Settling Into Stanzas: Dog days of June on Gold Hill Trail No. 79 in Breckenridge
Rupert Brooke’s “The Little Dog’s Day”
All in the town were still asleep,
When the sun came up with a shout and a leap.
In the lonely streets unseen by man,
A little dog danced. And the day began.
All his life he’d been good, as far as he could,
And the poor little beast had done all that he should.
But this morning he swore, by Odin and Thor
And the Canine Valhalla, he’d stand it no more!
So his prayer he got granted, to do just what he wanted,
Prevented by none, for the space of one day.
“Jam incipiebo, sedere facebo,”
In dog-Latin he quoth, “Euge! sophos! hurray!”
He fought with the he-dogs, and winked at the she-dogs,
A thing that had never been heard of before.
“For the stigma of gluttony, I care not a button!” he
Cried, and ate all he could swallow, and more.
He took sinewy lumps from the shins of old frumps,
And mangled the errand-boys, when he could get ‘em.
He shammed furious rabies, and bit all the babies,
And followed the cats up the trees, and then ate’ em!
They thought ‘twas the devil was holding a revel,
And sent for the parson to drive him away;
For the town never knew such a hullabaloo
As that little dog raised, till the end of that day.
When the blood-red sun had gone burning down,
And the lights were lit in the little town,
Outside, in the gloom of the twilight grey,
The little dog died when he’d had his day.
I smile every time I read this poem. Is there a better way for a dog to spend its last day?
Rupert Brooke gave the Little Dog a big personality: not only can the dog run, climb, and flirt — he can also quote Norse mythology and Latin.
Dog Latin, that is.
“Jam incipiebo, sedere facebo,” is not exactly grammatically correct. It translates in Latin – roughly – to, “Now I will begin, to sit I will do.”
Dog Latin is a little bit like Spanglish: some Latin, some English and some improvisation. With a little imagination, the quote translates in Dog Latin to “Now that we’re off, I’ll make them sit up.”
Gold Hill Trail
Townsfolk will definitely sit up if you let your own dog run wild down Main Street Frisco or Breckenridge. A better place to let your dog bound around off-leash is Gold Hill Trail No. 79.
Gold Hill lies at the base of the Tenmile Range between Breckenridge and Farmer’s Corner.
In 1988, the forest service clear-cut parts of Gold Hill in order to improve the health and diversity of the lodgepole pine there. This makes Gold Hill a great trail for walking your dog. With few trees for concealment, it’s hard to be caught off guard. Also, there is plenty of room for approaching parties to maneuver as they scope each other out.
Summit County leash laws are a patchwork of city, county, national forest and national wilderness guidelines. Gold Hill Trail No. 79 happens to lie within national forest boundaries but outside of municipal and national wilderness areas. Dogs must be under the control of their owners, but a leash is not required.
The fastest route to the trailhead from Interstate 70 is to take Exit 203 south past Frisco onto Highway 9. Travel past construction to Farmer’s Corner and continue on Highway 9 another two miles until you reach Gateway Drive. Turn right onto Gateway and the trailhead is immediately on the left.
Gold Hill Trail No. 79 is three miles one way. It is a consistently moderate climb, making it accessible to a wide variety of hikers. The trail ends when it intersects with Peaks Trail No. 45. At this point, if you would like to continue hiking there are plenty of options to choose from:
Turn right at the junction and head north for 3.5 miles to Frisco.
Turn left and head south for 6.5 miles to Breckenridge.
For an extended expedition, turn left and link up with the Wheeler National Recreation Trail No. 39. This trail will take you on a high-alpine climb over the Tenmile Range to Copper Mountain.
The return from Breckenridge, Frisco and Copper is simple: hike back the way you came or hop on the Summit Stage (keep in mind that pets are restricted on the bus). The Revette Drive stop on the main line from Frisco to Breckenridge is the closest bus stop to the Gold Hill Trailhead.
If you choose the out-and-back option, look out for a handmade wooden swinging chair on your way back, located about a mile from the trailhead. When you find it, let your dog have its day while you relax and enjoy the poetry of Rupert Brooke.
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