Monday, October 12, 2020

Puppy Wrangling

 I nervously headed up the trail with two excited dogs. I had done day hikes and runs with Spruce, but always overnight there had been another responsible adult along. There are a lot of things to worry about with dogs. Will they encounter a bear? Will they bother other hikers? Will they tear the tent?

Speaking of tents, this was also the maiden voyage of my new tent. I had divested myself of a couple of tents earlier, so it wasn't as though I had too many tents anymore--ahem, four--but none of them would reasonably fit me and two dogs. Because the tent had to be light, I had plunked down a lot of money for a really nice one. Yes, I bought a tent for my dogs.

Happily, there were no hunter vehicles parked at the trailhead, so I abandoned my Mount Howard plan A and headed up McCully Basin. This hike is much better for a run than for a backpacking trip; it drearily climbs through the trees with no views. Even when you break out into the top of the basin, you have to trudge fairly high to get outstanding scenery. I admit to being a little spoiled. 

But for a quick overnight hike, commencing as soon as I could reasonably dash away from my Zoom workshop (3 pm), it would have to do. The trail was empty and cold, reminding me that even to be able to do this in October was a gift. Many times, a September snow dump shuts the mountains down.

A wall tent was pitched near the water crossing, but no hunters appeared. Climbing higher, I found a spot that would work; it was only about seven miles but  I knew that  night was coming



The dogs ran around chasing each other, entranced with the spot even if I wasn't. I stared grimly at the wet, dirty messes that emerged from the nearby creek. Well, tents were made to be used, weren't they?

Both dogs ran into the tent, not realizing that they would be trapped in there for almost twelve hours. This is what shuts down backpacking more than anything, the sheer boredom of sitting in a tent for what feels like forever. I will have to reluctantly return to day hikes.

An old hand, Ruby quickly settled at my feet and fell asleep.  Not so the puppy. His large ears perked up, he listened intently (pro tip: if you put the rain fly on, dogs can't see out and are usually much more content). Soon, though, Spruce lay by my side and didn't stir until the morning.

You can't sleep in with dogs in the tent. Once I woke up, they were ready to go. We climbed toward the pass, wanting to get a glimpse of sunrise. I could see down into Silver Basin and over toward the wild Nebo country. It seemed like we were the only creatures left on the planet.

On the way out, the dogs stayed behind me, unlike their happy bounding on the way in. I figured that, like me, they were reluctant to go home. They wouldn't mind staying in the mountains forever.

Back in the yard, not very happy.


14 comments:

  1. I just grinned the whole way through the post! Yes we would also buy a tent just for dogs! (We are looking at new tents and Jason has been wanting a dog...maybe I better have him up the size of the tent in preparation!). I even grinned at the mud....it’s always so heart breaking to get new gear dirty! I know that this gear is supposed to be dirty and used but ...human nature! Once I get the first scuff...first speck of dirt in ok and then I’m all in and not worried about Them anymore!!’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dogs definitely up your hiking game in terms of complexity but it gets me out for walks when I really don't feel like it. They are holy terrors without exercise.

      Delete
  2. I had forgotten about Spruce!
    We are getting a Vizsla puppy in less than 2 weeks.
    It's been over a decade since we had a puppy, and 4 years since we had a pet at all.
    I'm definitely not ready, but R really wants a dog again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I'm surprised! But it helps to have two people, so now that you are in the same place it will be easier. I want to see pictures!

      Delete
  3. Look at you becoming a dog person. Before Ruby wasn't long ago. Since you do so much solo I'm sure it's fun having pals, even if they are the 4 legged variety and they create more work/mess. Cheers to October backpacking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still love my kitties. But they can't hike with me. Although I guess some cats do, one completed the PCT!

      Delete
  4. Lovely images. What a shame that you have to be alert for hunters. Not a problem here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't have hunters? Interesting. I try to be tolerant but it definitely makes me worry when I have dogs with me.

      Delete
    2. Very few people are allowed gun licenses and our laws strictly control their use.

      Delete
  5. Your dogs are so cute! I miss hiking with a dog. Thinking seriously of adopting one once I retire. (Which will be December 31st! Yeah!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, you get to retire so young. I am so jealous! Definitely get a doggie.

      Delete
  6. You got a couple of good looking dogs, I'm sure you have a good time no matter what you do. The tent pictured is the one you stayed in? What brand is it and how big? I don't worry about bears hiking or camping. My Karelian Bear dog Spots loves chasing bears. He's protected me 3 times from bears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a Big Agnes Tiger Wall. Supposed to be a three person but not sure I would want three adults in there. 2 lbs 15 oz though. Pretty light for how big it is.

      Delete
  7. Your dogs are adorable! I am a newbie hiker and I just found your blog!😊

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!