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  • kaylenechadwick

A Weekend Backpacking

It was an amazing weekend spent hiking along the Manistee River in Michigan.

I find it just as much fun planning and packing for a backpacking weekend as I do the actual hiking. We had planned to go for a weekend back in March, but Meribell had her puppies. So this weekend had been planned for a long time. The first decision was which of the dogs would come with us. We chose Parker and Meribell as the puppies are too young and still growing and we hope that Valentina is pregnant and the trip would be too much for her. Leading up to the weekend I lengthened my walks with the 2 dogs and they practiced wearing their backpacks.

The next decision was, how would the dogs sleep at night? We could just tie them to a tree and leave them out overnight, but what if it rained? We could bring them into a tent with us, but then their paws might scratch a hole into the tent canvass and the tents are small for backpacking. Then I saw the perfect solution. A tent for a dog.

I read the reviews for them online and thought about their personalities using them and realized I would need to train them to be comfortable in them. As Parker does not like to be crated, I took the risk that he might not be OK with a tent. So for the week leading up to our trip Parker and Meribell found lots of treats inside the tent and eventually I was able to get them to relax and enjoy. It worked. They both slept well in their tents and were protected from the rain that passed through during the night.

The night before we left our family room floor was covered with what we were taking. Backpack by backpack they all got packed, including Parker and Meribells. Meribell had all of their food and 2 bowls, while Parker had their tents (minus poles as they didn't fit) and water. Each dog pack weighed in at 7 lbs.

Friday morning arrived, the day of our departure. Poor Meri had no idea why she was denied breakfast. I knew she would understand once she got in the car and then she would be grateful. Meri gets very carsick and this is a way to help her cope with it.

On our way to the trail head we had a much needed stop at REI in Grand Rapids to get more gas for our cooking stoves.

We arrived at the trail head later than planned at 6:30 and decided to hike in a mile or so and find a campsite for the night. Meribell didn't want to eat yet and we didn't want to push her far that night. We found a beautiful spot along the side of the trail and set up camp.

Meribell and Parker did really well their first night. They settled into their tents as the sun went down. However at 5:45 in the morning, Meribell decided that she really didn't like the owl that was hooting and she barked at it every time she heard it hoot. After trying to get her to be quiet a few times I reluctantly got out of my nice warm sleeping back and sat with her until the sun came up.

Parker slept until we got him up. He took care of his business and was ready to hit the trail. He kept looking at the trail and then back at us as if to say, "let's go!". We were still eating breakfast!

Parker loved the trail! He loved every time we crossed a stream of water and sat right down in the middle to cool himself off. Meribell was more ladylike and just put her paws in as she took a nice cool drink.

It was interesting to see the dogs encounter the bridges on the tail. At the first bridge, Meribell had to be coaxed over. At the second bridge she went down into the ditch and up on the other side. At the third bridge, she had to use the bridge as the ditch was too big. By the time we got to the fourth bridge she was doing better, as you can see in the video. You can also see how Parker took to the bridges!

After a few hours on the trail we decided to head back to a campsite we had seen along the way and set up camp and have a well deserved afternoon rest.

It was a wonderful week-end of relaxation and so nice to catch up as a family. Some dear friends of ours watched our other 4 dogs at home. I so wish we could have taken all of them.

Kennel Update

This past Thursday evening we were grated permission from the zoning committee of our township to build our kennel for up to 13 adult dogs. We are so happy with this news. On Friday I started the process of applying for a building permit. Nothing is easy in this process and I will be so glad when it is all done! The building will be a 2 step process. The first phase will be for the 6 dogs we currently have.

Boys and Mud Puddles!

We had another storm come through this past week and of course this left mud puddles in our play yard. Parker plonked himself right down in the middle. Becky and Meribell looked on in distaste!


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