Monday, October 4, 2010

Canine Camping Trip

I grew up going camping. Pretty much all of our family vacations involved camping, plus many short weekend trips.
As a young adult, I went camping with the Singles wards. Then later, we had our "all ladies" camping trips.
So I am not a stranger to camping. Still It had been a while since I had really gone tent camping in a campground. I had gotten rid of a lot of camping stuff. Then over the last year or so, I had accumlated some equipment again. I had a small tent that I had never put up. I started thinking maybe I would try a little camping trip.

In addition, I always felt guilty leaving my dogs behind when I would go do things. It's hard to have dogs with you all the time. It inhibits what you can do. Plus my dogs aren't exactly back woods dogs. I call them wussy city dogs. So evolved the Canine camping trip. I didn't really seek out anyone to go with me. I wasn't sure how much of a pain my dogs would be to someone else, plus my tent was really big enough for me, my dogs and another person. I wouldn't have turned someone down if they really wanted to go though. No one really seemed to. So then, my first, completely SOLO camping trip and Canine camping trip.
I chose a campground up near Mormon Lake by Flagstaff, thinking it would be cool and have pine trees. It was also a little farther away than I thought. Flagstaff is about 2 hours, it takes about 3 hours to get to the Mormon Lake area.
It felt like I was taking so much stuff. When you have it all piled up, it looks like a lot. Plus a VW sedan, isn't actually equipped to give you a lot of space for camping equipment, plus room for the dogs to ride in the back seat.
Dobbie does fine in the car. He gets in, lies down and doesn't move. Winston on the other hand, has always had some car anxiety. He likes to go, because he thinks he is going to the dog park. This was a really long ride to the dog park. And he won't sit down and relax. He stood and shook, shivered and panted the whole way. He was really thirsty when we got there.
I was able to get the tent up by myself without too much trouble. Thank good ness it was small for that reason. When I got all the stuff out of the car, I realized I really didn't have that much stuff. It was just a small car. I just had what I needed.

It was dusk and I took the dogs for a walk. They always have to be on a leash in the campground. Dobbie has never gone to the bathroom on a leash. I was worried about that. We left the campground on a trail and after I felt we wouldn't be detected, I let them off leash. I was worried, because other than the dog park, they really hadn't been off leash like that. I was hoping they wouldn't run off. They surprized me! Dobbie was pretty much always at my side. This is what he looked like most of the time, right next to me. Winston liked to think he was the leader of the pack and was always out front around 25 feet or so. But he would come back when I called him and let me put him on leash. We had a little fire, lots of bugs and so went to bed early. Not too cold, not too hot. We did fine that first night. Hearl LOTS of coyotes howling and elk bugleing. All night. That made me a little nervous about taking the dogs off leash, coyote snack.

The dogs never barked. They were perfectly good. We went for a longer hike in the morning. Here is the view I enjoyed up Mormon Mountain. And the dogs were off leash the whole time.
When I was in camp, I put the dogs in my old portable dog show pen. This is chateau de canine.

And I even learned how to use the video part of my camera that I had never used. Here is a small clip of the dogs hiking with me. I had sat down for a minute and Dobbie is off with Winston instead of being next to me. Winston would let the end of his tail drag in the dust as he lead the pack. Pretty funny. But he kept a close eye on me and didn't get too far away. I was proud of him. By the second morning though, I was done. Done being dirty, done sleeping on the ground. Even on an air mattress, my joints were all sore. Done using an outhouse. Done fighting bugs. Done being cold. Done not being able to stand in my tent and having to crawl in and out. I was up at 6:30, packed by 8:30 and on the road by 9! Home by noon and cleaned up by one and tried to take a nap before having to go and work all night. Very exhausted after a 12 hour shift!
An interesting experience. I don't know when I'll go back. The dogs did fine, really. And I think I am more inclined to bring them hiking now. I think I might need a taller tent to go again, but then I would need to go with someone to help me put it up. We'll see...


Cynthia said...

oh, I'm glad the dogs did so well. You sounded a little nervous not know how they would do. They seemed to have enjoyed it, except for the long car ride. How did you do at work? Able to stay awake?

bandanamomtoo said...

It's always interesting to see how dogs react to a new thing like this. The first time we took Tanner on a ward camp out (this was when he was still young) we were surprised that he ran towards the lake and just jumped in and played around in the water - he hates water normally and has never attempted to get in the pool at home, but for some reason he just ran into that lake without any hesitation! It was weird. I think I could take Skye fine, she follows us everywhere. I've learned there is an advantage to having a herding type of dog, they never leave your side. I wouldn't trust Scout. She might be fine, but she's a runner. Tanner is too old now. But your experience camping is kind of why I never really want to go camping. We camped tons as kids with my parents but it's just not very appealing to me as an adult. I'm too spoiled by comfort I think. :)

Mother said...

Sue, you probably remember why, when your sister turned 13, I declared my independence from camping. All the chores of home and NO amenities. Maybe you understand now why I so disliked it! Mom

Guy said...

Yahoo!!! and how did the dogs express their gratification after the trip to Disneyland? My dogs, via body language are ecstatic the whole time they are out sniffing and hunting the great outdoors. They are never ready to come back unless we go on a HUGE hike which we rarely do.