[pct-l] thru-hiking with a dog

carol bruno carolwbruno at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 09:50:59 CDT 2006

I am not a thru hiker but would like to give you a perspective that I have gained just from doing sections of the trail during the season.  The advantages of section hiking the PCT are, you are able to go home after a segment of the trail and figure out what will make those sections easier, then adjust accordingly.  Thru-hikers do not have that luxery; they have to take what nature and the trail gives them and move on in the hopes of completing the trail in a season.  Even though section hikers have to take what the trail gives them too (and believe me we get it all eventually) however we do have a little more control over when and where to hike and a lot more time to repair in between.  I have often thought about bringing my dog on the trail for a section that I think might be easy for her but have almost always been reminded what a bad idea that would be after actually being out on the trail.  You have heard that the desert heat would be hard on your dog---you have no
 idea.  Even hiking north to south you will suffer in the desert and your dog will be miserable.  It is the exposure that is merciless.  There are some areas where there is NO shade for miles.  Even if it is in the high 80s low 90s the dog will have a hard time in those conditions.  I just finished a day hike here in Phoenix and had to carry Halo (my dog) over one mountain---it was 86 degrees but no shade.  Then again, it is true that some dogs are better on the trail and do make it.  Good luck to you either way; I know the feeling of leaving your best buddy behind.

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