SOBO Hike Planning with a Dog (what the @*#% am I doing?)

Hiking the trail has been a slow migrating thought process for a bit now. The dream lives in all of us, until we can finally exclaim”I’m hiking the AT!”

Then the process beings. You tell everyone (except your employers, duh). You start the mild research. Guidebook? Ordered. Gear list? Reviewed and mostly owned. Next, logistics.

As I sit here with 80 tabs opened on my little Chrome browser, my chest starts to tighten. Sure, it’s been a great ride proclaiming to the world “forget you, I’m out!”, but a harsh reality has start to set in, “how am I actually going to get there?”

This is no easy feat, especially because of one big detail. I don’t just have to worry about me getting there, but my four-legged companion Indiana.

I’ve heard it a million times, “just leave him at home”, “board him”, “have someone watch him”. This is my fur-child we’re talking about here. My best friend in the whole world. We’ve done every adventure you can think of, as a pair for the last 8 years our lives. It breaks my heart that he can’t even climb Katahdin himself. I’ve recently read a book called ‘How Dogs Love Us’ by Gregory Burns, and it’s about how a neuroscientist was able to determine through dog brain MRIs that dogs have social intelligence. That means more learning by observing, and less of Pavlov’s drooling tests. In the question of “what are dogs thinking” the conclusion was “they’re thinking about what we’re thinking”. If you have a dog, it’s easy to agree with that. The way the can tell when you’re down, or how they seem to listen when you tell them about your day. And especially the joy on their muddy faces when they just rolled in something dead on the trail (because they really enjoy baths, duh). So,  looking into the “how am I even going to get us there?” is a little daunting. I’ve read about angels that help cart people from point to point, but a girl AND her dog? From New York? Yikes. Go figure, simply getting to and from the trail to start is my biggest obstacle right now.

It’s hard to know I’m going to have twice the challenge of any solo traveler, twice the weight, and twice the questions any of us have. Is this the right thing? Can we do this? But how?

Then I look down at the mass of golden fur at my feet. His eyebrow twitch back and forth as he looks right back at me as if to say “I don’t know either Mom, but you always figure it out”.

indycuddles11 (example of survival down an ice cliff)

For anyone else (right, because there’s anyone as nuts as me doing a solo hike SOBO with their dog in July) here is what I found thus far.

Katahdin Kritters That’s right, by some miracle there is a dog daycare / boarding facility in Millinocket. I have no idea yet what to do with this information, but there it is.

Baxter Park Inn  Pet friendly lodging about 10 or so miles from the park.  Not sure how you get to the park from here (I’d really love to not make it a 30 mile trek), but happy they exist.

To be continued…


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Comments 3

  • Alicia : Apr 17th

    There is someone just as crazy! I’m planning for June next year but have recently decided I can’t leave my fur ball behind. You’re miles ahead of me with planning, but you’re still not alone!

  • Nicole : Apr 17th

    I wish you & Indiana all the best. 🙂 I get it & I don’t think it is crazy but I’d be doing the same thing. (Perhaps we are both crazy.)

  • Dan : Apr 18th

    My dog is favorite hiking partner, my other half, my extension…so I understand your need. If you haven’t already, please learn some basic first aid and get in the habit of checking his paws and tendons daily. Know your dog’s gait. Apply (daily) and carry salve for his pads and limit miles at signs of discomfort.

    Does your dog carry a pack? He should at least be able to carry his own food, first aid essentials and flea tick meds, etc. Also, I suggest bringing tick repellent spray in addition to Frontline/Advantage, as the tick population is expected to be at an all time high this summer. (For his health and yours.)

    Best of luck and godspeed to you and your furry friend. Looking forward to trail updates.


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