Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mountain hounds

I finally took my mountain themed hounds to the mountains! I've been wanting to get them out hiking in the Rockies since we moved here last summer, but coordinating agility trials, work schedule, and vacation time is not easy. Finally we decided to just make a weekend trip, and since Kili is on an agility break we only had to find a weekend I wasn't working. We had planned to go the weekend before, but elected not to when the weather forcasted rain all weekend long.

Jasper is the closest option at about 3.5 hours away. We booked a campsite and left the rabbits and foster dog with a housesitter, and off we went, arriving late on Friday night. Boy was it cold! The day time highs were in the low to mid 20s, but the evenings went down to about 4 degrees, and that first night may have been closer to freezing. Summit snuggled into his bed with his fleece PJs, Back on Track coat, and a blanket and seemed perfectly happy all night. Kili on the other hand had slightly lighter gear (her jammies are jersey cotton and her Back on Track coat is the mesh version) so she snuggled into the sleeping bag with us to stay warm (and boy were we glad to have an extra body in there with us that first night!).

Summit camped like an old pro, even though he hasn't been since 5 years ago. He's just such a good boy. He takes everything in stride and stays out of trouble. Kili was a small nightmare who couldn't keep still, and wanted to be into everything. The problem is that these campsites are reasonably busy, and to top it off there is always the potential for wildlife to come strolling through. We didn't end up having any visitors, but we saw plenty of elk in populated places (in the town of Jasper, at a popular picnic site, all over the side of the roads) and they can be really aggressive towards dogs, so dogs are supposed to be on leash at all times. Summit I wouldn't worry much about as he doesn't wander and doesn't chase wildlife... but miss Kili sure would think about it if given half a chance! Thank goodness for long lines and x-pens to make life manageable!

Campsite set up!

Jammies for warmth (and style)!
We got very lucky with the weather during the day, even if the nights were a little cold. The first day in particular was absolutely beautiful - clear blue skies and low 20s. The second day started out similar but then in the late morning it started to haze over. It wasn't exactly cloudy - it seemed almost smokey and so likely the wind shifted and blew smoke in from a forest fire. Still, it was mid 20s and the mountain air is so cool and fresh!

Hazy second day.


 Sadly this trip confirmed my suspicion that this would be Summit's last camping trip. He is 10.5 years old now, and while he camped like a pro and handled the overnight cold well, it became clear that he is no longer able to handle the long hikes. If we knew there would be no major hiking, I will consider bringing him in future, but the reality is that I like to go for at least half day hikes when we camp. Although he did pretty well for the majority of both days, he did start to struggle on the last 1.5 km on the last day (about a 10 km/4 hr hike total). We made sure to stop frequently for water and nourishment, and we stopped at every lake to let him go in to cool himself. I even put his winter boots on his back feet to help cushion the corn on his right hind. But the reality that we need to face is that he's a senior now and, although he's doing really well for his age, he is starting to slow down. It's time to scale back what he does, and sadly that means most likely staying home with the bunnies on these excursions. It made the trip a little bittersweet. I very much enjoyed my last camping trip with Summit, and I'm glad I got him out into the mountains. After all, he started the mountain theme and he is the original Apex Agility Greyhound.


Milo and Jet said...

Sounds like you all had a fun camping trip. We bet there where many new smells to sniff out and lots of new sights to explore :) Milo & Jet

Linda said...

Beautiful photos, lovely dogs! :)