17 November 2013

Backpacking with dogs

So I let the new E look clean & shiny for almost a whole week before I loaded it up with gear & my long haired mutt for a backpack in Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness in the Pisgah National Forest! My dog was a little unsure of the new vehicle (perhaps it smelled too clean?) but she was able to overcome her uncertainty after a few minutes.

My dog really enjoys hiking & backpacking but, much like myself, tends to overdo it a little so I have to limit her time on the trail to a moderate excess.

The plan was to get a late start Saturday with a short but very steep hike of a couple of miles from Big Fat Trailhead up to the Haoe. The next day was to be a few more miles along the ridge to Naked Ground and then dropping down to Slickrock Creek with a side trip to find a waterfall. Not an easy hike by any means - there is a reason Slickrock Creek Trail made the Backpacker.com list of 12 hardest trails! My boyfriend, Brian, was leading this adventure & another guy from the GSHAG group was attending with his dog, Walter. I really enjoy backpacking with dogs & was glad Eilidh (Ay-lee: Gaelic for "light") was going to have a buddy along. Walter was a good trail dog - lab & pit mix - and very energetic! He and Eilidh probably did twice as many miles as the bipeds.
The climb up is brutal but the views are pretty nice.

We made it up to the Haoe in pretty good time only to find a crowd of people! We were able to snag a good campsite, just not the one we really wanted. But the sunset was still pretty cool......

This was my first test of my Marmot 5 degree down sleeping bag. I have their 20 degree bag I have used for quite a while but I tend to sleep cold & have been wanting something a little warmer. I got it from Sierra Trading Post when they were running a 40% off coupon - couldn't pass it up! Unfortunately it was not very cold this time so I guess I will need to try again. Oh darn! I was almost a little too warm in it as I estimate it only got down to 40 degrees. But it sure is comfortable!

The next day we got a fairly early start by my standards. Maybe not too early as the dogs saw it...

 Can we please just hike now?

The trip out was good - a nice walk on the ridge & a steep descent. The trails in Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock are so very rugged! I am always amazed at how hard the terrain really is. Since it is bear season in NC we did meet a radio collared "bear dog" at Naked Ground. She followed us for a while but eventually went back. I guess she was taking Sunday off.

 Walter says "Nice to meet ya!"

Once we reached Slickrock Creek we rock hopped across to search out a waterfall that should have been a a short distance down the trail. It was a bit further than we expected, but the triple cascades were well worth the extra effort!

So with a short, but again brutally steep climb out, we arrived back to the cars for the trip back home. I am pleased to say Eilidh declared the new E a welcome addition to our "family" & slept soundly the entire way back home.

No comments:

Post a Comment