Dog Mountain Road Trip – Day Four (June 2, 2022)

Today’s the day the others were leading up to . This morning at 10:00 AM, Sweet Potato and I arrived at Dog Mountain.

Artist Stephen Huneck made a name for himself with woodcutting artwork featuring dogs. After a serious illness, he had a vision to build a “Dog Chapel” as “a place where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs.” When he and his wife passed away, their family and friends turned created the Friends of Dog Mountain organization to preserve the land as a place where people can bring their dogs.

That’s where Sweet Potato and I spent our day.

Dog at the Dog Mountain entranceway.

Dog Mountain has three main attractions:

  • The Stephen Huneck Art Gallery, where you can purchase his artwork.
  • The Dog Chapel, described as “a symbol of peace, love, and remembrance.”
  • Hiking trails, where you can enjoy hiking with your four-legged friend

There are also picnic areas, a dog agility course, and an “Angel Dog Scenic Overlook.”

Sweet Potato and I made a quick visit to the art gallery and made a small donation to help support the enterprise, from there, we headed over to the Dog Chapel.

The Dog Chapel is a small two room affair. The main room has four pews, stained-glass windows, and a cadre of wood-carving dogs at the front. The stained glass window at the front features an “Angel dog”, the other windows, three on each side, feature a dog from one of Huneck’s art pieces, and a single word naming an attribute of what dogs bring their owners.

It’s a non-denominational affair (“All Creeds, All Breeds, No Dogmas Allowed”). It’s a sacred place for a dog owner.

The walls of the chapel are adorned with photos of beloved dogs and notes their owners have left. Along with Sweet Potato, I was also traveling with the memories of three other dogs. Fonzi, the dog I shared with my brothers. Wylie, the first to become my dog. And Maxtla, the first dog Amy and I got together.

I have no photos of Fonzi, but I left photos of Wylie and Maxtla, plus one of Sweet Potato to be added to the collection.

After our visit to the Dog Chapel, Sweet Potato and I headed out on the hiking trails. I allowed Sweet Potato to choose our adventure.

There are three main trails running around the property. The blue trail is the easiest one, and is the most directly accessible. We completed about 95% of that trail before coming across one of the entrances to the yellow loop.

The yellow trail looks to be about twice as long as the blue one, it’s an intermediate difficulty trail. As soon as we encountered it, Sweet Potato immediately turned and off we went.

About halfway around the yellow trail, there’s a turn where you can go onto the red trail. This is the most difficult of the three and goes over the top of the hill, connecting two parts of the yellow trail. I thank Sweet Potato for her consideration in choosing to stay on the yellow trail.

A recurring motif in the art and on the spires atop the various buildings was the presence of an “angel dog,” reminding viewers of our lost friends.

After spending the morning and the first part of the afternoon visiting Dog Mountain (and making a couple purchase at the gallery), Sweet Potato and I headed out to explore more of area.

On Wednesday, we hiked a few miles on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, starting in St. Johnsbury and heading toward Danville. So today, we headed toward Danville to explore the other end of the trail. (Eventually it will cross the state, but for now, it only runs 15 miles between those two towns.)

We found a parking spot at the Joe’s Pond Beach and as luck would have it, found the end of the trail right about the same time we were ready to head back to the hotel for the evening.