Kim and I decided to head to the Uintas for a day hike. Our go-to guide for local day hikes listed Fehr Lake Trail as a short, easy hike, which was perfect for the amount of time and energy we had that day. You can find more about the trail here. This entry is more about the lessons learned from this trip, mostly related to taking my dogs with us.
I don’t often take my dogs hiking with me because I’d really rather be able to just relax and enjoy the experience. Taking one not particularly kid friendly dog and another shy, injury prone dog on a hike doesn’t lend itself to relaxation. But our hike would be short and the elevation gain would be minimal, so I figured I’d treat them to a little bit of the great outdoors.
Canine Lessons Learned
- You probably try to avoid that muddy patch. Your dog doesn’t. In fact, your dog might want to step knee deep into that muddy patch, stick their nose in it, and splash around in it.
- Bring towels for wiping your dogs down, and bring something to cover your car seats (see above). I had no towels. Luckily, though I didn’t bring a blanket specifically for this purpose, I had one that covered part of the trunk. Pro-tip – if you don’t have an all weather mat for the cargo area of your hatchback, you might be able to just flip the trunk carpet over so that the dogs lay on the plastic / rubber side.
- Dole out post-hike food slowly, unless you want to see it again shortly. Jack doesn’t normally gobble up his food. He doesn’t normally throw up his food. Luckily, the blanket (see above) caught it…mostly.
- If you use e-collars to refocus your dogs’ attention, and the rechargeable batteries in the collars need to be replaced, don’t wait for an off leash hike to discover that they are completely dead.
- Don’t forget training treats for reinforcing good behavior.
- If there’s water on the trail, dogs will drink it. Depending on the quality of the water, this might need to be avoided. Bring water for them. Collapsable bowls are awesome.
- Your dog’s on leash and off leash behavior will not magically improve just because you’re on a trail rather than a sidewalk.
Human Lessons Learned
- Make sure everyone has the right footwear. Flip flops on a trail that has a thin layer of mud over rocks – on a slope – is a recipe for a bruised bottom.
- Even under the best of conditions, if you’re hiking your dog on leash because there are small children on the trail, the dog may put tension on the leash at the wrong time while hiking over a thin layer of mud over rocks on a slope. This may exacerbate the problem of wearing flip flops in those conditions.
- Know what you want out of the hike and plan accordingly; however, misadventures can be more fun than adventures.
Now go out there and have some misadventures (but stay safe).