Jan 112016

When we go snowshoeing we have the usuals we pack with us: compass, first aid kit, emergency kit (including matches, hand-warmers, emergency blankets), flashlight, snacks, extra gloves/hats etc. Read this post I wrote about snowshoeing safely: Snowshoeing Safety Tips.

Now that we have Bella we bring extra stuff for her. She has a little pack that she wears when we hike that carries her “gear.” It’s not heavy and she doesn’t mind the pack. In her pack are poo bags, her collapsible water dish, her booties, and extra snacks.

We recently went snowshoeing and decided to leave Bella at home. While we had the gear and stuff for her, it was just a better idea. Sure it would be nice to have her with us whenever we go out and play in the snow, but sometimes the temperature is just too severe (and 15 degrees was definitely too cold for her!). The thing is, it makes a difference what kind of dog you have. You got a big fluffy husky or a dog with lots of hair? They would probably be okay in snow and low temperatures like that. But our Miss Bella has very short hair and a bare belly so not a good plan for her. So after you make the decision on temperatures and your own dog, go ahead and read some of these tips:


Check for signs of hypothermia.

This was something I didn’t know a lot about before we got a dog. When we take her hiking, I keep an eye on her for changes in behavior due to weather. When we hike in the summer we make sure she gets a ton of water and plenty of rest in the shade when it’s hot. There have been times when she was panting a LOT and I was concerned she was overheating. We’re still figuring things out. Hypothermia is scary because it can happen so fast.

“Puppies and elderly dogs are especially susceptible; watch for shivering, slowed breathing or dilated pupils, signs of a dangerous drop in body temperature. We pack plenty of snacks and water, and examine our Labs’ paws frequently for the ice and snow that can clump between pads.  (source)”


Check the paws frequently.

Snow and ice can get stuck between the pads and chafe, cut, freeze or cause loss of traction. Bella has a history of paw injuries so we are super diligent about checking her paws on a regular basis and taking steps to make sure they are protected. Some of the things I’ve used are the following products:

Musher’s Secret – It’s similar to vaseline in consistency. We tried this for a little bit snowshoeing but I realized it came off too easily and we switched to her booties (which was a good decision).

Eqyss Mega Tek Coat Rebuilder — This is what I use on Bella’s paws when they are starting to feel rough. I used this after our snowshoeing trip and after every hike for a few days afterward to protect and build her paws back up.

Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot — These boots are AMAZING. They have helped Bella so much with her paw issues! I would never snowshoe without these. They are a must. 

It’s a good idea to stick to trails that are compacted and not super deep. Having booties will do nothing if the dog sinks down into deep snow.



Bring plenty of snacks for the dog.

Bella got some treats for Christmas so I packed them along with us and we stopped a lot for treats. I knew she’d be burning a lot of calories and energy playing in the snow and I wanted to make sure she was okay. It’s a good idea to pack a “survival” kit for your dog when going hiking or snowshoeing.

Bring enough water for you AND the dog.

Get a collapsible water bowl. It’s great! It’s easy to pack in her pack, or ours, and we stop a lot for her to have water breaks. She’s pretty intuitive and knows when she needs water and when she’s done drinking. So make sure to pack enough water for you AND your dog. And stop frequently for water and snack breaks.

Bring a small, waterproof blanket/towel for the dog to sit/rest on.

This is something I didn’t even think about until I read some articles online. It makes sense. When stopping for a break, it’s a good idea to have one so the dog doesn’t have to sit in the snow and they get a break that isn’t freezing cold. DUH. I’d tell her to sit and she looked so miserable. I get it Bella, sorry!! Parent fail.


Stay on trail.

This is something I just do anyways. Dog or no, I am not into back-country snowshoeing or hiking off trail. It’s just not a good idea. Unless you are a seasoned hiker with maps and GPS and survival skills, it’s a bad idea and you’ll most likely end up on the news. 😛 So be smart, stay on the trail and keep your dog safe by doing this too!

In the same vein….Keep dog on the leash. You never know what dangers are out there. Other animals, wild animals, cliffs, lakes partially iced over, snow banks, TREE WELLS!!–a million dangers are out there. It’s just wise to keep the dog on the leash at all times while hiking/snowshoeing.

What are some of your go-to tips you have regarding hiking/snowshoeing with your dogs?

Jan 042016

Well Michael and I managed to continue our New Year’s Day tradition! Snowshoeing at Trillium Lake!



In case you weren’t aware, it had been raining for the last 30 days straight here in Portland. In early December there was actually epic flooding as well. Bad news. Good news? Our mountain finally got SNOW!!! The weather has been pretty good this past week–very little rain but cold, cold, cold. Ice on the car in the mornings, wind chill that will make your eyes water and your joints ache. But still, there was snow on Mt. Hood! Last winter was pathetic (there was no snow in Bend!).

I wasn’t quite sure how it would go this year. I didn’t *think* snowshoeing would be hard pregnant — I mean, it’s really just walking — but I really no idea.

A friend of Michael’s got snowshoes for Christmas and asked if he could join us. We said sure but warned him we didn’t know how much I would be able to do. I knew it would not be like last year where we accidentally ended up doing nearly 5 miles (the entire Trillium Lake loop) which was too much for our bodies to handle, too much for the first time out snowshoeing for the season and WAY too much for Bella’s first time.

We actually ended up leaving Bella home this year. The weather was supposed to peak at around 15 degrees at Government Camp when we planned on being there and that was just too cold for Bella. I think we made the right call, even though we both felt sad that we couldn’t take her out to play in the snow (which she loves). I felt guilty when we got home, too, because she missed out. But it was the right decision–even with her fleece lined jacket it would have been too cold for her on the mountain since she doesn’t have fur or long hair.


We planned on being up on the mountain by 10 because it’s usually pretty crowded and I’d heard earlier in the week from some people that the lot was full by 10am. We got a little bit of a later start than planned but were at Trillium Lake around 10:30. We got a parking spot (barely) and the lot was even more full when we were done!

I discovered that none of my snow gear fit. I had a feeling it would be tight, but didn’t think it would be unusable. That was disappointing. And since it was going to be such a cold day on the mountain I was a little worried about not being warm enough. I wore my long underwear (those fit for the most part), some sweat pants and a sweater, then wore a pair of Michael’s waterproof cycling pants over that instead of my snow pants. The gators I wore on my legs protected me enough from the snow and I was warm enough but it sure wasn’t good “snow” gear and definitely not breathable materials.


We set out on the path down the steep hill and then took a right to get the best view of Mt. Hood.


Gorgeous day!



Baby bump on the mountain!

Snowshoeing seemed ok. I wasn’t really having any issues. I was definitely slower this year than in years past but I was trucking along. We went by the mountain and came to a fork in the road. The left goes around the lake and that’s usually the route we go. The other fork goes to another sno-park (I think maybe Mazamas?). We took that one instead.



It was pretty flat in this part. There was a cute little cabin buried in the snow deep in the woods. It had huge icicles on the roof and snowdrifts were doing a good job hiding it.


We hiked by a creek that I’d never seen before (or maybe just didn’t notice). Around this time my left ankle was starting to bug me a little bit–the achilles tendon. I wasn’t sure why and it wasn’t constant. Later when we were done I realized my hiking boot had come untied underneath all my layers and my gators so that was probably the reason why. It was slightly painful and very annoying.



We’d been hiking for about an hour and decided to turn around. I was still feeling pretty good but wanted to turn around and be closer to the starting point just in case. If we got back to the base of the giant hill and I felt ok I said we could do the other part of the loop that goes towards the lake but I wanted to wait and see.


We turned around and hiked back. I got to practice using my new camera on this adventure, which was nice. It takes great photos.


Someone made a snow Alien:


We got back to the viewpoint and took a few more pictures and then continued on. I realized I was pretty much done and Michael was, too. His hips were starting to bug him and so were mine.


The last leg of the journey is the worst. It’s that never-ending climb up the hill to the parking lot. It’s so long and just when you turn a corner and think you’re at the top, you’re not. It’s very deceptive and harder than it looks and it gets me EVERY YEAR. This year was no different. Half-way up the hill I was over it. I was so slow. Just plugged along, taking baby steps because I was tired and starting to get sore. But finally made it to the top and then had to traverse the icy parking lot and the traffic of people trying to fight for spots to park.


We ended up hiking 3 miles in 2 hours and I burned 793 calories.

It was a good trek out, I’m glad we did it and I’m glad I was ABLE to do it…but I’m pretty sure that was my one and only snowshoeing trek this year. Not having good snow clothes that fit are deterring me from wanting to try again. But I will say, physically, I was okay snowshoeing at almost 30 weeks pregnant. Other than carrying around an extra 20 pounds and being a little slower, it wasn’t that much different!

We were back in the car and heading down the mountain by 1pm, which meant we missed all the afternoon/evening traffic of skiers heading back to town. The pizza place we liked to go to was closed so we ended up getting sandwiches at Subway. I was famished and baby was kicking me for some food. Happy to oblige. Got home and immediately took a long, hot bath with Epsom salts. I knew I was going to be sore the next day!

6pm came around and I felt so depleted and exhausted I actually laid down and fell asleep for a nap. I’m not a napper. Like ever. But I guess the day caught up to me. Dinner was Papa Murphy’s pizza because the burger-fries-milkshake I was craving from a place near the house was closed.   🙁 Oh well. Food was food. I definitely didn’t eat enough calories for the day and I think that’s part of the reason I was so tired. That and trudging through the snow!