Monday, June 4, 2012

Toby's First Camping Trip ( Now With Working Videos)



When Toby was 41/2 months old we took him to Grayson Highlands State Park for his first taste of hiking and camping. We were apprehensive about how he'd do on the 8 hour car ride. We weren't sure how well he'd sleep in the tent with us and his hiking ability was unknown too. We just had to hope that our enthusiasm would be contagious.

Toby was a natural! We limited his hikes to 6 miles a day because he was so young. Ted and I found that it was liberating for us as well. We were forced  to take frequent breaks and long rests because of the puppy.  One day we even packed our plastic wineglasses and a bottle of red to enjoy with a long, lazy lunch in the mountains. We read our books while Toby took a snooze after lunch.
Here's to the long, lazy lunch break in the Highlands of Virginia!
We had to keep Toby tied or leashed in the campground, but we used a long retractable leash on the trail so he had more freedom to run around and sniff. At the campsite we used a long rope to give him plenty of room to move about, play with toys, dig holes, and follow us around. The only problem was that a busy puppy will get tangled up in no time - frequently - and so we often had to rescue him. No matter how we fastened his rope he'd soon have himself wrapped around a tree. Or the picnic table, or a cooler...

Oh, Toby, not again!


At the end of a day of hiking Toby was ready for a long nap. At night he slept in the tent, snug in his crate. We were car camping, not backpacking, so we could bring a big tent. We left the crate door open and in the middle of the night Toby would plop down on the sleeping bags and sleep with us for a while.
With so much to explore it was a challenge sometimes to get Toby to hold still long enough for a picture.






 Toby was cautious around water. When we crossed streams with little pools we let Toby off his leash and tossed sticks to lure him into wading in the cool water, hoping he'd learn to be braver. Hiking in late June in Virginia is hot work. I'm sure the water felt good and he took full advantage of the opportunities to get a big drink and cool off. Sometimes Ted and I took off our boots and went wading too.
Toby liked to be with Ted, his alpha dog, on the trail.
 We were so pleased that Toby enjoyed the woods and was very well-behaved in the campground. He quickly learned that we weren't going to stop to rest in the sun or in a hot, dusty spot. Soon he started running ahead to the shady grass under trees along the trail. He'd plop down quickly and look beseechingly at us to see if we were willing to stop walking. If not, Toby got up and starting scouting for the next promising rest stop. Sometimes he started looking for a good place as soon as we finished a long break. Then we had to say, "Not here, Toby. We have to walk a little bit first!"
"See, I told you this was a good spot!"

"You're so right Toby!"

If Ted and I stopped to enjoy the view Toby crawled under the handy bench. It was shady and I think he also felt safe. He seemed excited about visiting new trails and sniffing strange smells every day. Still, it must have been stressful too. Did he wonder when - if - we were ever going back home?

"The rangers are so thoughtful to provide dens everywhere just for me!"
"Why didn't anyone think of giving me firewood before?"
Toby's teething was a source of stress for us at home since Toby chewed everything from candles to videotapes if unsupervised for just a second. In the woods, though, there were so many things to chew that were perfectly okay! There were toys and firewood at the campsite, tree roots and logs and old sticks just lying around everywhere. Any time Toby felt like chewing he could indulge without getting into trouble. It was a huge relief for us to not worry about our belongings being destroyed without warning.

Cats have scratching posts - is there a market for chewing posts?



Too soon our adventure was over and it was time to go home. We had learned that Toby was a great camping and hiking partner. We were already thinking about our next trip!

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite Toby post yet!! I love it!!!

    ReplyDelete

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