View Full Version : Hiking with my dog

05-27-2003, 13:58
I'm new to this forum so sorry if I'm in the wrong place, still getting a feel for the site.

My wife and I have dicided to make planes for the big "2000 miler." I know there are some out there who don't care to see people on the trail with their dog and in the smokies there are some rules about the dogs being in a kenal.

What's the scoop/recommendations/advise? Anyone done it resently?


05-27-2003, 15:44
Personally, I don't mind dogs on the trail at all... I actually met a nice thru-hiker this weekend named Tadpole who was hiking the trail with his adorable dog Twinkle Toes. The dog seemed to be doing fine.

Keep in mind there will be hikers who aren't thrilled to see your dog coming up the trail -- especially if the dog isn't well-behaved and is going after someone else's food. If planning to stay in a shelter, I would check with other hikers to see if they mind the dog or else sleep in a tent... but that's just what I would do.

Please, please bring a leash for the dog. I was hiking recently with friends who brought their dog along (and kept her leashed at all times.) Some other hikers came up the trail with two dogs, not on a leash which attacked my friend's dog. While my friend is trying to pull his dog away -- the other hikers just stood their yelling at their pets -- it was a situation that would never have happened if they had just leashed their dogs.

Also, you won't be able to bring your dog to Katahdin as pets aren't allowed in Baxter State Park. If anyone is coming to meet you could leave your dog with them at a campground. (One that allows dogs in Milinocket is Hidden Springs, which is a nice place.) I've heard there is someone in Milinocket who is making a killing doing dog sitting in the area, but I don't know if that's actually true.

-- Ivy

05-27-2003, 15:59
The results of a survey on Backpacker.comabout allowing dogs:

30% absolutely not
43% only on a leash
27% yes free to roam.

Dogs and cell phones are hot button issues. Everyone seems to have an opinion. There is plenty of discussion, both for and against.

Facts are:
1. Everyone takes along some type of luxury item. For some, it's their dog.

2. The trail can be very rough on a dog.

3. When you bring along a dog, you no longer hike your own hike, you hike the dog's hike.

05-27-2003, 16:22
Thanks for the comments, does anyone know how the smokies work?

Currently does great on my overnighters.

Oh and I know and believe that a leash is a must. Spent so much time on military bases were it is law that it's just habet now. Had a simular situation in the city with someone not using a leash in a very leash-law strick city/county. It was becoming very regular and finally had to place a few calls to get it to stop. Right now our dog is our child and I will protect him just the same.

I know it will be ruff and he'll just need conditioning like we will.

It's just a though, will require lots of extra planning if we do it, extra water, sleeping supplies, medical supplies, and food drops. I can only pack him with 18-lbs so will need to mesure how much food that is for him.

Thanks again

05-27-2003, 16:55
There are no dogs allowed in the Smokeys. There are services near the Smokeys that will kennel your dog if you choose to hike without fido. They are expensive! If you have the option, I would reccomend having a friend watch the dog over that time - it should only take you a week or so. You could always skip the smokeys if you don't have other options. Some sneak the dog through but I wouldn't recommend that even if I wasn't speaking in a public forum.

There are reasons why they are not allowed. I asked a ranger why dogs were not allowed while horses (an animal I find much more annoying to hikers) are allowed. The ranger said that dogs and bears share similar diseases and that they have made dogs illegal to protect the bear population of the park. Makes sense I guess since the Smokeys boast one of the highest populations of black bears in the lower 48.

05-27-2003, 18:08
I am somewhat skeptical about the rangers proposed reasoning - while possible it makes me question why the difference in the regulations between Shenandoah and Great Smokeys NPs - both parks have a large density of black bears but in SNP it is OK to hike with a dog so long as it is on a leash. In other words *** is the difference?

05-28-2003, 13:20
Well, I still have a lot of planning to do and it looks like there are a lot of things to consider so I may skip my buddy for now and take him on some of my training hikes.

Thanks for the info everyone!

Blue Jay
05-28-2003, 14:37
Hey Poison, I met Twinkle Toes later that same day, and she hardly qualifies as a typical dog. Most cats are bigger. Tadpole told me he has to protect her from the chipmonks. In addition, Tadpole is hardly your typical male dog owner. He cares about both the dog and other hikers. When she is tired he puts her in his shirt. The typical dog and dog owner is described in "On the Beaten Path". The one who brought his dog into the hostle in Manchester Vermont (after clearly being told it was not allowed) and let it crap in the children's play area. What a surprise, that hostle is now closed.

05-28-2003, 15:03
I love dogs, and love to see them on the trail. If they don't jump and snarl at people I don't mind them going free. If your bringing a dog, you should also sleep away from shelters to respect others.

That said, I'd be pissed at someone who brought their dog on a thru-hike. It beats the piss out of them, and thats not fair to the dog.

Oh yeah, I hate cats. If I catch one snooping in my stuff It's dinner :D, Yet another use for a Leki pole, a spit for roasting nosy cats!

05-28-2003, 15:38
Blue Jay -- I agree with you -- Twinkle Toes isn't your average dog ... and you are right -- my two cats are both bigger than she was. I mentioned Tadpole and TT as an example that a dog can make it through a thru-hike fine, provided that plenty of care is taken. Maybe I what I was saying wasn't clear (it wouldn't be the first time. :) I think Peaks said it best -- you're hiking the dog's hike, not your own, which Tadpole obviously is doing.

I haven't read "On the Beaten Path" yet, but it's on my list of books to read soon.

-- Ivy

05-28-2003, 16:09
"On the Beaten Path" is on my list as well, after I finish "A seson on the Trail" I might pick it up.

TJ aka Teej
05-28-2003, 17:39
That's right, no dogs in Baxter. When you get to Abol Bridge you're over 30 miles from the nearest kennel and 10 miles from the nearest phone. There are two people in Millinocket that will look after your pooch, their info is listed in the ALDHA Companion.
Plan ahead, call from Caratunk or Monson at the latest.

I've met many dogs and owners on the AT. Very few of the owners had a clue, and their dog's poor behavior and poor health showed it.

05-29-2003, 07:56
Someone once commented that you see very few dogs on the trail by the time you get to Maine.

Blue Jay
05-29-2003, 08:10
Mz. Ivy, after rereading my post I was too harsh. My apologies.

07-12-2003, 23:34
If you want to take a dog, and there are many who do, have your dog checked out by a Vet -- all the tests, xrays, etc, to be sure that the dog is healthy to start with. Be sure you carry proof of rabies shot with you. -- One girl is hiking with TWO dogs this year. She took them to a trainer who trained them to be Trail Dogs. I saw her at Neel Gap and in Erwin. She said the dogs were doing fine and she had no problem kenneling them when she went through the Smokies.

PERSONALLY? Casey will hike with me to Harper's Ferry if and when I Thru Hike and will be cared for by one of my grandkids while I hike the "North" half of the AT.

and Casey the WonderDog (we were in the Bristol, VA, paper during Trail Days 2003)