Orly’s First Camping Adventure

Cali and Oly, both golden retrievers, play in a rocky creekOrly and Cali spent a chunk of Labor Day weekend at the Grizzly Campground in Montana’s Lolo National Forest. It was Orly’s first camping adventure, so Cali had to show her the ropes a bit. Not that Cali has a lot of experience … she may have exaggerated a bit when telling Orly her campfire stories.

A view of sunset and trees from the tent window
The view from the tent window

They did not get their own tent; we all shared. Our tent has a huge window, and Orly spent most of the first night looking out the window at the treetops and the stars. We were all pretty relieved that she did not spot any bears.

As the temperature dropped overnight, the girls crept closer and closer, until we were all cuddled into a single mass. They also tried to steal the sleeping bag.

Both girls spent hours hiking, running along the trail and splashing in Rock Creek and Ranch Creek. They gnawed bones, wrestled, grumbled at the dogs in the neighboring campsites, and gobbled treats.

Cali and Orly lick a bowl clean
The girls helped with the dishes

It wasn’t all play, of course. In addition to their responsibility to watch for bears and supervise meal prep, the girls had chores. They energetically tackled keeping the campsite “floor” clean, for example, by removing all sticks, pine needles, and dirt — and unselfishly carrying it around in their fur. Cali does have extensive experience with this and could be seen coaching Orly in the finer points of the roll, with tips on how to wriggle the hips and shoulders just so for maximum pickup efficiency. They also helped clean the dishes after every meal.

Needless to say, their first activity upon returning home was a bath. That may have soured them on future camping trips, but I doubt it!

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The Great Outdoors

We’re about to embark on our first camping adventure. It will be camping-lite, with lots of people and dogs heading to a group campsite at a family “camping resort.” Nothing too ambitious for us city girls.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to borrow needed equipment from friends who will also be on this adventure. But what about Jana and Cali?
What great luck, then, that I got an email from doggyloot (visit at your own peril; the site can be dangerous) titled “Make your pooch one happy camper!”
With great relief, I opened the email to see what gear my girls would need for their weekend in the woods.
doggy tentHow about a dog bed that converts to a sleeping bag? Add to that a comfy dog-size tent. The tent has windows on three sides (with nylon covers to block the light) and a zip-close door, also with mesh screen and solid flaps. Does each dog need her own, I wondered. Can they share? Why can’t we all bunk together? A less-fancy option is a shade shelter, which is essentially a tent with one fully open side — no door, mesh or otherwise.
For hiking, an insect-repellent bandanna is recommended, a travel first-aid kit, and perhaps a doggy backpack to carry the gear. And, since tenderfoot pooches work up an appetite on the trail, some Turbopup doggy meal-replacement bars, available in bacon or peanut butter flavor. Yum. Add some doggy wipes for on-the-trail grooming needs and an insect-repellent blanket for use in camp, and they will be all set …
And I was just planning to pack some beef-bison jerky (they are addicted), a couple of chew toys, and their swim suits. Silly me. Maybe I should revisit my original idea — a doggy camper, like these, featured on HuffPost not long ago. After all, my princesses are not used to roughing it.