Dogs and Tents

We have decided to take two days to go backpacking.  It’s been a long time since we spent the night in backcountry.  We have chosen a pretty easy place to re-introduce ourselves and expose Tisen for the first time.  At least, we think it will be easy.  What’s 7 miles with 35 pounds on your back?

We have a checklist of things to pack for our dog:

  • Medications (the only one with no insurance is the only one on medication!)
  • Vitamins
  • Special food (because he has allergies, which led to the medication in the first place)
  • Insulated and padded sleeping roll for dogs
  • Collapsible water bowl
  • Water bottle
  • Wipes to remove poison ivy from his fur (for my protection, not his)
  • Super glue (in case he cuts a paw pad)

Given the list, it seemed logical to me that Tisen would carry some of his own stuff.  At least his own food and first aid items.  So, I had him fitted for his own backpack.  Pat vetoed the backpack idea.  He thinks Tisen will be sore from walking so much and doesn’t need to carry any extra weight.  He has a point.

Of course, once we agreed no backpack for Tisen, it was like he knew he wasn’t going to be carrying anything so he started adding to the pile of gear.  First Blue Dog appeared on the pile.  When I moved Blue Dog, Lion showed up.  Most recently, it was Duck.  I haven’t broken it to him that he’s not going to be able to bring any of them on the trail with him.

We have, however, had pre-camping lessons in the living room.  We wanted to see if Tisen would fit in the tent with us.  It’s going to be a tight fit, but if he lays parallel to us, we can put his sleeping mat under our mats (which are narrow at the feet) and he can lay between our sleeping bags.  As long as no one moves, it should be super comfortable.

We also practiced entering and exiting the tent.  We wanted to make sure Tisen would get in and out quickly so we don’t end up with a swarm of mosquitos cuddling up with us.  After a couple of practices, he was coming in and out like a trooper.

Next, I practiced getting up to heed the call of nature (which happens about 8x a night when I am camping just because it’s so inconvenient, I think) and leaving Tisen in the tent.  He did pretty well lying still while I got out and back in again.

I think we’re ready.  Now we just have to figure out how to stuff it all into our backpacks.

On a photography note, what’s really amazing about the shots in the gallery is that all but the first one were shot at 25,600 ISO.  The darker images have some grain, but they look better than the Canon 40D did at 800 ISO.  That’s pretty impressive.