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  1. #1

    Default Thru hike w/out our dog

    We love to hike and our dog does too but we are also realistic about what it will take for just us humans to thru hike the AT (3-5 years from now). What we are not willing to do is leave our fur baby for 6ish months with even the bestest of friends/family so we are trying to figure out how to have her come with us without having to necessarily be with us on the trail from Georgia to Maine. We are considering having her hike with us on and off and the question is how to have her "follow" us when she is not on the trail. An RV is probably not an option($). I am guessing there are easy options around the Smokies but what about the rest of the trail? Has anybody done this or know anybody who did? How? TIA
    Last edited by Righty_Lefty; 05-31-2020 at 19:31.

  2. #2

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    Interesting issue. One option might be, you two don't hike together. You do a "ships passing in the night (day)" type hike. You figure out how to basically do the trail, car camping. Someone did this some years back and posted it on Trail Journals. he used a van. He would park the van, hike out to lunch. Turn around and hike back to the van. Then, either move the van then to the next spot, or more it pre-dawn the next day. Hike the next section, and back to the van. He slept in the van I think all but some nights in town. He started in like February, I think he had to flip north and work south so as to avoid winter in Maine and NH. BUT, when he finished that year, he'd hike the trail TWICE. He also had a bike and would stash that in the woods by a road. Hike to the bike, ride back to the van. Drive up again and stash it again. You'd not exactly do it that way. One of you would start hiking while the other moved the vehicle out to where you would finish that day at. The person in the vehicle starts hiking back to where the first person started from. Somewhere around noon, you will meet on the trail. Have lunch or at least swap keys (or you both just have a key). So the person who started first, reaches the vehicle and drives back to where you'd started to collect the other person. The dog could hike with one of you the entire way, or switch when you meet on the trail. BUT, this also means the dog DOES wind up hiking all/most of the trail. Other than that, kennels in the town. Hike north, catch a shuttle back to the kennel. Hike the next section back to the kennel. Move again. Lots of logistics with this.
    Just throwing out some ideas.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
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  3. #3
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    How does an RV work in your plan? You couldn't leave the dog in the RV while you're hiking.

    I can't see any way two people hiking with one dog following somehow would even work. I mean, if one of you was hiking and one running support then that's easy but what you're trying to do, I don't know.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    How does an RV work in your plan? You couldn't leave the dog in the RV while you're hiking.

    I can't see any way two people hiking with one dog following somehow would even work. I mean, if one of you was hiking and one running support then that's easy but what you're trying to do, I don't know.
    I guess I wasn't clear. We (the humans) plan on hiking together. An RV is not adoption for us because 1) We would have to obtain one. 2) We would need someone to drive it and be the person in charge of our dog when she is not with us and that is out of our budget. NO! We would never leave her in any vehicle. I absolutely did not mean that at all.

    Our very ruff(pun intended) thoughts on the matter is to figure out a dog sitter/boarder and transfer method for the entire trail. For example, she hikes with us on day "A" and half of "B" then at the road crossing she is picked up and we meet up with her again on day "E" or "F" at the next trail town or road crossing. On days "C" - "E" she is in good care w/ ...

    "..." is what we are trying to figure out. I originally, did not include the example info because I didn't want to imply that this is how we are going to hike the trail. I am information gathering and hoping to get input that may include options we haven't even considered.
    Last edited by Righty_Lefty; 05-31-2020 at 19:32.

  5. #5
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    most dogs never finish a thru-hike. it's too hard on them unless you do low miles daily and it doesn't have to carry a pack. you can split the dog's food and water between you

  6. #6
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    I once met a couple who had 2 cars. One would park at one trailhead and head northbound and the other would drive to the next trailhead and head southbound. When they met on the trail they would exchange car keys and meet at a designated spot after getting their cars. You may be able to do some version of this.

  7. #7
    Garlic
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    You may be able to find a friend to take in your dogs if you start looking now, but absolutely do not expect this friend to follow you up the trail with your dogs. It may happen if you offer to pay for their multi-month "vacation," but at that point you can afford an RV.

    And you'll be adding a logistic problem that will define your hike. Consider the likelihood of every meeting at every road crossing going according to schedule, especially with the health and well-being of two animals (and a vehicle and driver) over a multi-month period. I have hiked for a time with parties arranging car shuttles, even the two-car two-people parties, and I've never been tempted to hike that hike. You end up hiking the car's hike.

    Some very close friends (who we met hiking with our dogs) asked us a couple of years ago if we would consider living in their house with their two dogs while they were on a 4-month world cruise, their trip of a lifetime. We agreed and it's worked out differently than expected--they're still gone five months later, stuck in Australia because of COVID. But the dogs are taken care of.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    You may be able to find a friend to take in your dogs if you start looking now, but absolutely do not expect this friend to follow you up the trail with your dogs. It may happen if you offer to pay for their multi-month "vacation," but at that point you can afford an RV.

    And you'll be adding a logistic problem that will define your hike. Consider the likelihood of every meeting at every road crossing going according to schedule, especially with the health and well-being of two animals (and a vehicle and driver) over a multi-month period. I have hiked for a time with parties arranging car shuttles, even the two-car two-people parties, and I've never been tempted to hike that hike. You end up hiking the car's hike.

    Some very close friends (who we met hiking with our dogs) asked us a couple of years ago if we would consider living in their house with their two dogs while they were on a 4-month world cruise, their trip of a lifetime. We agreed and it's worked out differently than expected--they're still gone five months later, stuck in Australia because of COVID. But the dogs are taken care of.
    I appreciate all of the input (from garlic08 and others). We do understand that this is not an ideal scenario and it will require planning, money and logistical challenges along the way. I was intentionally generic in the original post but feel maybe some more details may be helpful. Our dog has separation anxiety and has been in and out of many homes before she came into our family so leaving her (w someone else) for the entire thru hike is not an option we think is viable. We understand how challenging this will be for us to accomplish without adding the challenge of hiking with our dog even if (we suspend reality for a moment) she has no ailments, injuries or the like along the way. So we are starting early and hoping to gather some information on how we can find something in between the extremes (we don't leave her home and we don't hike 2000+ miles w her) that can work for us.

    Based on the responses, I think I may have erred in mentioning an RV at all. I know people have used an RV in conjunction with a thru hike for a variety of reasons and wanted to preclude this and leaving her behind from our options. I mentioned it was not an option because we realize it is financially unrealistic to have a friend or otherwise follow us in an RV (which we don't have) for 6 months. If we win the lottery between now and thru hike time, we have our answer.

    We do not need to meet up with our dog at every road crossing or even every day. As long as she is able to be with us at various points in the journey in some way, shape or form.

    Others have mentioned some form of car hopping/exchanging along the way. We are not concerned about a vehicle and can't figure out how this pertains to our dog. Maybe someone can enlighten me with additional info?

    People (thru hikers) have many unique situations and we are hoping to find someone or someone who knows of someone that has an idea or suggestion that can help figure out how to make our situation result in a thru hike for us and keeps our fur baby happy and healthy.

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