I’ve been having a very difficult time writing lately. Any blog I start I just can’t seem to finish. I can’t even get past the opening paragraph. All my recent blogs have started this exact way. I say I’ve been having a difficult time writing, I choose a topic to write about, and I close the draft and never look at it again. One of these days I will go through my drafts and see what I can finally find the words for and what I can permanently delete.
Today I am groggy, a little annoyed, and a little frustrated, so I think I want to try to write about something that’s a little more positive. Vacation.
Yes, I am going on a vacation. It’s months away, but the plans that have only been talked about are now becoming actual plans.
Joe and I are going to Colorado, again! Our second trip together, his overall 3rd trip. I am so excited. I have a blog up about our last trip, my first to the state. I find myself reading it frequently and getting lost in the pictures. The blog brings back so many memories, from the activities that took place to the sights, sounds, and smells.
This time around will be a little different. Not only are we going to be bringing our dog, but we are going to be staying in places that we are interested in checking out for a future move. Colorado is one of the states that we are considering moving to. I fell in love with it after the first trip, it’s impossible not to. I am beyond excited to be going again, and the day we officially move can’t come soon enough.
I am especially excited for this trip because it will be our first vacation with our dog. He absolutely loves going for walks and hikes so I am really excited for him to climb mountains! We are going to try to do Pikes Peak which is in the Colorado Springs area. I believe it is the only “14er” in that area. Pikes Peak is similar to Mt. Evans in the sense that you don’t actually have to hike up it. We drove up and down Mt. Evans on our last trip, with a small section that you’d take a few minutes to hike up to the summit. It was a very cool experience being able to drive up the side of a mountain. The views were wide open for the whole trip, you reached the summit a lot quicker than you would have on foot, and the exhilarating feeling of reaching the summit was all the same as if you climbed it on foot (for me, at least).
Pikes Peak is a little different than Mt. Evans. It has more options for getting up and down the mountain, like mountain biking or a train car. It’s really awesome that this mountain has these options but the majority of them aren’t exactly dog friendly. If there aren’t any dog friendly methods besides hiking, we will hike, but we would like to get a ride up the mountain and hike down. It will be Beedle’s first mountain and will be how we acclimate ourselves to the altitude. I want to make sure he’s okay with the whole climb. Joe and I are able to tell each other our physical condition during a hike but Beedle can’t exactly communicate his condition to us. I don’t want to push him too hard, and I would really rather not carry a 45-50 pound dog down a mountain!
We will be spending a lot of time in the Adirondacks this spring/summer. Beedle’s first mountain will actually be in the ADK, not Pikes Peak, so hopefully he will be okay. I just don’t know what kind of effects the high altitude has on dogs and the altitude of the ADK is not as drastic as the Rockies. This blog is making me realize I have a lot of research to do!
After we spend some time in the Colorado Springs area we are thinking of making our way back to the beautiful Twin Lakes! If we are lucky we are going to snag the same campsite we had last time. If we are extremely lucky we will get to snag one of the even MORE BEAUTIFUL campsites that were taken when we went last time. Twin Lakes is absolutely the most beautiful place I have ever visited. It stole my heart and I would love to live within a few hours from it and take regular camping trips there, like we currently have going on in NY with the ADK.
We are planning on climbing Mt. Elbert, and succeeding this time. Between not being in the best physical shape, my asthma, and the storm that rolled in, Mt Elbert completely kicked our asses. This time, we are kicking it’s ass! We were about a mile from the summit before we turned around and headed back down the mountain. One MILE!! We were so close, but my asthma was causing my breathing to be all wacky and contributed to my muscles getting too tired too fast. I am going to train myself more in the ADK this Spring and Summer to really get prepared. I also need to talk to my doctor about better asthma treatment and prevention.
We are hoping by the time this trip happens Beedle is trained well enough off leash where we can let him run around on our way up and down, and on the summit. I’m really worried about doing that because he loves to follow his nose and will bolt off if he catches a scent he likes. I know with proper training we shouldn’t have issues, but he’s not even at the point of loose leash walking yet. He did get out of the house without his leash, bolted towards the neighbors a few houses down the street because there were kids playing out front. He got about half way down the street and we yelled out to him, “come!” and he listened. He came straight back to the house, hilariously following the road instead of running across the grass. I was about half way down the driveway, he ran passed me into the house and Joe treated him. We were honestly extremely surprised and very very thankful. He loves to play, but needs to learn when he can go run off and play and when he needs to stay at our side. I am just glad he showed us that he will listen to our commands.
It is going to take a lot of continuous training to keep this dog in line. He is a Chow Chow mix, which means he likes to play by his own rules. Chows need constant continuous training or they will “forget” so to speak. We’ve seen a lot of Chow characteristics in Beedle, and need to make sure we do everything we can to keep him obedient. He doesn’t mind the constant training, considering he is extremely food motivated, but it is definitely something for us to get used to. We did a very bad job at training when we first got Beedle. It was definitely just a lack of knowledge, looking into his breeds and how they handle everything has been a huge help in being successful with Beedle’s training.
Beedle had his Puppy Level 1 training assessment this week and will start Puppy Level 2 soon. Training this dog is a 3 step process; at home with no distractions, outside with light distractions, and in stores with heavy distractions. At home, we like to actually teach Beedle the new thing, whether it is a command or just a fun trick. Most of the time our home is distraction free and he picks up the new trick very quickly. He is an extremely smart dog, with baby steps! After he masters the new trick or command indoors, we take it outside. He is a little bit more distracted outside, so we have to re-learn the trick or command, but he usually gets it down quick. After a few practices during our walks and outside in the yard, we bring the new things he learned to his training class. His training class is in a store that smells like a million dogs and people, with a million other scents from all the different products sold at the store – the ultimate distracting environment. Beedle fails miserably in this environment, but practice will hopefully make perfect! He has definitely progressed, but it is a very slow process. He graduated from Puppy Level 1, so he must be doing something right!
As long as he keeps progressing, we should be able to give him a little freedom during this vacation. If not, we have a retractable leash for the hikes and can put a stake in the ground or wrap his leash around a tree at our campsite. I just don’t want him to be in a harness the whole trip, besides being in the tent/camper. I want our little guy to have as much freedom as we do, without the risk of him running off after a squirrel or running and jumping all over anyone who walks within his vision.
I can’t wait to see Beedle perched at the summit of every mountain we climb, like the king of the world. He had a really crappy start to his life, any bad memories he may have will be replaced with memories from his adventures with us. He is going to climb mountains, swim the oceans, roll in the grasses and dirt of all the places we visit. We want to make sure any vacation we take is dog friendly so we can take him (and all our future dogs!) along with us.