trails

Back On The Trail

We had such a good time on our Friday date night!! Michael and I definitely need to do more new things like that. It’s so easy to get into a routine, especially when you have a baby, and it’s nice to do something different.

Well, after we got home that night it was time for another first. It was time for Logan to move out of the bassinet. He’s been in the rock n’ play since he was born, next to my side of the bed. It’s been great and so helpful (it vibrates!) and he’s been a great sleeper. But…to be honest, he grew out of it a month ago and I’ve been procrastinating moving him. But it was time. I had to suck it up and just do it.

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So now he’s in the pack n’ play in our room. We’ll do this for a little while and then move him into his crib in the nursery in a few months. I was expecting to not sleep at all that night but honestly he did ok. He thrashed around and thumped in the new bed but eventually fell asleep. He woke up a few times and was able to go back to sleep ok and then woke up at midnight fussy, so I fed him and put him back to sleep and he slept until 7am. I’d call that a success!

Saturday morning we went to my aunt’s house. She asked me to do a photo shoot of her family since the kids were all together for a family party (one lives in California, one in Colorado and another has been overseas for a bit). It was so much fun taking photos! And it was great getting to see my cousins.

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After that Michael and I went home and got ready for another date. His mom and stepdad came over to babysit Logan for a few hours so we could go do something. We decided on a hike with our first baby — Bella!

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We haven’t been hiking since the weekend before Logan was born! We did Powell Butte this weekend, just like last time. 🙂 It’s a nice hike close to home and since I hadn’t been hiking in awhile it was a good beginner try.

It was a hot afternoon after a gray, humid and cool morning. We set out on the hike and I was feeling pretty good! I think going for long walks in the neighborhood hills with the stroller has helped build up my endurance and stamina after taking a long break.

It was so good being outside hiking and it was great being with Bella. We were able to give her lots of attention without the baby interrupting us. I knew Logan was having a fun time being spoiled by the grandparents at home! Bella was ECSTATIC to be hiking again. 🙂

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The trail was really overgrown! Look what we saw:

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It slithered across the trail in front of me. Thankfully Bella didn’t see it! And thankfully it wasn’t anything like the last snake I saw on a hike!

We hiked around the top of the butte and then took the trail down into the woods. It’s a great loop.

There were some decent hills on the hike that got my heart rate up, so that was nice. It was also nice to get some exercise outside of the gym.

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We got back to the car after a decent hike and relaxed in the shade a little bit to cool off. Look how happy Bella is!

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She did great on the hike! There were mountain bikers and lots of people out on the trail with their dogs. I think Bella was happy to be out on the trail again.We really need to get back into a regular hiking routine for her (and us).

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Nice stats for the day! Now for the calorie burn:

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I was happy with my number. On the drive home we stopped and got a cold treat:

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We got home and I kind of hit a wall. I was suddenly really exhausted. Michael went out and got us burritos for dinner (veggie for me) and we watched a movie and I tried not to fall asleep on the couch. Seriously, so tired! Probably a combination of a not-so-restful night, hiking in the heat and probably not drinking enough water like I should have.

Anyways, it was a really fun weekend and it was great that we got the opportunity to go out without the baby for a little while. Hopefully soon we can start bringing Logan on hikes!

Snowshoeing with Dogs

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:

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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)”

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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.

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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.

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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?