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Thread: Dog on the CT

  1. #1
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    Default Dog on the CT

    Hi everyone. I'm getting ready for a CT thruhike this summer, and I'm having trouble finding info on how dogs have fared on this trail. Obviously much depends on the particular dog and human. We'll do some shakedown trips once we get out west, but for now I'm trying to get a sense of what to do for his warmth at night and his paws. He's a 30-pound, sporty mutt, not particularly built for the cold, but with a decent coif of neck hair. We'll be on the trail in july/august.

    I think we're going to be sleeping in a Tarptent Contrail, and I'll be under a 20* quilt, which I don't think he'll fit under. I was thinking about cutting some foam pad for him to sleep on, but it seems like he'd be pretty cold without anything over him. Should I bring a blanket or something for him? Maybe get him one of these?

    How have other dogs' paws done on the trail? He's fine running on and off trail out here in Appalachia... are there many talus sections? Anyone taken dogs up on the Collegiate Peaks?

  2. #2

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    On last year's Colorado Trail thruhike, a fellow SOBO thruhiker was accompanied by her small border collie. We camped together 10 consecutive nights and from what I observed, the dog did fine. She carried her pack the whole way. I wasn't with them when we did the Collegiate Peaks but I'm pretty sure they did OK.

    Most of the hostels were dog-friendly and many restaurants supplied water bowls for Cassie while she waited outside for us.

    Colorado Trail 292 Mickey's dog Cassie.jpg
    Last edited by Cookerhiker; 04-05-2012 at 14:26.

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    Dog travelin' thru-hikers have reported: train with your dog and learn if they're up to it and hike your dog's hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    On last year's Colorado Trail thruhike, a fellow SOBO thruhiker was accompanied by her small border collie. We camped together 10 consecutive nights and from what I observed, the dog did fine. She carried her pack the whole way. I wasn't with them when we did the Collegiate Peaks but I'm pretty sure they did OK.

    Most of the hostels were dog-friendly and many restaurants supplied water bowls for Cassie while she waited outside for us.

    Colorado Trail 292 Mickey's dog Cassie.jpg
    That dog could pass for mine. Thanks for the info!

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    I am also doing a thru-hike of the CT this summer and am considering taking my beagle. Its about 50/50 right now whether she gets to go. I will pass on some of my limited knowledge.

    1. Dogs that are off leash on the CT are in danger of being attacked by mountain lions. I got this from the folks at the CT Foundation. They relayed that they were unaware of leashed dogs being attacked. Of course my beagle is never off leash because of that follow your nose thing.

    2. Depending on when you leave, snow could be an issue in high passes. Your dog is taller than mine and would have less trouble. If you are leaving in July, sounds like you would have few problems.

    3. Some hostels and hotels are dog friendly, but require private rooms instead of a bunk at greater cost. This is of no consolation to me because I would prefer a private room on a zero day anyway.

    4. Expect temps below freezing at least a few times during your hike. In addition, expect to be in the rain almost everyday for some length of time. This is what concerns me the most. Do I want to sleep with a wet dog for a month.

    5. Bedding? I have still not worked out the best sleep arrangement for my dog yet. If it is 50 or higher, I usually take a small cheap throw bed and she is fine. However, because she is an indoor dog primarily, the freezing temps are troublesome. We were near Max Patch about a month ago and it got to about 15 degrees....she crawled into my big agnes bag with me and rooted her way to my feet. I just unzipped the bag to get her air and kept sleeping. If I decide to take her, I moight get that feathered friends 2 person bag. FF said that even though it is not temp rated, it is about a 20 degree bag. Dog would elave me alone because she would basically be in bed with me making her happy. Only problem here is cost.

    6. When I was there last summer for sections 20 and 21, I noticed that the terrain is much easier than the AT, but this is equalized by the elevation. A little concerned about some rocky parts just before and after snow mesa. I will get her some boots if I take her.

    7. Finally, the trail goes through some cattle and sheep herds. Concerned about ticks, and sheep dogs. The CT Foundation people said some of the sheep dog are very agressive/protective of their sheep and wpuld surely jump a dog they felt was a threat.

    Hope this helps. I am starting my thruhike on June 25, 2012. Good luck with yours.

  6. #6

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    To your list, I would add: don't forget to carry sufficient water for the long dry stretches - Segments 16-19 and Segment 27.

  7. #7

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    As an aside, transportation to the Indian Creek trail alternate (open to dogs vs Waterton Canyon) may be a little more logistically challenging, too. Waterton Canyon does not allow dogs. Plan appropriately.

    http://www.coloradotrail.org/forms/S...track_Dogs.pdf
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbsbestfan View Post

    7. Finally, the trail goes through some cattle and sheep herds. Concerned about ticks, and sheep dogs. The CT Foundation people said some of the sheep dog are very agressive/protective of their sheep and wpuld surely jump a dog they felt was a threat.

    This is true. Last year I encountered a flock of sheep that were right on the trail shortly after Spring Creek Pass, right beside Antenna Hill. There were sheep right on the trail, and the flock stretched significantly on both sides of the trail. Undeterred, I kept walking, with the knowledge that livestock typically just get the hell out of your way when you approach them.

    I was right. The sheep did get the hell out of my way, after a fair bit of bleating and the clanking of several sheep bells around their neck. However, what I hadn't realized is that the sheep were being guarded by three large dogs who were now very pissed off by my presence and by the fact that I had disturbed their flock. I soon found myself encircled by three angry, barking dogs.

    This is the only time in my hiking career that I wished that I was packing heat. If I had had a gun with me on that day, there would have been at least one dead dog laying on the Colorado trail. However, all I had was my hiking poles, which would be fine if there was just a single dog, but they were quite inappropriate for taking on three dogs at the same time. I slowly made my way up the trail while being followed by my triad of snarling and barking escorts. Eventually, I got far enough away from the flock that they abandoned me and went back to guard the sheep.

    If there was an unleashed dog with me, I am convinced that there would have been a very nasty dog-fight.

    Here's a photo of the type of dogs that I encountered:


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    Wow, ^that's scary, especially because mine tends to provoke other dogs. Sounds like he would need to be on-leash the whole way. Taking him makes the whole thing significantly tougher and less certain, but it seems like such a shame to deny him the experience.

    Anyone else have thoughts on keeping a dog warm on < 30* nights? I just ordered my quilt (20*, 56" wide)... any chance we both fit under there on the cold nights? Also, how is hitching with a dog? He's not threatening looking at all, but I imagine it makes the hitches tougher??

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    Quote Originally Posted by neweyes View Post
    ...Also, how is hitching with a dog? He's not threatening looking at all, but I imagine it makes the hitches tougher??
    The woman I hiked with had little problem hitching with her dog, both when she was with me and by herself. There was one exception - a potential driver at Spring Creek Pass told us he couldn't pick us up because of his own dog's presence in the car.

    Of course, women usually obtain rides much easier than guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neweyes View Post
    Wow, ^that's scary, especially because mine tends to provoke other dogs. Sounds like he would need to be on-leash the whole way. Taking him makes the whole thing significantly tougher and less certain, but it seems like such a shame to deny him the experience.
    You can normally see livestock from relatively far away, so if your dog is well-behaved it would give you a chance to get him on a leash before reaching the herd/flock. Most of the livestock that I encountered were cattle, so there was no problem with guardian dogs (but a momma cow might get a little aggressive with your dog if he were causing trouble!). I only saw a couple flocks of sheep during the entire end-to-end hike, so I guess that I was just unlucky that one of those flocks happened to be stationed right on the CT and the flock happened to have guard dogs, and the shepherd happened to be absent at the time. I actually sent an e-mail to the BLM to complain that a national scenic trail designed for use by the general public was blocked by a flock of sheep guarded by aggressive, unsupervised dogs for which the BLM provided a grazing permit. To date, I've received no response.

    Here's a photo of the sheep sleeping right on the trail! :

    antennahillsheep.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    This is true. Last year I encountered a flock of sheep that were right on the trail shortly after Spring Creek Pass, right beside Antenna Hill. There were sheep right on the trail, and the flock stretched significantly on both sides of the trail. Undeterred, I kept walking, with the knowledge that livestock typically just get the hell out of your way when you approach them.

    I was right. The sheep did get the hell out of my way, after a fair bit of bleating and the clanking of several sheep bells around their neck. However, what I hadn't realized is that the sheep were being guarded by three large dogs who were now very pissed off by my presence and by the fact that I had disturbed their flock. I soon found myself encircled by three angry, barking dogs.

    This is the only time in my hiking career that I wished that I was packing heat. If I had had a gun with me on that day, there would have been at least one dead dog laying on the Colorado trail. However, all I had was my hiking poles, which would be fine if there was just a single dog, but they were quite inappropriate for taking on three dogs at the same time. I slowly made my way up the trail while being followed by my triad of snarling and barking escorts. Eventually, I got far enough away from the flock that they abandoned me and went back to guard the sheep.

    If there was an unleashed dog with me, I am convinced that there would have been a very nasty dog-fight.

    Here's a photo of the type of dogs that I encountered:



    (Sorry, I don't mean to drift the thread)

    From how you worded your post, I assume that this isn't a picture you took yourself. If that picture is accruate consider yourself very lucky as it's either a Maremma Shepherd or a Great Pyrenees. Back when I was a kid I accidently crossed paths with my neighbor's Maremma and still have the scars to prove it (they were bred to protect sheep from wolves and are powerful enough to do it) and Great Pyrenees are a bit more reserved but just as powerful.

    I'd be interested to hear a response from the BLM, as risking an encounter with these dogs would be one of the rare times that I wished I carried bear spray.
    "This sucks and I love it"

    The ground's under my boots and not over my head, so it's a good day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    (Sorry, I don't mean to drift the thread)

    From how you worded your post, I assume that this isn't a picture you took yourself. If that picture is accruate consider yourself very lucky as it's either a Maremma Shepherd or a Great Pyrenees. Back when I was a kid I accidently crossed paths with my neighbor's Maremma and still have the scars to prove it (they were bred to protect sheep from wolves and are powerful enough to do it) and Great Pyrenees are a bit more reserved but just as powerful.

    I'd be interested to hear a response from the BLM, as risking an encounter with these dogs would be one of the rare times that I wished I carried bear spray.

    Nope, that's not my photo of the dog, but rather one that I found on the internet (they were the Pyrenees variety, I believe). I would have taken a picture of the dogs, but my immediate concern at the time was to get the hell out of there without being attacked. Instead of taking photos, I shouted at the dogs and spent my time making sure that I wasn't going to be attacked from the back (three dogs is a real problem).

    As I suggested up-thread, I really wished that I had had a gun with me. I would have shot at least one of those dogs right there on the trail, and I would have slept like a baby that night knowing well that it was self-defence. On Whiteblaze, we have seen silly thread after silly thread about carrying a gun to deter black bears, or to deter the hordes of axe-murderers that patrol the trail. People quite rightly respond with disdain that those risks are too small to even bother considering. However, never in my life had I considered the possibility that I would be accosted by a pack of unsupervised domesticated dogs while hiking!

    The fact that I've not received a response from the BLM is disappointing. At Antenna Hill, the CT is co-located with the Continental Divide Trail which is classified as a National Scenic Trail. The BLM provided a grazing permit to that shepherd to graze his flock near the trail, and it has a responsibility to ensure that the shepherd's activities do not threaten the well-being of the large number of trail users who pass through that grazing area. The shepherd was negligent in this case by not supervising his dogs when they were right on the trail, and that guy's grazing permit should have been revoked as a result of this incident.

  14. #14

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    The dogs are trained by the sheepherders who are mostly temporary visa workers from S America. They discipline the dogs by throwing rocks at them. If you pick up a rock they will leave you alone. (This really does work.)

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    StubbleJumper, I think that area around "antenna hill" is administered by the forest service, not the BLM? The Rio Grande National Forest is generally south of the divide, and the Gunnison National Forest is to the north.

    You should discuss this situation with the responsible supervisor. If they don't respond to an e-mail, call them on the phone. They need to know of problems like this. One incident may not do much, but repeated problems would hopefully result in changes to their policies / practices.

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    This is obviously a really important discussion, but I wanted to ask again: how have folks kept dogs warm at night on the trail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neweyes View Post
    This is obviously a really important discussion, but I wanted to ask again: how have folks kept dogs warm at night on the trail?
    always kept my sleeping bag unzipped and covered us both :-)
    "What would Jimmy King do?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hole-In-The-Hat View Post
    StubbleJumper, I think that area around "antenna hill" is administered by the forest service, not the BLM? The Rio Grande National Forest is generally south of the divide, and the Gunnison National Forest is to the north.

    You should discuss this situation with the responsible supervisor. If they don't respond to an e-mail, call them on the phone. They need to know of problems like this. One incident may not do much, but repeated problems would hopefully result in changes to their policies / practices.

    That's most certainly a possibility. In any case, the BLM did not even have the courtesy to send a response saying, "It's not us." Pretty weak, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrumbSnatcher View Post
    always kept my sleeping bag unzipped and covered us both :-)
    Unfortunately, that is what I keep encountering and sure it makes the dog warm, but then I can not close bag, stay on mat, keep myself warm, and consequently sleep. I have reconsidered the dog issue again and after taking Bella for a 34.5 miles three day trip from Damascus to Grayson Highlands/Massie Gap on the AT, I think she is not ready for anything that difficult and long, so my dog issue is resolved. If I were taking her I would definitely get a 2 person bag like the FF spoonbill....you would both sleep well and that is way important on such a long hike. Good luck neweyes and I will cook you dinner when you and the pooch catch us.

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    have a great hike jbsbestfan!
    "What would Jimmy King do?"

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