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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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!


  1. He's such a good hiking buddy; I couldn't imagine getting all the way up there then saying "Ok, 6 miles back down," but then again I haven't been on a hike like that ever. Congrats for making it, it's certainly not an easy hike.

    1. It was totally a killer! I thought I was in shape but that hike kicked my butt! :-)

  2. Sounds like such an awesome time! I'm not much into hiking if it's really steep, but this definitely made me want to get out and see some places around here. Plus I always love having a tired dog for a couple of days, lol.

    Toddler socks and Ruffwear boots, eh? Totally going to test those out. As long as Bain is out and about, I don't think it'd bother him much to have them on his feet.

    I do notice his backback has been rubbing underneath his arm, though I've adjusted it to fit right, I'm still getting the same issue, so I could probably see the same thing happening as it did with Dante.

    Love the photos!

    1. Good to know about Bain's backpack having the same problem. The next pack I pick up, regardless of brand...I'm thinking of gluing on some sheep skin, or fleece to the areas that might rub under his legs - you could give that a try too. :-)


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