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Where: 2 hour drive from DC. This hike is a shorter and easier version of The Browns Hollow hike. The Emerald Pond (http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/EmeraldPond/) out and back has 2 great features: Emerald Pond, with its spring fed swimming hole nestled in a small hollow off the Bird Knob Trail. The water has exceptional clarity, and in the summer months is surprisingly warm for a mountain pond. There is also a spectacular vista to the west of New Market from the Massanutten South Trail. I am going to change the hike to an out and back to Emerald Pond, avoiding the potential cars along the forest road. Find more hike details and reviews go here: http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/EmeraldPond/ Trail Type: Out and back Distance: 7.5 miles Difficulty: Very Hard: Trips may be labeled Hard due to steep and uneven terrain or to very long distances or a combination of all three. Hard hikes are recommended for experienced hikers, both human and canine, who are in good physical condition. (see our Trail Rating System for more details) Puppies: This hike is not suitable for dogs under a year. If your dog is between 12-18 months I highly recommend checking with your vet before doing a long strenuous hike like this to avoid damaging growth plates. More info can be found here: https://www.meetup.com/activedogs-237/pages/12010432/Puppies/ Leash Restrictions: This is an optional off-leash hike, so please be aware of the policy on Off Leash Dog Activities. You will need to have your leash with you at all times and your dog under voice control. Hiking time: 4.5 hours including breaks. We will meet at the parking area and be ready to hike at 10am. What to Bring: You should bring appropriate clothing and footwear, poo bags, plenty of water for you and your dog, lunch/snack, and a camera. The area is rocky, so hiking boots are highly recommended. If it's warm enough you can take a dip in the pond on our lunch break. Weather: Will cancel for rain or icy conditions. I will go by the weather forecast on the afternoon before the hike. Cost: I don't charge a fee for the individual hikes, but I highly encourage you to make a yearly contribution to the group here. (https://secure.meetup.com/activedogs-237/contribute/) Thanks for your support!