[Cdt-l] Thank you all for your advice

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 4 20:29:17 CST 2008

Mike - 
It's not just the heat.  The CDT isn't normally that hot a trail, though the last couple of years have been hellaciously hot at times.   It's also the cows, the grizzlies, and other wildlife that are a temptation to a curious dog.  Can you keep your dog on a leash all the time?  If not, you risk it getting kicked in the head by an angry cow. The CDT goes through a lot of cow country.  Or it may run off after a bear or deer or elk. There is a lot of wildlife on the CDT. There is also the issue of mileage.  The western trails require some very long days in areas where water is scarce.  It is very hard on a dog to have to do the kind of mileage necessary on the PCT and CDT.  Then there is the volcanic rock that can really tear up a dog's pads.  And snow too.  You'll likely need booties.  Then there are the long stretches between water sources.  Are you willing to carry two gallons of water - one for you and one for your dog?  There are some long stretches between resupply - the dog can only carry so much, you'll have to carry most of his food.  And some motels don't take dogs - it means you'll be camping out even in town.  (You won't find many hostels along the trail.)  
There was a couple thruhiking with a dog in 2006.  They had to leave the trail twice because their dog was having problems. They almost got off the trail when another (local) dog  chewed through some pack straps.  They ended up not finishing (though they came very close).  Do you have friends and/or family along the trail that can come pick you up if you need help?  Trauma's dog was extraordinary, but when we met them, it looked utterly exhausted. 
It's not a question of prejudice against dogs, it's a first hand knowledge of the difficulty of the trail.  Thruhiking the CDT with a dog can be done, has been done by a few dogs, but it will make your hike much harder, since you'll have to be so careful of his needs.  On the PCT, all of the people we met who had dogs went home before Tahoe.  Are you willing to risk this?

From: cryptobranchidae at hotmail.comTo: cdt-l at backcountry.netDate: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 12:34:34 -0600Subject: [Cdt-l] Thank you all for your advice

Thank you all for your advice, it’s very much appreciated.  As far as starting early goes, it looks like I should talk with my hiking partner about pushing our start date forward some.  
I know the thruhiking dog thing can be controversial, and a lot of people have extreme feelings about it, but I assure you all that I love my dog very much and I’m approaching our hike together very cautiously.  He’s young, healthy, energetic, obedient, and loves to be in the field as much as I do; and, to be completely honest, I don’t want spend six months away from him and I think the same would be true for his feelings towards me.  What I’m hoping for is some sound advice from people that have hiked with dogs in arid/hot conditions and how they dealt with getting around the national parks. 
Thanks again,
cryptobranchidae at hotmail.com    

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