Saturday Morning Hike–Pretty But Not So Relaxing
I was really excited to get out and do a hike. There’s no doubt I have to get back into some semblance of “fit” before attempting the Tennessee hike, pIus the hubs was working at home today and there is no way in Hades he was going to get any work done with those two at home fighting all day, so hey, why don’t I take the fighting elsewhere? Seems like a good idea, right? The 10 year old, as I’ve mentioned before, is not an outdoor kid.
I mean not one bit.
So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to take them on a hike. I gave each kid an assignment to get their packs together with snacks and water while I went about readying the dog pack and my own pack. I’d gotten Rama a new pack for therapy visits, and it is made by a company that also makes them for police and SAR teams as well as hiking. The pack is made by Dogline and is a multi-use harness with detachable bags, removable chest plate, neoprene lining and is reflective. It also has a sturdy handle. It is a very well-made, sturdy vest/pack. Today was the first day I’d used it for hiking. It worked very well.
Some of the things we pack for hikes are as follows:
*Water. You can never have enough. If you will be hiking somewhere near water and you think your dog will try to take a drink, make sure you carry a water filter. The dogs each carry their own water and collapsible bowl.
*Snacks and food.
*First aid kit with bandages, gauze, small scissors, neosporin spray, tweezers, bandage tape, vet wrap, anti-inflammatories. We will need to add a few more things when we do overnights.
*Flea and tick collars, all-natural flea and tick collars/spray/wipes.
*Ziplock bag (to dispose of any trash).
*Pedialyte (for heading off dehydration in humans and dogs)
I usually have an extra phone in my pack. I make sure to check the dogs’ tags to verify that they are still there and readable. The dogs are also micro-chipped. We use leather leads, 6 feet in length. They are well-worn-in and soft, and more gentle on your hands than nylon or cotton web leads. I have seen some pretty good skin burns from dogs that ripped nylon leads through their owners’ hands. Ouch. And for God’s sake, don’t use a flexi-lead. Those things are clunky and not suitable for hiking.
Most dogs can carry 25% of their body weight, some more, some less. It all depends on the dog, really. Corsos are a working dog, so they should be able to carry their own food and water. We brought our little dog this time (a tough little Miniature Xoloitzcuintli) but I don’t have a little backpack for her, so I carried more water in my own backpack, both for Isy to drink and for watering the dogs down periodically. Isy is hairless, so I have to put sunblock on her as well as myself and the kids. Florida is hot, and dogs can overheat quickly. My backpack has a nifty bladder inside with a tube that hangs outside the pack. Some dog packs also have bladders for water. Being that most of our hikes are day hikes, I would say the bulk of our weight is water. I also keep a large reserve of fresh water in my van.
After chasing everyone down and determining that no one could find matching socks or had any clue where their shoes were located, we eventually made it out the door. I promptly posted to facebook asking for prayers.
Rama & I pre-hike.
At the trail head.
This particular trail is one I’ve been wanting to do for a while but due to the heat (even in the morning), I abandoned this hike after about a half mile. It was too hot not to have any shelter. This is a trail that I would save for Fall or Winter.
Panoramic view from in front of me to behind me.
About a mile back there are the hammock trails, which are mostly covered. We watered everyone, had snacks, and loaded up in the van to hit the shadier areas. Prior to my last surgery, I had been more active. I could feel how out of shape I was. I realized how much practice I would need before attempting anything in the mountains.
The hammock trails are very beautiful and offer a great look at Florida’s diverse wildlife. Thank goodness there was a nice breeze yesterday because it was very hot. If you are not familiar with Florida, we have mosquitoes. Lots of them, all day. Morning, noon and night. They are not just a night bug. We re-applied our mosquito repellent a few times yesterday, and I made sure each of us had a repellent bracelet.
Pack was leaning a bit because the dogs had gone through some of their water.
I knew taking the kids would drown out any peaceful nature sounds, but I don’t think I can properly articulate how miserable it was being out in such a beautiful place with bickering children, one of which was literally screaming bloody murder every time he saw a spider, which was about every 3 feet. I worried that someone else on the trail might actually call 911. It was that bad. Rama kept turning around periodically to check on my wailing child, so this slowed us down considerably. I tried to distract him by showing him all of the old trees, the varied and cool fungi and some of the interesting foliage. Eventually I had to tune it out and just keep going. The younger child, at 4 years old, did better than my poor indoor kid, who was about ready to hyperventilate and expire at the sight of all the spiders. ((eye roll))
We stopped frequently to water the dogs (both internally and externally) and make sure we were taking in enough water ourselves. The crying kid was losing a lot of moisture through his eyeballs so I had to make sure he was drinking enough so I didn’t end up having to carry him out of there.
As beautiful as the scenery was, I have to admit it was a very stressful day. My tolerance for squabbling and loud kid noise is just not good, and since hiking is usually my escape, I think my attempt at trying to get the 10 year old to be more of an outdoor kid was well-intentioned but pffbbllllttttttttttt (insert fart noise here). Any thought of taking him on the Tennessee camping trip was quickly abandoned.
I came home and went straight to bed, dreaming of a cool place to hike with mountains, waterfalls and nice cool water.
And no kids.