Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Every Serious Hiker Needs One

We're talking about Backpacks here. There are many brands out there in the doggie market, but Mum got me one of the best. Ruffwear produces some of the good quality doggie products out there, very well made, hardy good stitching and Human grade materials.

I use the Palisades Pack 2, a Medium size. Here is the website with a picture.

Me, standing in a running stream, Snoqualmie River Trail, Washington.
Fitting the Palisades bag at home, for the very first time. Spring 07
If you read my face, you can tell I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I just stood very still, and allowed Mum to put it on me, then I watched Mum for a sign of what I should do. Mum said I looked smashing with it, and encouraged me to walk around, see if the pack would grow on me, and then I'll decide to keep it. It felt good, and I started to look forward eagerly to our next camping trip. That day my parents took me on a short day hike up the woods behind our house, and I toted the backpack with nothing in it. A trial run they say. I think I looked cool with the pack.

The staff at Ruffwear are good too, I used to carry a Large, and then a lady who works at Ruffwear happened to email Mum, to let her know that it was a tad bit too large for me, and it would be actually better to exchange it for a Medium. The exchange was smooth and easy, and I'm much better fitted today. Here are some pics of me, with my handy backpack. Me with the "Large" old backpack. Read my face, it says "Mum, my backpack is sliding off my shoulders and its a tad loose". This was my first outdoor overnight camping trip with the Ruffwear backpack. 2 nights along the Snoqualmie River Trail. Another view from the back
The right size on me, a Medium, sitting much higher on my shoulders. And I'm smiling.
Hiking with Dad, Lake Chelan, Washington, May 2007
On a dock at Lake Chelan, with Daddy

You must imagine, that for an active Dale such as myself, I've got to be respectable. I can't let Mum or Dad carry MY stuff!! Inside my backpack, I carry my leash, all my camping food (which is pretty heavy raw meaty bones), treats, prong collar (which is quite heavy when you want to minimize weight while hiking), unused poopie bags, poop (not good to leave dog poop in our beautiful great wilderness), my comfort blankie, and my waterproof/fleece jacket .Here's a pic of me in my swanky blue jacket. It has a water-resistant outer shell and a fleece lining on the inside to keep me warm. Beside me is Mum. Can you tell it is cold hiking in Washington?

I've been carrying my own backpack, ever since I turned 1. With the research Mum found out, it isn't good to let an Airedale carry heavy stuff before decent maturity age of 1. By age 1, my bones are well formed and I've developed decent muscles, so it was decided in my family that age 1 would be a good time to start inculcating in me, the good values of carrying my own "shit" as Mum would call it. Before this, she was the one who was given the duty to carry all my food, which could easily amount to 6lbs of extra weight. (2lbs for every day of hiking).
Hikers (Richard, Mummy, me, Daddy), background, Lake Chelan

Mum and Dad have also noticed that whenever I have my backpack on, I go into a "work" mode, or just be serious, and not fool around on the trails. I've been trained to fall in line, to hike directly behind Mum (my Pack Leader, most often the pace setter) and in front of Dad, i.e. to stay between my parents, and not be a nuisance to any other hikers in our group. Carrying my backpack adds benefits such as regulating my pace, so I go into a 'zone', to maximize hike time and distance. When I don't have my backpack on, very often I do the zoomies, back and front of, and in between all the hikers, to and fro, all over the place, and that sure pisses some people off. I tend to burn out too quickly, and that isn't good for long distance hiking. Plus, it makes me cool so darn cool.

Mum said that everyone is on a journey, our destination is enlightenment, but along the way, every living thing has to work for its own survival, to provide a means for the soul to meet the demands of the frail temple. That includes me carrying my own pack. So what's a decent Dale soul to do? Carry my own shit...(figuratively, and literally)


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