upstate NY.

GHF is a gorgeous, 175 acre farm in the quaint country town of Morris, NY.  It is home to a fantastic border collie recue operation that places over 200 BCs each year.  We got a tour of the facility and met some of the dogs.  They're beautiful, lovely dogs and GHF gives them plenty of space to run and care to blossom until they find their forever homes.


 Vacationing at the farm helps offset the (obviously huge) costs of the rescue program, and it's a great place to relax with your dog.  The leash-free property includes 5 miles of trails through beautiful rolling country fields, lush mossy forests, along a meandering river, and through a shady hemlock grove.  There's a pond for swimming (great for dogs, but Dave and I passed despite bringing our wetsuits) and plenty of space for ball/frisbee chasing.

There were several lodging options: tents (which we chose), cabins and luxury RVs.  Our tent was huge, including a full size futon, a bookshelf and a small table.  There was plenty of space for all our gear, 2 crates, and 2 bikes.  There were bathrooms and a nice shower about 100 yards down the trail.

Another highlight was the dining pavilion, with gas grills, a wood-burning grill, and then a microwave, toaster and all the dishes and supplies you could possibly need.  There was a pantry with refrigerators.  We went pretty basic with our cooking, but we didn't have to!  Other people made flambeed steaks, sizzling bacon, mouth watering salmon and fresh grilled corn.  Yum!

I pulled into the farm with very high expectations, and for the most part it lived up to them.  They'd gotten a lot of rain, so a bunch of the trails were closed when we arrived, although for the most part they reopened before we left.  The trails themselves are fantastic, although you get through them pretty fast if you're running like we were.  Anyway, they were nice enough that we weren't at all complaining to retrace our tracks.

Dave and I each went out road biking and it was awesome.  There are some sizable hills, and the scenery is beautiful if you like farm country even 1/4 as much as I do.  There was hardly any traffic on the country roads.

I had been very excited to go on an agility vacation.  Their website says, "Our agility equipment is available for use anytime during your stay. With 2 complete courses of obstacles, you can practice any aspect of the sport you like and use each day to build greater skills or just have fun challenging both you and your dog." Well, they did have a huge field big enough for two courses (albeit not entirely flat), but all that was there was an A-frame (a nice max 200), an AKC tire (also max 200), 2 aluminum jumps, a tunnel, a 16" table, 6 weave poles that appeared to be 22", and a teacup dogwalk.  I'd planned on setting up some international courses and working through sections each day, but needless to say we had to change our plans.  I did get some great sessions in with each dog, but it was nothing I wouldn't have been able to do at home.

Overall, the dogs had a fabulous time.  They met new dogs and people, ran a LOT, swam, chased swallows in the field, chased deer, chased each other, caught a woodchuck, got snapped at by a snapping turtle, and slept well at night.

For us, when we think camping we think wilderness backpacking miles away from other people.  This wasn't that.  If you're used to campgrounds, though, this would have been awesome:  the bathrooms were great, the dining pavilion unmatched, and 175 acres of off-leash adventures to share with only about 20 people.  All the dogs and people were great, too.  It was spread out enough that it wasn't loud, but if you were moving around the property you'd bump into people regularly.  We kept reminding ourselves that the more people there were, the more support for the rescue program, which we definitely want to support!

So, it was a great trip.  I would definitely recommend it!

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