HIKING WITH D O G S

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VERIFY REGULATIONS OF THE TRAIL

Before heading out to the trailhead, verify dogs are allowed on the trail. Most are dog-friendly, but some may not allow dogs or have restrictions. Keep your dog close, or on a leash. This will protect your dog from any wildlife, or prevent them from wrestling in the bushes that may have poisonous plants.

KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED

Of course it’s the law to have your dog on the leash, we all know that when you think you’re alone on the trail you let these little guys roam around, and for most trails it’s hard to see around switchback corners, which makes it difficult to see when someone is coming. For starters, not everyone is as in love with dogs as we are. Help Me Help You, by letting me know you’re not comfortable around dogs. Being a new dog owner, I quickly learned that there are loads of people that actually do not like dogs or are terrified of them. If you have your dog off leash, it could make other hikers very uncomfortable. In my personal experience, usually these individuals do not specify they are scared of dogs right away, until my dog goes to sniff them. To help each other out and to save each other from any misunderstanding, if you’re scared of these furry guys, let us know so we can keep the dogs on the opposite side while we pass. Secondly, they could become targets for wildlife. If your dog is anything like mine and likes to stay ahead several feet and greet any human being in site, then keep them leashed. If you are going to be a daredevil and have your dog off-leash, look into getting a shock collar. This maybe put your mind at ease if they decide to run a head, you can easily nick them. theaware that they are too far ahead.

PACK PLENTY OF WATER

It may seem like common sense, but make sure your dog is staying hydrated. It’s super important. Pack enough water for them if there won’t be a water source they can safely use. If you’re hiking in the summer, bring additional water to spray your furry friends and keep them cooled off. This squeezable water bowl is easy to use and doesn’t waste water, it’s very convenient to just grab and squeeze. Collapsible bowls are super handy as well. Normally I use the squeezable water dispenser while hiking and the collapsible bowls when I get to my final destination.

PACK FOOD AND TREATS

A day of hiking will burn considerably more calories than your dog’s normal routine. Bring a zip lock bag of food and several treats. If your dog is anything like mine, they get too excited and never want to eat their food. When that is the case, we use meal bars. It’s like a power bar for your dogs.

PROTECT THE PAWS

From snow and the hot ground. In the summer, you can use dog booties or if your dog is like mine and despises those things, you can touch the back of your hand to the ground to check if the ground is too warm for their paws. In the winter, you can use a wax product that you can put directly on your dogs paws.

LEAVE NO TRACE

Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for people, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is respectful of the trail and ecosystems you visit. Do your best to keep your dog on the trail and off our sensitive/delicate areas. ( I have delegated a command word, “trail” to our dogs. When they get off the path, we state “Trail” to inform them they are not where they are supposed to be.) Leave No Trace also means picking up after your dog when nature calls. Dog waste should either be buried or packed out in a poop bag.

DOG SPECIFIC FIRST AID

You should have a first aid kit or supplement your own kit with items for your furry hiking buddy. As well as, up to date vaccinations. Depending on the state you are adventuring in, your furry friend should have some of these vaccinations, Rattle Snake, Leptospirosis, and Lyme. Be sure to check with your Vet.

HAPPY TAILS GEAR

VISIT B A N F F, CANADA

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Banff is one of the most beautiful National Parks in Canada. It was established in 1885 and is the oldest and most popular park in Canada. It’s the perfect getaway if you’re looking for breathtaking mountain scenery and epic hiking trails.

Helen Lake

WHAT TO EXPECT IN BANFF

Currency: The currency used is the Canadian dollar. However, they do accept the American dollar. If you’re looking to use your credit card, most places only accept Mastercard. Very rarely do places accept Visa.

Summer Peak Season: The summer months are peak season in Banff. From June to August, the lakes are at their best and the weather is perfect for all the outdoor activities. Just remember to bring a rain jacket! Be prepared for crowds as well. Book your reservations and hotels in advance and always plan to arrive to your destination early since parking is limited.

WHERE TO CAMP IN BANFF

There are many amazing campgrounds to choose from within the park. Most are open from May through early October. It is advised to camp in a campground opposed to disperse camping, due to wildlife. Make sure you have your Discovery Pass to enter the national park and campground reservations are highly recommended.

Recommended Campground: Two Jack Lake – Main Campground

WHERE TO HIKE IN BANFF

The Plain of Six Glaciers // is physically challenging, but was one of our favorite hikes. This moderately, strenuous hike begins on the right side of Lake Louise. A steady uphill climb offers breathtaking views surrounding mountains and glaciers. A little more than half-way through the hike, stop at the Teahouse for a snack. Cash is preferred or they will charge you a fee to use your credit card. From the teahouse, you can walk another 30 minutes for a better view of the Victoria Glaciers. (moderate/strenuous, 4.5 mile out-and-back hike, 1,263 ft elevation gain)

Experience Johnston Canyon // This family-friendly “hike” is one of the most popular in Banff. The hike itself is on a paved path, with a medal fence between you and the canyon, which is fairly crowded all the time.

If you do not like large crowds, this is not the hike for you. There are several options for this hike depending on how far you are willing to go.

Lower Falls

                   This is the first part of the trail, which is paved and climbs gradually through the forest. It takes you over the catwalks that are molded in the cliffs. (easy, 0.5 miles)

Upper Falls

                   Continue one more mile to the Upper Falls. This half of the hike has a bit more incline. (easy/moderate, 1.5 miles)

Ink Pots

                   Continue about two more miles, you will notice that most of the crowd will disappear now, leading you to the cold mineral springs and creek. (moderate, 8 miles around trip, 1,994 ft elevation gain)

Helen Lake // This by far was our favorite hike. Initially head through the woods, this incline was the hardest part of the trail. After about 45 minutes of hiking, you will be rewarded with a jaw dropping view of the Crowsnest Glacier. Continuing up the valley on a mostly gentle grade.

During the summer, you will be greeted by a mixture of wildflowers.

Cross the Helen Creek, which is a gorgeous flow of water that passes right down the middle of the valley, you will then continue on to Helen Lake.

BREATHTAKING LAKES

Lake Louise // The lake is framed by a stunning mountain backdrop which includes Mount Victoria and Mount Victoria Glacier. Lake Louise gets its vibrant turquoise colors from rock flower carried into the lake by glacier runoff. There is a paved path that goes around the lake and connects to the other multiple hiking trails that lead up into the mountains.

Moraine Lake // This lakes color is most intense after the glacier begins to melt in early summer. Catch the sunrise or sunset here. Be sure to arrive early. The parking lot is very small and becomes crowded quickly.

Photo By: Joseph Markarian Photography
@joemarkarian

Bow Lake // One of the largest lakes in Banff. Fed by meltwater from the Bow Glacier. The lake lies at the base of Bow Summit, which is perfectly reflected in its aquamarine waters on a calm day. Take a dip if you dare! The lake stays around 37 degrees F in the summer months.

HIKE A R I Z O N A!

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Are you looking for awesome things to do in Arizona? Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are a few hikes to check out the next time you’re in town.

Hole In The Rock, this trail is rated Easy. It is a 0.3 mile trip (Out & Back) with a great view. You will climb through the rock and it comes out to a large opening on the other side of the rock. This is a great place to watch the Sunset. Phoenix, AZ

Papago Park, this trail is rated Easy. It is a 2.7 mile trip (Out & Back) with a great view of the buttes. Most of the trail is a paved road. Phoenix, AZ

Box Canyon Trail, this trail is rated Moderate. It is a 0.8 mile trip (Out & Back) with a swimming hole in the canyon. There is no “trailhead”, you will park on the side of the highway. Then you will climb up a short, steep area towards the woods. There is no marker for the start of the trail, but if you look at the side of the mountain, you can see where the trail is. Once you get to the top, you will have to go through the hole in the fence. Go left, follow the path until you see the arrow, continue right until you descend into the canyon. Please be aware, the rocks are slippery. Dogs are welcome! Payson, AZ

Waterwheel Falls, this trail is rated Moderate. It is a 1.5 mile trip (Out & Back) with several creek crossings and a waterfall swimming hole at the end. Please be aware, this is a flash flood area. Always check the weather before entering. It is $9 CASH, to park at the trailhead. A ranger comes around when you pull up, there is no where else to park either. There are several spots to stop and hang out at. Bring a floaty and refreshments to chill out. Payson, AZ

Horton Creek, this trail is rated Moderate. It is a 4 mile trip (Out & Back) with a large amount of creek waterfalls. You will park at the parking lot, walk across the street to the campground, the trail will be on the left side. Keep an eye out for the wooden tee-pee, this will be on your right hand side. Payson, AZ

Piestewa Peak, also known as Squaw Peak, this trail is rated Hard. It is a 2 mile (Out & Back), gaining 1,151 ft elevation. You must go early, the parking lot fills up very quickly and the surrounding neighborhoods do not allow parking on their streets. This hike is referred to as the Rock StairMaster. Phoenix, AZ

Camelback Mountain via Cholla Trail, this trail is rated Hard. It is 2.6 miles, (Out & Back), gaining 1,161 ft elevation. The hike is steep in some parts and rock scrambling most of the way. The parking lot fills up fairly quickly, I would recommend to get there early. Scottsdale, AZ

Hiking Tips To Keep You Safe In The Arizona Heat

  • 30+ SPF
  • Be cautious if the weather is 90+ degrees, the heat will sneak up on you
  • Bring at least 2-3Ls of water
  • Hiking is like following the rules of the road, stay in your lane
  • Remember, hikers going up have the right away since its harder for them to see
  • Always, keep your eyes and ears open for wildlife, especially Rattlesnakes
  • Never hike alone, or if you do, make sure to inform someone where you’re going

Download App: AllTrails
– By downloading this app, you will be able to preview the reviews, pictures, maps, and directions.

Top Photo: Box Canyon
Bottom Photo: Waterwheel

Planning Your Trip With Dogs

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Plan activities that are dog friendly, hiking, camping, going to the park, walking around the town, and visiting pet friendly restaurants. There are loads of things to do with your furry friends! Always plan ahead.

If there are times when you cannot bring the dogs along, an option would be to drop them off at a Doggy Day Care center for a few hours or even for a night. With that being said, before travelling, research several places in the location that you’ll be staying in. I prefer choosing a kennel free location, that allows the dog long periods of play time with other dogs.

When searching for a location, keep in mind that your dogs MUST be vaccinated. Different states require different vaccinations, be sure to look on their website or call to verify your dog has all the necessary shots. For example, if you are planning on staying in the Bay area, San Francisco, California, they require your furry friend to have the K9 Influenza Shot (Flu Shot).

Some Day Care centers also require your dog to be spayed/neutered, there are several ones that don’t require it, again, call and verify or check on their website.

Keep in mind, several places require you to do a Meet and Greet. Stay away from these ones, since you won’t be in the area until your scheduled vacation dates. Again, checking their website or calling can verify this information for you.

Doggy Tips

  • Plan ahead
  • Plan dog friendly activities
  • Drop your dog off at Dog Day Care
    1. Kennel Free
    2. Verify the vaccinations and spay/neuter requirements
    3. Verify Meet and Greet requirements

Check out, How To Travel With Dogs for more information.

How To Travel With Dogs

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If you’re like me, and treat your dogs like they are your children, then of course you’re going to want to bring them along to share those exciting adventures you take in life. Here are some tips to travel with dogs.

Getting your dog ready for the car is easy. First, you can purchase this backseat hammock from Amazon. It’s waterproof, just in case there is an accident and it helps keep the dog and any messes off of your seats.

To avoid car sickness, have your dog travel on an empty stomach, yet still hydrated. I keep this water dispenser in the car door for easy access. You can also give your dog CBD. This will help calm the dogs nerves and help alleviate both nausea and vomiting.

Before staying in hotels with dogs, verify that the hotels are Pet Friendly. The hotel website will list this or it can be found out by calling. When checking in, you must inform the front desk that you have a dog, along with the number of animals. Most allow up to 2 dogs and charge per dog, per night. The prices range from $25-$100. If you get lucky, some will not charge you at all. The hotel will have you sign a Pet Agreement, this states that if any damage is done to the room, you will be charged. Hotels put most of the Pet Friendly rooms near each other and have easy access to an outside door.

Giving your dog some exercise and CBD before heading to the hotel will help tire out your furry friends and relax their nerves from an eventful day.

While checking in, leave the dogs in the car. Once the keys are received, go find your room and find the closest door to bring them in.

Staying in a new place can be scary for your dogs. Hearing other people talk outside of your room and doors opening and shutting can make your dog bark and act out. Bringing a blanket/bed from home, will make your dogs feel comfortable and at ease. Also bring toys to keep them occupied while in the room. This will reduce the chance of them destroying anything and help keep their attention.

Pet Friendly Chain Hotels

These hotels have low pet fees, have several spots to take your dogs out to the bathroom, and they have treats at the front desk.

Doggy Tips

  • Tire your dog out before heading to the hotel
  • Give your dogs CBD before the car ride/heading to the hotel
  • Turn the TV on to cancel out noises
  • Bring several toys to keep your dog occupied

Check out my Amazon List for all the things I use.

Also check out, Planning Your Trip With Dogs for more information!

Welcome!

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Check Your Altitude is a compilation of trips and advice on hiking and trip planning. Simply put, we do what we do because we believe that everyone should have the chance to enjoy all the things this beautiful place, Earth, has to offer.

We hope to inspire travel and to pursue the things that excite you the most.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac