Sunday, July 26, 2015

Seymour Peak- going solo

Seymour Peak 4-6 hours, 9km, 450m gain

On top of the world (Mt Seymour)
It's been such a busy summer that this weekend I found my usual hiking buddies were already booked. No problem! I've got my most dependable canine buddy to go with. This day ended up being scorching hot and I finished my 3L hydration pack with Whiskey. It's probably the fastest we've done this hike since I skipped 1st and 2nd pump and took very little rest on the peak. 

just starting the hike
mom! take a picture!
a resting space with a view before going on
very hot today!

Around first pump it becomes very rocky

fantastic views all around
With just me and Whiskey, we didn't have any distractions and finished in under 4 hours (taking our time) despite not having been hiking this incline in quite awhile. Whiskey never wanders far, usually in my eye line and a little shout brings her right back to me if she runs to far ahead. She also poses like a professional model and several times froze in a position begging me to take several photos. I've always treated her for posing so it seems now that she knows what to do without asking. Over time I'm realizing I'm not the great dog photographer I was hoping to be- Whiskey is just an amazing model I'm lucky to have (because no other dog I've photographed does what she does).

2nd pump just beyond
looking back at first pump

it becomes steep to the peak

great views of the north shore mountains

the scariest section

my hiking partner
As we were on the way to the first pump we passed several groups that had been waiting 15mins for a mama bear and her 2 cubs to pass. I put Whiskey on leash for a bit after that, made lots of noise, and took out my pepper spray. We saw no sign of the bears but it's good to remember that the wildlife is moving more than normal because of the drought so watch out!
view back on the city


so many mountain ranges here


Coliseum Mountain behind Whiskey 


Since Whiskey doesn't like to drink water along the route, I've found mixing dehydrated food in a container with water worked great. We're experiencing a unusual drought in Vancouver so many of the ponds along the route have dried up into greenish algae infested puddles. Make sure your dog doesn't drink from these (I make sure Whiskey is well hydrated before we pass by) but dipping hot paws into the water/mud may not be a bad idea.
what a view!!

these roots were a challenge for Whiskey
Posing like a model

I just love it here!


There are some passes on this hike (mainly between 2 pump and peak) with steep falls, so watch your step, though we also passed adventurous pre-teens on the peak, and toddlers on 2nd pump. Vancouver is truly a hiking city!

on the way back home

The shadows get longer

Until next time

Sunday, July 19, 2015

First heat finished!

City on leash walks for now
We're finished! I was so worried about having a female dog in heat, downtown, in the summer, in an apartment. I've heard that the first heat isn't very representative of the future ones, that it can be lighter, shorter, and apparently sometimes people don't even notice it. I'd be super surprised to not notice my dog in heat, but it honestly wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Neither Whiskey nor any male dogs we met in these weeks went "crazy" and it really was only about 5-7 days in total where her drive to mate was strong enough to overtake her normally great recall.

off to quiet trails
a waterfall is welcome during a dry summer
The first week she bled, I noticed a decrease in energy and lots of small pees, but male dogs were not showing interested in her. I started feeding more buffalo/beef which has lots of iron as I notice that I become anemic and tired when I'm also bleeding. After that her energy popped right back up.
working on our modelling skills
By the second week, her appetite was back to normal (for 2-3 weeks before it was up and down) but the bleeding had shifted from bloody to a more pinkish color. The smell also go much stronger, which my partner hated, but for some reason it didn't bother me. Whiskey became MUCH more interested in flirting with particular males (not every male) and males because quite interested in her. As, we live downtown, most males are neutered and haven't encountered a female in heat before. I kept her on leash around other dogs and did many quieter hikes. I'm so lucky that there's so much real estate for dogs to run that I never had a day I couldn't let Whiskey run off leash for at least 45mins. Our normal dog park is normally empty at 7am for fetch, and there is such a selection of trail networks that you don't have to go far for some beautiful walks on weekends.

the smoke from wildfires drifts into Vancouver
 The dog diapers worked great for the most part but there were a couple leaks. I ended up going with gigantic "night time" pads and hand washing the diapers every night as something would always leak. Our sheets also got stained as Whiskey loves to roll over for belly rubs (rolling around in diapers is bad).
pointing the way
At the 2.5 week mark point, the bleeding had stopped and males had stopped showing interest. Whiskey is still swollen and peeing lots but I'm really happy not having to worry about diapers. It gets annoying walking to the car with a diaper in your hands and don't forget it to it off IMMEDIATELY when they get out of the car (2x she peed in her diaper).

my mountain goat in the North Shore
Overall it wasn't the disaster I had expected in a busy downtown area with lots of dogs. I imagine this would have been much easier with a house and yard but it's nice to know it's manageable in an apartment. I'm still tossing up how much longer to wait to get Whiskey spayed, and what kind of spay, but at the moment, I'm just happy to have gone through this with her. She's grown up now but she'll always be my little Whiskey girl.

Stanley Park has many small side trails for fetch

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bowen Island Killarney Lake


Killarney Lake Loop Hike
I've done this mini trip several times and have always loved it. The Killarney Lake loop is very flat and easy and is great when you have a large group to wrangle. There is a surprising variety of terrain and landscape and lots of my favorite slugs (yes I love banana slugs). In the fall it's full of berries and the 2 hour hike easily turns to 4 hours while I pick and eat along every step. This time we met up at the ferry launch in Horseshoe Bay, all 11 of us and took a quick ferry ride to the small island.

Our large hiking group on the ferry to Bowen
Nothing like company on the deck
Slugs!!! I love slugs
After a relaxing breakfast at the cafe, we wandered over to the path to start the walk. Whiskey was super bouncy and had a ton of fun. The trail was quite empty, meeting a couple runners and maybe 4 other groups including some horses! Whiskey was really excited about the horses.
Pointing out chickens
Introducing the group to our first viewpoint
Beautiful path to the lake
marshlands are so pertty
ancient forests
and horses! it was hard to hold her back
Great group this time!

At the lake she fetched over 15 times and swam in circles trying to find the stones everyone was skipping. The lily pads are hard for a dog to swim through and get tangled in their feet so we tried to keep her away from the worst of it. We found one leech on Whiskey that was easily removed so watch out for those!

swimming enthusiastically
perfect spot to stop and hang out
this girl has so much energy!



After an ice cream, some drinks, and live music on the grass, we headed back home over the ferry. What a beautiful day even covered in clouds!

Resting in the grass
the way back
I love how curious she is!

yup...only spot soft enough for a vizsla's bum