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Trekking across monte sano state park with a shiba

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I decided, since Loki is now 6 months old, to take him hiking. This involved two separate hikes to gauge his fitness level. The first hike was short, but over different trail difficulties. The second one was long, but over relatively easy trails.

The first hike was about 2 miles of easy trails, with about a half mile of double black diamond level. Loki did excellent over this, and the Shiba’s ability to jump 4 feet in the air from a standing position helped him conquer the obstacles that were in our way. He rather enjoyed the challenge, and seemed to have more energy at the end of the hike then at the beginning. Some of these climbs were rather hard, with 45% grades in some spots, but he held his own and never needed to be carried over the obstacles.

Loki checking out the view on a double black diamond trail

The second hike, was to gauge his stamina, instead of his athletic ability.  And as such, it was a combination of two trails (North and South Plateau Loops)  for a combined total of 5 miles.  He did outstanding for the first 4.5 miles, but I had to carry him for the last half mile as he just ran out of steam.  Now that I know his limits, I can start working on getting him in better shape.  Eventually, I expect, this Shiba will be able to out hike me, but he has a long way to go.  I am going to start planning hikes every weekend towards this goal, and planning long 3 mile walks during the weekdays which I expect to help.

It actually amazes me how unprepared people are on these hikes.  I met an older pair of women on a 3.6 mile trail, not long by any means, who carried zero water with them.  I met them on the trail and had to donate some water for them and their poor dogs.  Dogs dehydrate quicker then we do, so you always want to bring water with you on hikes.  Coming prepared is also a good idea if you get lost.  Even on day hikes I like to carry food (bring kibble for your dog) and water like I’m staying overnight and bring things like a rope, axe and shovel, and other supplies I’d need to survive if I wound up lost.  These things generally don’t weigh that much, often less then 10 lbs total, so its not a big deal and will help develop your core muscles.

In closing, hiking is a wonderful activity, and a load of fun for both you and your subservient quadruped, however please, for the love of god, don’t go into a forest unprepared.  It’s bad for both you and your dog.

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