Monday, January 31, 2011

Why We Hike With Our Dogs

If you are a regular reader of our blog, by now you know that most weekends find us doing some sort of hiking.  We started hiking late last summer after we realized that Morgan was going to need a lot of exercise to help keep her grounded.   However, it's more than just occupying Morgan that keeps us going back out on the trails.

I've found that I really enjoy it for a multitude of reasons.  We are very lucky here in Illinois that our state parks are still free.  This means that we just have to get gas in the van to get us there and find something to eat, which makes for a rather inexpensive weekend outing.  It also gives us an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights our state has to offer, many of which are hidden gems that few people know about.  Almost all of our state parks allow dogs on leash, too.  I only know of a few exceptions.  Almost all of our national parks are closed to dogs or provide extremely limited access.

There are also other places where we hike, but with so many different state parks, we've been trying to see as many different ones as we can. The important part is that we get a chance to disconnect from the fast-paced world that we normally live in and reconnect with each other, the dogs and ourselves.  It's not the same as the walks we take around the neighborhood during the week.  Our time out hiking is a chance to really leave the stresses of the week behind and spend time with those we really love. 

As soon as the backpacks come out, the dogs begin their merry dance.  They obviously love the time we spend out away from the house as much as we do.  I think it's as important to them to have time with us as it is to us to have time with them.  As soon as we head out on the trail, I see tails wagging and I notice that Bunny will keep looking to me to see if I'm coming and we're really going to go.  After a while, she'll get immersed in smelling things on the trail and looking at things around us, but the first part of the hike she's always looking to see that she's connected with me. 

I don't think that hiking is the only way to make a connection with your dog.  There are lots of ways to do that.  I think the truly important thing is that you disconnect from the things that tend to distract you in this electronic age and learn to engage yourself fully with your furry companion for a while.  What ways do you enjoy spending time with your pets?
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  1. You are so lucky having all those places to go and have lots of fun and to get rid of the stress!
    My boring city does not offer me that!
    Glad you had a great weekend!
    Kisses and hugs

  2. Love the frozen waterfall pic. What a great state park!
    We love to hike and walk with the pooches too. They just love to go anywhere and everywhere. Mostly they want us to be outside.

    A little trick of theirs, is to steal something of ours, like a shoe or sock and run outside with it, so we have to go outside and chase them down!!

    Wyatt's Mom

  3. What an awesome picture of the frozen waterfall!! I agree. There's nothing better than getting out into nature and away from electricity. All of our state parks charge, so we go to the local parks and explore all the trails. It is our getaway from the world.

  4. We have the same problem that Lorenza is having. We don't have many places to go with our dogs and on top of that, most parks and public places have this big 'no dogs allowed' sign on.
    So we spend most of the time with our dogs at home or we just walk in our neighbourhood.
    We admire you have those fantastic parks to go hiking and I agree that hiking is one of the best ways to let you have a fresher mind.

  5. Love the pictures - and what lucky dogs to get to go such cool places! I love taking pictures of my boys and teaching them tricks. They love the cookies they get doing both!

  6. Hiking is such a cool thing to do and your pics are fabulous! Hiking here in Phoenix is a little more dangerous because of the stupid cacti. Even when we don't try to check them out they seem to have pickery thingies on the ground that attack us!! Loved the photo of the frozen waterfall. Wow!!
    Smooches from pooches,
    BabyRocketDog and Hootie

  7. Really fab photos. You are so lucky to have such great places to go with your dogs.

    I am always trying to connect with Song.

  8. Great photos. You learn something new every day. From your opening paragraph I can only assume that in some states the parks aren't free ! Don't people just kind of wander in ?

  9. Momma says that any walk with a dog is more fun that without. I couldn't agree more, although you are far more athletic and adventurous than we are.


  10. You're seeing such splendor that many people never see - and we're so fortunate that you are sharing it with us.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  11. Beautiful pics!
    Because I'm away from home the whole day, I don't have any dog, yet. But I started walking in the hill near my place one year ago, and when doing so, I often wonder how this will be with a dog. Finding one will be my first step when I retire :-)

  12. Angus said...
    Great photos. You learn something new every day. From your opening paragraph I can only assume that in some states the parks aren't free ! Don't people just kind of wander in ?
    January 31, 2011 2:19 AM

    Angus, it just depends on your state park system. I know is Wisconsin (IMP has some of the best parks around)you pay a very reasonable rate, it's not much at all. Mr. Taleteller

  13. What beautiful pictures!
    We also like to take walks/hikes to connect with the boys

  14. BUNNY... your mom has a coat that matches YOURS. You look like TWINS.

  15. I think that you know how much I agree with you!

    I love that you and Bunny match. That's awesome! The projected low temperature for Tues has fallen to -28 deg. I think that our dog jackets are coming out of hibernation... but they don't match ours!

    It looked like a very scary spot where Mr. Taleteller and Morgan were sneaking under the frozen waterfall! It will be fun to visit the same places in summer when the water is flowing.

  16. Any time with the dogs is good time - as
    long as it's not at the vet. :)

    I've loved your forays into the wilds of Illinois!

  17. Mum just loves takin us fur walks. We went on a walk friday but hers was cussing up a storm cuz a stray kitteh ran pat me and brudder and we high tailed into gear....bwhahahahaha...Ahhhhh, dat was fun. Such a shame we had leashes on.

    Fab fotos! Walkin is a great way to get away from da everyday blah stuff.


  18. I think I should bring Kassa up for a trip to Illinois just to see that icefall!
    Kassa and I love our morning runs in the baseball diamond where he enjoys playing fetch. We also LOVE getting together with his houndy friends on Sundays. We have been known to hike a trail or two as well :)

  19. They (ours as well as yours) do really seem to enjoy 'going'..anywhere! ;) But they really enjoy the camping and the hikes. Help you notice somethings you might miss along the way. And miss things you might have noticed otherwise as well.

  20. We love hiking too! Mom just found a new spot that I'm sure we'll frequent a lot. And Duncan should be able to go, it's not that tough or hilly or rocky so the old man can keep up!

    Mom has always loved nature and being in the woods, so it's a great quiet time to spend time together...and see some cool stuff!

  21. What great photos. I'm always sorry that I live in California - other states just look so lovely!

  22. My dogs are pretty low maintenance. We enjoy going to the dog park and going for walks. But their favorite thing to do is to snuggle with us.

  23. That frozen waterfall is simply stunning! I would love to hike there. Engaging fully with your animal companion is what deepens the beautiful and amazing bond.

  24. Hiking has been a really special time for us too. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful state parks as well--4 within a bike ride of less than 10 miles!

    I'd say the only thing I like to do more with Honey is go kayaking. So far, she fits pretty well in the front but if she grows too much more we might have to move to a canoe.

    Despite all the suggestions that we provide consistency for our dogs, I think they really appreciate a variety of smells and adventures. Looks like you're giving the pups a great time!

  25. What great pics today - just lovely!
    We are already hiking converts and love to get out at weekends and holidays.
    Even though bassets have short legs they were bred to follow scents for hours and can actually manage a four hour hike without difficulty.
    This seems to surprise lots of people who associate bassets with lounging in front of the fire but they really are very much outdoor dogs!

  26. Well you know we like our walks,and George is the same if Howard is infront with him he always checks to see if I am there, sometimes he won't move until I catch up, like the photo in our walk last week, when I stayed to take a photo as they walked across the field, I do believe that dogs bond on a good long walk, may be its because to them we are all walking in a pack, and they must make sure no one is left behind.
    Reading your comments all I can say is we are both very lucky to live in places that we can hike.

  27. Great photos as usual!

    You are very lucky to have those great places near your home!
    Here we don't have places like these, but
    we love camping and go to the beach with our mom!
    Whenever we went out together, it's a great party! =))

    About Kaiser's collars, he already has a good collection. But nothing compares to Bunny's!

  28. We think that your hikes are wonderful for so many reasons. The frozen waterfall is very interesting.
    We love to hike, play frisbee, and we have a guest room and bed, the bed is called the snuggle bed. It on this bed that I snuggle with all the gang. When I say "you wants to snuggle?" Ryker runs and jumps up on the bed and waits for me. He and Cleo will vie for the best and closest place next to me and one will generally be on one side and the other on the opposite side.

  29. Just from reading your blog and Anna's blog, my mom has concidered hiking this coming spring/summer/fall! She's never done it before, but sees how much fun you all have. So hopefully we can try it when all this snow melts!

  30. Wow, that frozen waterfall is beautiful! I really enjoy the time Riley and I spend on therapy visits...I feel like we strengthen our connection with each other each time we go on a visit.

    Elyse and Riley

  31. You are so right about that disconnection thing.

    The Lady Of The House and I find that our one-hour walk in the morning - as soon as the Boy has gone to school - sets us both up for the rest of the day. I just need to persuade her to leave her iphone at home now!!!

  32. Well, I can't say that I am much into hiking - though I love to read about your adventures. I like nature, but I like to enjoy it sitting down or better yet, napping under a tree. My mom loves to hike, but papa and I are not so fond of the active life.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S: Are you supposed to get hit with this monster storm?

  33. This photo of the frozen waterfall is pretty too!
    I loved

    Kisses and even more ...

  34. Oh wow... what gorgeous photos!! And how lucky you are to have all that on your doorstep!

  35. You do have some amazing scenery there!! I'm looking forward to starting Zoe's class. It will be our chance to get out together. It will be like a mom and daughter date night. :)

  36. What a great post! For all the reasons you mention. the Momster so wishes she could do the hiking you do. Oh to be young again.

    Our little local walks are how we enjoy our time together most.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  37. Luv da photos! As long as I am wif my peoples it's all good! :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  38. you are so lucky to have such amazing parks where you live.

    the photos are stunning!!!
    I wish you lived near me. We would love to walk with our Sheltie but he HATES to walk!
    I think when the weather gets better we need to take him on more outings like this and maybe if he is removed from his environment he will finally walk!

  39. Great pikhs!

    Hiking is SO much fun - and even just hiking around the neighbourhood is fun too!

    I tried to find the keys so I khould be to your place in time fur your snow but Mom must have seen your message to me and put them someplace else -

    Please enjoy it fur me!


  40. We love reading about your hiking adventures; everything looks so beautiful. I keep telling E we need to go out there and add this to our summer activity list.

  41. Great pictures. It's obvious that you all really enjoy the outings. Hey by the way - what is the blog set in NYC that you mentioned on Two Pitties' blog? We'd like to check that out.

  42. I made a link on my blog post to your post "I Chose You." You inspired me to write my story about my heart dog Brut. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Yay for wilderness hikes! Those frozen waterfalls are amazing! We luv to go on park hikes too. :D Play time, training time (also play time) and ham it up (photo shoot) time are some of the other ways we spend time together just enjoyin each other's company :D

    Waggin at ya,


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