Scott Brown was leading an expedition to a local beauty spot in Washington state when he noticed a dog ahead on the trail. The animal promptly started following the group as they continued on their hike. Then, when Brown finally checked the canine’s collar, he suddenly realized why.
For over five years, Brown has called Seattle, WA, home. However, while he may be a city boy, his heart is in the great outdoors. Luckily then, Brown finds plenty of opportunities to return to nature, particularly through his involvement with the group Recovery Beyond Paradigm.
Since early 2017, Recovery Beyond Paradigm has been helping people struggling with homelessness and substance addiction through their recovery process. To do so, the non-profit group adopts what it calls “unconventional” methods, which includes offering hiking training.
In April 2018 Brown and his partner Get Naka were leading a group through a trail in Teneriffe Falls, WA. The trek was about five-and-a-half miles in length, with an elevation gain of 1,585 feet. And according to the Washington Trails Association website, it could be classified as a moderate yet challenging hike.
With that in mind, an experienced walker like Brown no doubt expected the hike to go without a hitch. And things got off to a particularly promising start when the group noticed an adorable dog standing in the middle of the trail.
The black hound was standing near a parking area by the trail entrance and appeared to be greeting hikers before they embarked on their walk. So, Brown and his gang concluded that the dog must belong to one of the households in the adjacent neighborhood.
As a result, Brown didn’t think too much about the dog’s presence, except to comment on its cuteness. “I made a joke to my wife that it was a bear,” Brown revealed to The Dodo in April 2018. But after that seemingly unimportant exchange, the group left the dog and continued towards the falls.
However, as the gang set off on their ramble, it became evident that the pooch had taken a liking to them. Consequently, it decided to join them as they made their way up the trail. And quite frankly, it seemed to have just as good an idea of where the group was headed as they did.
Recalling the unusual experience, Brown explained, “He took the lead anywhere from a couple feet, to way out in front, out of sight.” The dog didn’t seem unduly bothered by the group’s leisurely pace, either, “He would sit and wait for us as we took photos and then continue on when we did,” Brown added.
Luckily, having another addition to his group didn’t bother Brown in the slightest. After a while, the hike leader just resigned himself to the fact the dog was in it for the long haul. “Well, I guess he’s coming with us,” he said.
The canine happily followed the group all the way to the waterfall. And, once they’d arrived at their destination, Brown celebrated their achievement by snapping a few selfies with the dog. Now, there was no way he’d forget his new barking buddy.
However, as they posed together, Brown realized that he knew little about his four-legged friend. So, he decided to do some investigating. After all, there was a chance that the animal had strayed and was simply following them in the hope of receiving some food.
Luckily, though, the dog was wearing a tag that explained exactly what he was all about. And it turned out that the pooch wasn’t missing at all. In fact, he had a loving owner that understood their pet’s sheer love of adventure.
The front of the tag read, “Hi, I’m Smokey. I live nearby so please don’t take me. I like to follow hikers sometimes.” And on the back, another line added, “Don’t worry, I’ll go home when I get tired. My people love me a lot. Thanks for being nice!”
It was then that Brown likely realized that he and his group were the most blessed people on the trail that day. It was a complete honor that Smokey had chosen them as his hiking team for the day. “Coolest thing ever,” Brown gushed to ABC News in April 2018.
Later, Brown revealed that Smokey had been a pretty perfect hiking partner. In fact, the dog had only barked at one particularly treacherous point on the trail, a part that led walkers across an icy creek. “He seemed very protective for someone he just met,” Brown remarked.
Once Brown and his group had taken in the falls, they started to make their way back down the trail. And once again, Smokey was there every step of the way. In fact, he followed them right the way back to the parking lot, and waited there while they changed back into their normal clothes.
Then, as easily as he had joined the gang, Smokey left them once more. “He stayed in the lot until we were all changing near our cars and he calmly walked across the road and back into the neighborhood,” Brown revealed to The Dodo.
Brown watched the dog move towards the houses until he was almost out of sight. Then, just before he disappeared Smokey seemed to say his farewells. “At the corner, he gave out a quick bark at us then continued on back home, I assume,” the hiker said.
Needless to say, Brown probably won’t forget his encounter with Smokey anytime soon. However, while his was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of meeting, it will probably not be the dog’s last excursion to the falls, which is good news for hikers and animal lovers alike.