Hitting Trail Without Dogs

“One thing I learned from my dogs… it’s not about the destination, rather the journey. They love car rides not because of where we are going, but simply because they are along for the ride.”

I love dogs. All dogs. Anyone who knows me personally will most likely describe me as a dog lover within the first few adjectives used. So when I envisioned my AT journey, I always pictured one of my two dogs by my side for the trek. However, I will be heading for Springer Mountain on March 8 without either of my four-legged best friends. This decision was not easy to reach. Like a dog chasing its tail, I’ve gone around and round on this topic. Carter, my 75-pound pit bull rescue, isn’t necessarily in trail shape. After about a few days to a week, he would be fantasizing about his bed back home more than wanting to continue to hike. Ruthie, on the other hand, my 60-pound rescue, would set an FTK record. She’s powered through 50-plus mile trips and 20-plus mile days. She loves the trails as much as I do and it’s where we belong.

So Why Not Take Her To Springer Mountain?

Well, I lied a little. Neither dog will be joining me at the start of the trip. I will begin the journey solo. This will allow me to settle in mentally and go at my own pace. Taking time needed in towns to resupply, rest, shower, and eat without worrying about what to do with a dog will be a much easier start to this long hike. Also, the Smokies do not allow dogs. The plan is to get through Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Once in Virginia, a family member will be joining me for a weekend and bringing Ruthie. Together, we will hike the 500-plus miles through Virginia and 300-plus miles through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  From there, I don’t know if she’ll continue on or return home to enjoy summer in the air conditioning with Carter. And what about Carter joining? He will tag along for the weekend Ruthie joins me and hopefully another long weekend as well. Who do you think will be more excited after two months apart… me or the dogs??


As always, comments and questions welcomed. Thanks for following Backwards Hat… forward thinking


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Comments 2

  • Barb Abney : Jan 10th

    I feel your pain. For the last 25 years I have always had a greyhound by my side (even before I had a husband!) and I might have considered bringing Chester Chestnut who we raised from a pup and consequently knew no limitations, but he developed bone cancer two years ago and we had to send him to eternal sleep. So my husband will be staying home with our current two but promises to drive them both to Damascus to meet me. From there who knows??????

    • Lance Ness : Jan 11th

      Sorry to hear about Chester Chestnut.. hopefully your other 2 pups will get to enjoy some trail time with you? Its amazing how we begin to understand our dogs abilities and limitations. Sounds like you’ll get some solitude on the trek as well as 4 legged best friend time. thats the best of both worlds! Follow me on IG or Facebook so we can stay connected. Drop me a message and let me know the details of your trip. Happy Trails and Happy Tails…

      Backwards Hat…. Forward Thinking


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