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Flashy Friday Week 2!

Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Summertime in Oregon - 
especially in the Willamette Valley is beautiful.
But so are the fall months.

Fall is Coming!

Yesterday it was about 92*F where we live, so when  I got off of work I took the pups to the river!

They had tons of fun! But check out the leaves! They're already starting to drop!

Throw the ball mom!
"Eh what's it like where you live?"
We then went to a nearby farm for some fresh veggies for dinner, the dogs of course got to meet the nice lady at the farm stand.

We're thankful for the beautiful weather we've had, and for fall which we love!

What's your favorite part of fall-time?, Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop, pet centricB&B3b_Fotor

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Picture Worth a 1000 Words.

Negative Mom, I'm not getting up.

He's been doing lots of sleeping since our Sisters Hike. Can you blame him? Check out our story!

South Sister Hike Pt. 1

South Sister Hike Pt. 2


Summit Pt. 2 South Sister, Oregon

True Summit - Part 2

Check out part 1 of our trip HERE

South Sister is a b!&*$

We took a really long break at the False Summit, which Dante appreciated. I removed his pack and checked him over for injuries, shook out his socks (socks were a must for this trip!), looked at his feet, and he happily just laid in the shade. Dante got lots of compliments, everyone loved his shoes and many people enjoyed saying hi to him. It helps that he's such a good boy! 

Their was a little bit of whining involved when he saw another dog playing in the glacier water with her person. He really loves water! I tried explaining to him that she was some sort of wire-haired water breed and that he just doesn't have the body fat or hair to support him in that water! Brrr....makes me cold just thinking about it!

Lunch break!

Looking up is a little bit daunting...
Can you see how tiny the people are? The trail is a small one person wide, or one person and a dog wide (in my case). For every 2 steps forward, you slide another step backwards because you're walking on loose lava rocks.

Another good reason Dante was wearing shoes! These rocks will slice up your feet, although some people just don't seem to care...we saw dogs with shoes, dogs with no shoes, and some idiot in flip flops!

On the right side of the trail is the glacier and a huge crevice you don't want to fall into, and on the left is a steep lava rock slope.

The trail itself winds and snakes its way back and forth going up to the summit.

From the False Summit it's an average time of 2 hours to get to the top.

Beatiful view!

Here we are! Working our way up! I know it doesn't look like we went far...having not done a hike with this altitude we were taking it slow to avoid altitude sickness. And the thin air makes you a bit short of breath if you aren't conditioned to it.

Here is us looking down on the False Summit.

See? We are making progress! Kinda...

Here is a view of the glacier with Broken Top in the background!
Broken Top
Sorry dude...still a ways to get to the top..

Crevice, don't fall!!

It's very steep, sometimes Dante would make me nervous - he seemed to like looking over the edge!

See all the people!
Dante did great with all the people, we did run into a grumpy dog. Thankfully he was on leash, but he passed us growling and grumbling the whole time. We just moved out the way and gave him plenty of space. 
When passing people I would bring Dante in close and most of the time he'd sit or lay down. He was really tired by this point, so on our way up every time I stopped he'd flop down on the rocks. I felt kind a bad so I did my best to kick any big ones out of the way before he'd lay down.

Our progression up the Mountain was Dante and myself leading with my girlfriend close behind us. We'd get ahead, stop, wait for her to catch up, get ahead, stop, wait...Overall it was a pretty good pace for us.  The rocks were pretty brutal, it helped having a handle on Dante's backpack because I could help move him forward over large rocks and he helped me to not fall most of the day. 

A view of the False Summit.
Such a tired pup! I'm pawsitive those rocks weren't comfy!
It took us just under 2 hours to get to the top! But we made it!!
Here is the first thing we saw - snow! Dante wanted to plop down but the snow held his attention, he loves snow! He likes to use his whole face like a shovel and snort around in it and lick it up.

Praise the snow gods!
This is a frozen lake, and no we were not crazy enough to walk across it like this person. It was thawing around the edges and falling into a frozen lake after what we had accomplished sounded like a very bad way to die. No thanks! We went around the rim.

Look how far we've come!! That's the glacier lake at the False Summit.

Way to go Dante! He's such an amazing hiking buddy!

I was really impressed with how well he did on the way up! I'm sure he thinks we're other explanation for hauling ourselves up a mountain right?

Proudly Surveying the view!
A view of the Valley.
The other two Sister's - there are 3 total.
Broken Top
Official Top!

Yup we're crazy.

Well we were half way through our long day at this point...6 miles of straight up and now we had to go 6 miles back to the car....downhill...

After walking around the whole rim (you may as well see everything once you get up there!) we began our long trek back down the mountain.

Let me be the first to say, lava rocks are not easy to traverse going downhill!

Mostly we slid our way down to the false summit, at one point of this sliding I heard frantic yelling behind us as a bat eared mutt charged down the hill barking his head off, and growling at us! That was just great - and he was off leash. Never mind the whole trail is "leashes required" people just don't follow the rules. We stopped walking/sliding just to make sure his owners got a hold of him, I was prepared to do battle and stand my ground if I had to, no way was I going to let this dog hurt my boy who had been friendly to everyone he met and had worked so hard this whole trip.  With that episode over without incident thankfully we continued.

Back at the False Summit we decided to try a different trail down the False Summit - it had larger boulders our theory was that it would be easier to hold onto things.

That's when the chipmunks came out....everywhere! Now I'm not scared of chipmunks but I certainly didn't want Dante to do anything stupid that would make me fall and thus tumble to the bottom.  Good thing we practice at home, he had a really hard time ignoring the chipmunks - in fact he didn't entirely ignore them as well as I would have preferred but he did well enough.

Thankfully his backpack had a handle on it! I had to grab him a couple times where it got particularly steep and he helped me to not fall. I also used it to help lower him in a few areas where it was a big drop for a dog.

Going down!
This picture is fun, I put a red arrow at the 2 mile mark, Lake Moraine is on the left, and if you look carefully you can see the trail winding its way along the cliff line.
The arrow is where the tree line opens up (2 miles into the hike)
Here is another picture where you can see the trail winding its way through the valley.
Still a long ways to go!
What I haven't mentioned yet though is the pain that was setting in...on our way to the top I realized that my boots were a mistake. They were too clunky for the trail and although they were doing a decent job keeping the pumice stone dirt and lava dust out, they were also rubbing holes in the back of my heels! Ouch..even with moleskin on it didn't matter.

On the way down the pain was becoming worse, because now on top of my raw heels I was developing blisters on the inside, outside, and baby toes of both my feet. To make matters even better (sarcasm..) I tripped on a stone down the False Summit and later learned that it broke my big toe nail and bruised that toe!

We were a sorry sight coming down the mountain. My friend and I were mostly just hobbling along, Dante on the other hand was definitely tired but acting like he wasn't hurting to bad.

It's important that you really monitor your dog. They don't complain of pain the way us humans do. In fact they'll tough it out through an injury and end up worse for the wear.

Once we got down the False Summit where the trail (although still down hill) was a bit more level I removed Dante's shoes. He was starting to gimp a little bit on his back foot, on a good note once I removed the shoes and checked his feet he was walking fine again. I think it was all the dust that had accumulated into his shoes.

Their are a few more pictures on my camera, that I might add tonight. But at this point our goal was to just be back at the car before dark.

The last 2 miles being so steep were like hell. We bitched, moaned, groaned, and laughed at ourselves all the way down. Dante was my super star! He really helped me stay on my feet - which were an awful mess. I was cursing my boots the last couple miles, I could barely shuffle my feet they hurt so bad! But we made it!

If we do this trip again new boots will be in order, probably the low profile hiking/trail tennis shoes would work best.

I had to lift Dante into the car, he was so tired he just flopped down on the back seat for the ride back to the house we were staying at. We made one stop for burgers, we deserved it! We at them at the house. Dante ate 3 cups of kibbles for dinner and then I shared half a burger with him - he was a happy spoiled boy! He doesn't normally get junk (human) food.

I washed Dante I the shower with me - I wish I had a picture! He left dirty butt prints on the tiles while I washed him! He was a good sport while I checked him over for injuries.

Dante's Injuries included:  A bruised toe, and the backpack cut him underneath his front leg, ouch!

After the shower we massaged our legs, Dante too! I rubbed coconut oil on his pads (which looked great! No injured feet for him.) and massaged out his legs before bed.

We did it! I'm a proud mama!
We did it! What an accomplishment! Maybe we'll do it again...right now I don't want to think about it. It's day 4 after our hike and i'm still nursing injuries, Dante is moving great but he's still sore from our trip.

If you're considering getting boots for your dog - the Ruffwear Grip Trex boots did a fantastic job (with toddler socks) protecting Dante's feet! He wore them for about 6 miles total!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tips for Hiking with your Dog

Make sure it's a dog friendly trail - call ahead if you have to, sometimes dogs are allowed only on certain trails. Check the terrain, sharp rocks, steep drops, and surfaces that get very hot can hurt your dog's feet.

Build up to longer hikes - dogs need endurance training too!

Bring a first aid kit
Pack bandages, liquid bandage, and an antiseptic (like iodine) for wounds or split/cut paws, depending on your travel also bring along a snake bite/sting kit tweezers usually come in these kits and they work great for removing stingers as well as splinters. Benadryl is also a good thing to have handy in case of a sting (talk to your vet first and know proper dosage before your trip). And pliers... I've heard several scary stories about pups coming into close contact with a porcupine, if you can't get to the veterinarian fast these nasty barbs can work their way deeper into your dog - it's up to you to pull them out! I know it doesn't sound pleasant but it could save your dog's life!

Bring lots of water -
Your dog will drink more/less depending on his breed, your particular dog, and the ambient temperature outside. Don't just trust the water you may find, your dog can contract parasites just like you if he drinks bad water. We had a run in with giardia - both of our pups got it on separate occasions. When you stop for a drink - offer one to your pup this should be about every 15-30 min depending on temperature and terrain.

Dante is a big water drinker!
Sunscreen - 
Sunscreen as needed! Poor Dante needs to have the tip of his nose covered or he gets burned. White dogs can be particularly sensitive to the sun. Be careful!

Bring your leash (no flexi-leashes please) and obey the rules of the trail
Bring your leash and an extra leash/collar set just in case you run into problems. Sometims things break and you can't always forsee that. Collars break, buckles break, things snap. Personally I like to use carabiners (I always bring a couple!) they are great if you have to rig something at the last moment. This is particularly important for long distance/overnight hikes.

Flexi leads? Just not a good idea. If you drop the handle and your dog takes off, he now has a monster chasing him and he may run further and longer trying to escape it. Even if you dog isn't a runner these leashes are prone to breaking and many an injury has been caused to both canine and humans who use them.

Another note about leashes: Though you may be confident that your dog will come back their are animals in nature that can distract your pup! It's also a courtesy to other hikers who may have dogs that may or may not be friendly, or horseback riders.

You also don't want him tangling with a poisonous snake, porcupine, skunk, or finding himself prey to cougars or a group of roaming coyotes - or whatever other creature is in your area. In certain places I have my dogs wear bells so critters/people know we're coming. It's also important that your pup be polite to others: no barking.

Know your area
I live in prime cougar territory, although I've never personally seen one. One thing that I am conscious of is that I am on their turf and most likely they've seen me. Be aware that dogs attract cougars - they crash through the brush just like a prey animal would. If a cougar is injured or your dog is small, then you pup may look like a nice snack. Also your dog may spot and decide to go after the cougar - this can go two ways: the cougar takes off and may run up a tree, or your dog corners said cougar which would be a fatal mistake.

Dog Packs
If you choose to use a pack: make sure it properly fits and isn't loaded too heavy. A general rule of thumb is 1 pound per 10 pounds of dog. For example, if your dog is 60 pounds then 6 pounds would probably be ok.

However keep in mind your dogs general health and age, young and senior dogs should not carry heavy packs.

Neither should a dog that is overweight or not conditioned to carrying a pack. Adjust your dog's pack so that it is snug but won't chafe (you should be able to fit 2 fingers under the straps). Bring water, a dog bowl (we like collapsible ones), treats, poo bags, and snacks for your dog if its a long hike. He can also help carry things for you! For Proper Pack Fitting & Doggy Pack Guidelines click HERE.  Groundbird Gear Dog Pack Review - HERE

We love Dante's new Groundbird Gear Dog Pack!
Dog Poop
Bag it (or double bag it!), and keep it away from water sources. You brought it in - you take it out. One good technique is to bag it and then zip it up in a ziploc bag (no stink in your pack!).

Be Current with your Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Meds
Heartworm is passed to your dog through mosquitoes so it also doesn't hurt to use a home mosquito prevention spray (never use DEET on your dogs!). After your hike thoroughly check your dog for any ticks he may have picked up. Ticks and other parasites can carry nasty diseases.

Monitor his Feet
Depending on your distance and particular terrain you want to watch your dogs feet for cuts, rips, and general wear. Depending on the terrain dog boots may be necessary if you want your pup to join you. He may not like the boots at first - make sure you have him practice wearing them and slowly increase the time, associate the boots with fun things and treats and he'll eventually learn to adjust.
Ruffwear Grip Trex Boots Review - HERE

Practice lots and use positive association. Boots = Fun!
Be Seen!
Dogs get shot during hunting season by idiots who don't look before they shoot, this goes for humans too! I'm not against hunting, in fact I come from a family of hunters. Responsible hunters always clearly identify their target before shooting but unfortunately their are some yahoo's out their who give good hunters a bad name. Wear bright colors like red or blaze orange, I have a special bright orange bandanna that I put on my dogs if we're going on a hike in the mountains or forest.

He's handsome in orange!
If you have any good tips to add to the list let me know!

Other Sources:
Backpacker - Take your dog hiking
REI - Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog
Best Hikes with Dogs: Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop. Mountaineers Books

Best Hikes with Dogs: Oregon

Training Tip Tuesday blog hop about dog training and behavior and dog tricks

Monday, August 25, 2014

South Sister, Oregon

False Summit - Part 1

On Saturday I hiked the South Sister  located in Blue River Oregon with my best friend and wonderful boy Dante. It's a 12 mile round trip hike that we started at 7 o'clock in the morning (a bit later than we wanted to start, but not bad...we're slow morning people.

It's important before you begin a big hike to have a great breakfast and do a gear check!

Dante got to carry 2 water bottles for himself, poo bags, doggy jerky, and his collapsible water bowl. I was carrying 3 Liters of water in my Osprey water bladder, plus an extra water bottle for Dante, sandwich's, other snacks, first aid/bit sting kit, flashlight, space blanket, knife, and 9 mm pistol for good measure. My friend carried about the same gear as myself, her own food/water, and a pistol as well. Us girls were not going to be unarmed for this trip! We're mostly concerned about cougars, but their is always the chance of encountering two legged predators as well. You never know and we live by the motto, "better safe than sorry".

We started at Devil's Lake Trail Head which is the popular and best place to start on the adventure, the first 2 miles are painful and steep but the rest of the miles even out to a more gentle climb until you get to the mountain.

It Begins!
Cool rock!

After the first 2 miles of uphill climbing the thick forest opens up and you can begin to see the South Sister looming in the distance. Once we got out of the trees we took a mid-morning snack break and enjoyed the view.

Broken Top
Fun Fact! Broken Top is an extinct, glacially eroded stratovolcano! It hasn't been active for about 100,000 years!

My beautiful boy and the South Sister in the distance.

Such a beautiful day! Good thing we remembered our sunscreen! Dante was in heaven, I had him on his 6 foot leather leash and he was free to sniff for most of the day without having to be in our normal "heel" position. He did great! He hardly pulled, and all day we worked on "easy" meaning slow down/don't pull. He did awesome!

Their were lots of hikers out and about, if a faster group came up behind us we just stepped off of the trail and let them go past.

The beginning of the hike (most of the hiking) was gentle enough terrain Dante didn't need his boots, but every time we stopped I checked his feet for any signs of wear on his pads.

Lake Moraine
And now began the ascent.
As we began the ascent to the False Summit Dante began to gimp a little bit on one of his back feet, the rocks were getting coarse and was mostly pumice stone. So on went his socks and boots! And thankfully his gimp went right away!

Stopping to smell flowers
We took frequent brakes throughout the trip, wanting to take our time and hopefully avoid injury.

Our view going up!
What you are looking at is not the top! 
The trip up to the false summit was mostly pumice stone and shale, we passed a couple dogs that I felt sorry for - they had no boots and one was a fat old senior dog that really should never have been brought by his clueless/careless human idiots. Poor guy was struggling and the hard part had just begun.

Dante is a huge water drinker! As we worked our way up towards the false summit we stopped regularly and he'd find whatever shade he could and would lay down.

Tired Boy
Everyone we bumped into loved seeing Dante in his boots! He got tons of compliments and he got to meet and greet lots of people which of course he loved!!

You can see from this picture where we started.

False Summit Lunch Stop!
We made it to the False Summit in 5 hours....whew!! Which wasn't easy, we had a few spots where we were scaling our way over boulders. I had to help lift Dante a couple times.

We stopped for lunch at the False Summit for about 45 min, just enjoying the view. Poor Dante just wanted to drink water and lay down, but he enjoyed his jerky and I shared some yummy cheese with him too.

During this break I took off his shoes and shook out his socks while checking his feet - they looked great!

I should mention by this time Dante had drained his two water bottles and was helping me drink my water down - it was easy enough to take the mouth piece off of my Osprey water bladder and create suction to pour it out into his water dish. Even though we kept his pack on him he was just carrying garbage at this point no need to make him carry weight.

From the False Summit its about another 2 hours to get to the top of the South Sister.

Beautiful View
The True Summit

The False Summit and the True Summit...and yes that would be snow in August.  Although to be more accurate, its a glacier and mostly ice at this point.

Can you spy the man down by the water? He's really tiny!!

Check out Part 2 of our journey HERE

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Welcome to Monday Mischief - The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog How brought to you byAlfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.

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