Adventures with Animal Companions: Utah Hits the Trail

Posted on September 25, 2010

The following clips were shot on our recent trip to the San Juan mountains of Colorado.  In them, we tried to capture some of the joys yet challenges of bringing your animal companion on an adventure.  Utah has been on a lot of them with us and always adds a special emotional connection for both of us.

If you are planning on taking your animal companion along, the key phrase is, “plan ahead”.  On this recent trip for instance, we found out that dogs weren’t allowed on the Durango Narrow Gauge train.  While we didn’t want to kennel her, we did find a woman in Durango who would take her in her home and trail run her every day for a couple of miles. On another adventure, this time in Glacier National Park, we were informed of the park’s very rigid dog policies (because of bear problems that summer) when we arrived at the campground.  Dogs must be on a leash of under 6 feet at all times, not to be left alone in the campground and not welcome on trails or lake shores!  We were envisioning the demise of our adventure on the first night as the ranger spoke.  About an hour later, a woman walking with her dog, told us about camping right across the border in Waterton Canada (the north side of Glacier Park) which had dog friendly rules.

The next morning, we drove to the border crossing but were told we needed her papers in order to cross the border.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have them because we hadn’t planned on leaving the country.  Luckily for us, we got a faint cell signal and I was able to call our vet at home on a Sunday morning).  Within 20 minutes, she faxed Utah’s papers to the border station and we were able to cross.  Utah was able to run free, swim in the lakes and go on all our adventures with us.  Needless to say, we learned an important lesson about making sure her shots are up to date and taking along her papers while adventuring!

Finally, before taking your animal companion on an adventure, make sure they are in the necessary physical shape needed for the conditions you will encounter.  Thanks to my wife running her 5 times a week as well as two very successful ACL replacement surgeries (she took out both knees just playing fetch in the yard), Utah was in great shape for our recent hikes.  We did, however, realize very quickly that trails with three foot high rock fields are pretty hard on her.  While she loves to winter camp and snowshoe with us, we do have to take extra care of her paws and give her plenty of time to clean them out.

Finally, make sure that in addition to your main leash, have an extra 5 foot piece of rope on hand to use as a spare leash just in case.  You also have to remember that your animal needs plenty of hydration if you are out in dry climates. 

We hope you enjoy these shots and taking your animals on future adventures!

Posted in Tips and Gadgets

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