Archive for the ‘Wilderness Trekkers’ Category


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I like a medium size dog that preferably doesn’t shed too much. What breed should I look at for a hiking companion that will accept carrying a pack and not get too tired or aggitated?


Okay, now if by ‘medium’ you mean less than 20-22 inches at the shoulder and under 60 lbs but over 16 inches and over 20 lbs, that is a tough call. By the way, do people actually READ the question or just automatically type in their favorite breed? You say “medium”, they say large (Lab, German Shepard, Old English Sheepdog) or very large (Husky, Boxer) or giant (St. Bernard.) You say “doesn’t shed much – they say Old English who strew the house with balls of fluff and require a lot of grooming to keep their coat nice, Huskies from whose discarded coat you can spin a sweater……..

While a dog can carry up to 25% of their body weight for a distance, they should generally not exceed 10-15% for any real distance depending upon their build. For example, a greyhound with a tall narrow body would be hard pressed to do 10% of its body weight but a broadbacked, stocky Aussie could easily do the 15% and up to 20%. Now ‘real distance’ is anything in excess of a half mile or so. Do not ask a long body breed like a Basset to do this – it is very tough on the spine and they already have to cope with that elongated spinal column and can’t get their back legs under to balance and drive as is needed in order to a carry the pack.

Haven’t met a dog yet that I couldn’t get to carry a packback in less than an hour. For a dog that will have the energy and endurance, look at the Herding and Sporting Breeds. (The Working Breeds can do it easily but these are the big guys – 26 inches or more at the shoulder and 85/90 lbs and up.) Keep in mind that Sporting Breeds where bred to chase and retrieve. Doggy will have to be very well-trained before hitting the back country without a leash.

The Hounds – well, fleet of foot and gone on a scent – again leashes until 100% reliable in off-lead work. Herding tend to stick closer – they want to know where their charges are at all times. Years ago my Golden and I would backpack in alone for 1-2 weeks at a time – each of us with our packs (and me with most of it!) After wrecking my shoulder with a sports injury, I now rely upon a Kuvasz as a Mobility Service Dog – he wears packs and carries what I can’t (anything above 5 lbs). He is 110-115ish and can easily handle 20 lbs even in deep sand.

I stongly recommend the Wenaha packs. The pack part attachd to a body harness with velcro and can be lifted off to give the dog a rest without having to undo all the straps. Here is one site that has them: Mine came from REI but I’m not sure if they are carrying them or have them in stock (they always sold out fast.) They aren’t cheap but they are tough and last forever.

Now the ‘not shedding much’ complicates matters and eliminates long haired breeds. Labs are pretty good at going along but be prepared for a lot of stubborness and passive resistance if they don’t want to do something. Sporting: Try the Spaniels – Brittany, English and Welsh; Vizsla (taller but not massive); The others suitable (Labs, Goldens) are considered large breeds. Hounds: Top pick is the Rhodesian Ridgeback but they may be larger than you want – up to 26-29 inches at the shoulder and 80 100 lbs. They are actually a herd guarding breed from Africa who were also used for hunting.

My choice for a Service Dog for what I needed came down to a Rhodie or Kuvasz, and the deciding factor is that we live on Lake Michigan further north than Chicago – with the cold and snow, a short coated Rhodie woul d not have been happy out running errands on a winter day. Another posiblity is the Norweigan Elkhound – sturdy dog with medium length thick coat. Terrier Group – don’t even go there. They will be off after everything and have ignoring you down to a fine art.

Non-sporting; Dalmations (if there are no kids under 12 in the household or likely to be any in the next 14 years.) Keeshond – smaller but very sturdy, Again they have the longer coat. STANDARD Poodle – give them a terrier clip and not that pouffy stuff and thye look like a real dog ready to hit the water and work. No shedding. Usually 22-27 inches. They were bred as water retrievers. Herding Group: Australian Shepherds Border Collie

NOTE: I see people are recommmending German Shepherds which aside form being a Large breed, are a breed that is having horrendous problems with the dogs’ rear end – problems beyond hip dysplasia. I would be extremely extremely careful and not only want to know if the dogs in the immediate family tree passed all their health checks but if any collateral realtives (aunts, uncles 1/2 siblings ….) ever had any of the problems endemic in the breed.

Now, in this group all except the Corgis and the Australian Cattle Dog have longer coats. Australian CD (often called blue tick helers or blue heelers by backyard breeders) is long on energy, short on trainability (okay, maybe come and some basic-basics but…) and obedience and can be nippy. Go to the AKC website and read in detail about the breeds You can search by Group, Breed name or all of them at once. Now, when you click on the picture of the dog and go to the page for that breed, on the left is a column. At the bottom of the column, is a link captioned “National Breed Club”. Click on it – that takes you to the link to the National Club for that breed that sets the breed standards. The Clubs’ websites will give you an ENORMOUS amount of information about the breed – the good, the bad, and the why or why not to get that breed.

The clubs websites also have: (1) a breeders list – all of whom have agreed to abide by the breeders code of ethics (which you can read) (2) a link to the breed rescue for their breed Do give serious thought to adopting from an adult from a breed rescue. The clubs’ breed rescues go to a great deal of trouble to determine the dog’s temperment, personality, likes and dislikes (particularly kids and cats and other dogs in the household), HEALTH, and level of training. They make a huge effort to match the right dog to the right home – and if they don’t have one they think will be suitable for your home, they won’t place it. Great way to avoid the puppy training, newpapers, chewing…….

If you decide to get a puppy, please use one of the breeders who are members of the breed club. A well-bred pet puppy may not be a candidate for the show ring (that nose being 1/8th of an inch to long or something else very picky) but they will be very healthy, the parents carefully screened for hereditary health problems, and from a breeder who has devoted a great deal of time to understanding the breed and bloodlines.

A responsible breeder will have a written contract with a health guarantee for hereditary problems; require that if for any reason you ever have to give up the dog that it comes back to them; and always be available for help, assistance and advice about your dog. Such a breeder wil tell you if they don’t think their breed is right for you based upon your needs. They want a perfect forever home for the puppies – not the money. (In 43 years in the dog show world, I have never known a breeder of that caliber who has made a profit on their dogs – it is labor of love.)

A puppy from such a breeder costs no more – and often less in view of the vet bills for an animal from poor quality breeding – than from a backyard breeder who doesn’t do the health checks, knows nothing about the breed or bloodlines, doesn’t give a guarantee, never wants to hear about the puppy again and has breed from mediocre or poor quality dogs. I you want a hiking companion, you will have to very careful about getting a dog from a breeder who screens their breeding stock for hereditary orthopedic defectsthat and other problems that can affect their ability to go out and go with you – hips, elbows, patella, cardiac, eyes….

Now many reputable breeders will have adult dogs that they bred that they are placing. The dog may be a re-home since a good breeder requires the dog be returned to them if the owner can’t keep it. The dog may be one they held back to show and it turned out to just not quite be show caliber as it grew up. Occassionally, in rare instances, they may have a dog who did finish its AKC championship but the breeder needs to place it in a home as a co-own (you get the dog, they get to use it for breeding – with a female maybe 1-3 litters and male as a sire for number of litters. Once the breeding career is done which is earlier than mosst pet people realize, the dog is spayed/neuterd.)

Similarly, the dog could have finished its championship -after much effort, many shows and a lot of money – but the breeder decides not to use them as breeding stock because the dog hated showing so much and lacked the personality and temperment for the ring. If the breeder is placing a dog who is over 12 months, ask to see its health exams – they can preliminary xrays on elbows, hips and patellas at that age, and compelte on eyes cardiac and thyroid.

Good luck and happy hiking!

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I have had a dog for a week and my boyfriend and I would like to go on a hiking trip. I can’t decide whether it would be better to kennel the dog or take her with us on the hiking/camping trip. The pros of taking her hiking would be that she gets to spend some quality fun outdoor time with us, but I’m afraid that since I’ve only had her a week she might not have the loyalty to stay with me. However, she tends to follow me around everywhere in the house, so I am pretty sure she would be fine in that respect.

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On the other hand, leaving her at a nice boarding place is an option, but I don’t want to put her through unnecessary stress from separation. Any thoughts? This is one of the last weekends we can go on this hiking trip before winter, but I want to make sure to do what is best for my dog.
as long as the dog has had its shots and everything i’d take it it’ll have a great time! if you are worried about it running off keep it on a leash when walking, and on the camp site or whatever keep it on one of those 20ft leashes

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A description of what I carry in my first aid kit.

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Make your own homemade First Aid Kit to take on every hiking, camping or backpacking trek. All wilderness trekkers should carry one!

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I live in Decatur, Georgia, next to Atlanta, and am planning a solo 5-day camping trip in early October within 100 miles of Flagstaff. My criteria are: –water –seclusion –much beauty –strenuous is OK, maybe preferred –bonus: good side trails, especially historic ones. I’ve looked at 3 AZ trail books, & narrowed my choices to 5: Fossil Springs, West Clear Creek, Secret Canyon, Bell, and Kelsey-Dorsey. (BUT, I’m VERY open to other suggestions.) I’m an experienced backpacker, with little experience in the West. Last fall, I spent 3 days with a buddy at Phantom Ranch–down North Kaibab, back up Bright Angel. 1st time at G.C. & 1st AZ trip ever. I understand that some of these 5 are popular, but secluded on weekdays, especially in Oct. True? I’d appreciate any suggestions you have–the more broad and detailed, the better. Thanks so much.
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I’ve backpacked both Secret Canyon, Fossil Creek and West Clear Creek. Both are very pretty places and meet most of your criteria above. While Fossil Creek is one of the prettiest areas in the state, the distance from the trailhead to the springs is pretty short, so it would be more of a hike in and stay put for a few days trip – rather than covering a lot of ground. Also, Fossil Creek has got a LOT of attention lately due to a recent documentary about it. I don’t know about week days, but it is pretty popular on weekends. If you do go there, be sure to take a little side trip down to Verde Hot Springs which is just up-creek on the Verde from where Fossil Creek empties into it. When I backpacked West Clear Creek, it was by coming in the mouth of the canyon near Camp Verde (Bull Pen Ranch). There were a lot of day trippers (and trash) near the trail, but we had the canyon (which got progressively more pretty) to ourselves after a few miles. While I liked that route, the upper portions of the canyon (going in near Clints Well) are probably more pretty, dramatic and have more solitude (certainly more strenouous). I’ve only day hiked a small section of the upper portion, but it was great (by the way, this section of the canyon was recently featured in Arizona Highways – including the cover photo).

Be warned, that the upper portions in particular require some deep wading in places which could be cold that time of year. One additional route that you should look into (it is on my list) is do a segment of the Highline Trail that runs just below the rim NE of the Payson area. It is one of the few that is long enough that you could do 5 days on the move. You will be moving from one spring or drainage to the next, so you need to plan camps around water. I have day hiked segments of it, and it looks like a great place for an extended backpack. Can’t tell you much about Bell or K-D. Enjoy! That is a good time of year to be hiking in AZ. Be warned that the northern parts of state will be getting cold (especially at night) by that time.

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I always carry my firearm….I’m not relying on some pepper spray while hiking to fend off a bear… I understand attacks are rare, but still…
I just finished reading ‘The Grizzly Maze’, the story of how Timothy (Dexter) Treadwell, the ‘famous’ Bear Whisperer and leader of the ‘Grizzly People’ of the 90’s, and his female companion were killed and eaten by an Alaskan Grizzly/Brown inside Kodiak Federal Sanctuary area in 2003, where firearms are not permitted. Get your own copy & read it, it will answer ALL your questions

Magnum Bear Spray and Hip Holster – 7.9 ounces by UDAP

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Iceland warned of polar bear attacks Jun 24 2008 MARAUDING polar bears could cause terror on Iceland after experts claimed global warming could bring the killer beasts across the sea. The alert came as police there shot two bears in just two weeks. The animals – which are not native to Iceland – are thought to have floated across the Arctic Ocean on ice platforms which broke free from Greenland. Climate expert Thor Jakobsson said: “Since two have reached the shore, more could be on the way.” may I have your comments please.
It doesn’t take a PhD in logic to figure out that the decreased arctic ice will drive the polar bears toward civilization in search of food. As for the uninformed who think we’ll simply shoot the polar bears and everything will be OK, they obviously don’t understand the balance between species. As bear populations decrease, seal populations will increase. Seals eat fish and without one of their natural predators, they’ll eat more fish. The human harvesting of fish from the ocean is already falling on hard times. Do we really need one of our competitors for food to increase in population?

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POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking

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News article done by Reece Stein in Salt Lake City about trekking poles, featuring Jayah Faye Paley – www.AdventureBuddies.NET With one exception/error (can you find it?) good info.

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Run? Stay put? Let the bear attack you? Help!?


That depends on the species of bear that is attacking you, but you never run you always hold your ground and slowly back away.

In black bear attacks it is advised that you fight back. Fight as if your life depends on it.. gouge eyes, ect. Black bear attacks are often predatory and playing dead will be a fatal mistake because the bear wants you dead so it can eat you. I dont know of any competent wildlife expert that advises playing dead with a black bear.

With all other bears it is advised that you hold your ground but if they start to attack you then you should play dead. Grizzly bear most often attack only to neutralize the threat and once you are down on the ground and stop moving then the attack will most likely end.

Of course the best thing to do is to have a magnum revolver and know how to use it.

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On a recent Cub Scout campout (Webelos Weekend), the boys went around to various learning stations such as fire building, nature, fishing, archery, BB Gun shooting and cooking.  At the cooking station they were taught how to make a simple campfire dessert using bananas.  The campfire should be at the hot embers stage and not in full flame. 

The recipe is below:

 Needed:  1 sheet of aluminum foil

                1 banana

                 2 Tablespoons of Chocolate Morsels

                 2 Tablespoons of Mini Marshmallows


 Slice the banana through the skin lengthwise (leave the banana peel on).  Put chocolate and marshmallows into the center of the banana.  Wrap banana (that is still in its peel) in a piece of aluminum foil to cover it and then toss it into the coals for about 10-12 minutes to cook until candy melts.  Allow it to cool.   It will be oohey and gooey.  Eat with a spoon.  Enjoy !


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