Tag Archives: Dogs

Dogs and the AT

21 Apr

*Please note that this post may offend some. That it is not my intention. However, I do want to bring to light other not so typical viewpoints about the AT.

It is so hard for me to understand why dogs are not appreciated on the AT. My trail partner and I have read post after post and article after article about dogs on the Appalachian Trail. People are very negative towards our four legged companions. Don’t they have more of a right to be free in the woods than we do? They are, after all, descendants of the wolf. These creatures were roaming the woods of North America way before our English ancestors were. ( I know not everyone’s ancestors are English, however it was very much a white man’s vision to build the AT.)

I love my dogs. They have and always will be a part of my life. I take them to the dog park, the grocery store, and I used to take them to work. They are well behaved. They actually do not want you to pet them right away. They want to get close enough to smell you, and then they wish to go on their merry way. Our dogs are our trail companions. They always have been. They have grown up faithfully running by our sides on trails throughout North America and even parts of Europe. We feel guilt when we leave them at home alone. Even if it is only for an hour. We simply cannot imagine packing this trail without them.

With this being said I am going to bring to light some controversial viewpoints. Continue reading

Gals and Dogs

31 Mar
One of the many challenges Emily and I have taken on with our AT venture is the inclusion of our two dogs, Chille and Georgy.  These four legged life partners have been our trail side kicks for years and it is hard for us to imagine this kind of undertaking without them.  My dog Georgy (also known as Bear) is almost 4 years old, in his prime doggie years.  I got him from the pound and quickly found out that he was born for the trail.  He immediately started coming on all my hikes and runs and has been by my side now for 3 years.  He has his faults (garbage eating and butt sniffing among them), but is an amazing companion and protector.   My enjoyment of the trail is doubled by seeing him run around and be free in the outdoors.

So when Emily and I started our trail planning we both assumed we would find tons of information on hiking the AT with dogs.  In our minds hikers and dog-people are often linked.  I have very rarely had negative experiences with other hikers or other dog owners on trail with Georgy.  However, in reality we found post after post of why dogs don’t belong on the AT and why no one should bring them.  One major web resource for AT hikers blatantly states that if you have a dog you are not allowed in ANY shelter along the trail.  They say that people with dogs need to camp separately from other hikers and restrain their dogs from coming near people.  I was absolutely shocked to read this.  In years of section hiking the Appalachian Trail I have never come across this kind of negative feedback or sentiment.

I wish I could say I have an answer to this problem we are going to face, but I really just wanted to let people know that we are acknowledging this issue.  We are doing our best to physically prepare our dogs with the same kind of training we do.  They come along on every hike or run that they can (unfortunately there are no doggie treadmills or ellipticals at our gym).  They have their own packs, will carry their own weight and will hopefully be great members of our foursome. My hope is that once we are on the trail our dogs will adapt to the lifestyle, and the reality of the trail community will be much friendlier than the online version.   However, we also want to do our best to not detract from other people’s trail experiences and to not impose our furry friends on them.  By going Southbound, against the crowds, we hope to skirt the issue a bit.  In the end though, it is all about what is best for both us and our canine pals.  So stay tuned!

Welcome to thrutrailchicks!

18 Mar

Welcome to our blog, thrutrailchicks.com!  We are Emily (also known as Koala) and Jen (also known as Panda), two trail runners and hikers who are planning, prepping and eventually fast-packing the Appalachian Trail this summer.   For those who aren’t familiar with “fast-packing”, it is a combination of trail running and hiking while carrying very light weight supplies that allow you to be self-sufficient on the trail.  Our plan is to fast-pack Southbound- start in Maine at the end of June and end up in Georgia by sometime in October.   We will be accompanied by our four legged life partners, Georgy and Chille.

The main goal of this blog is to allow our friends and family to follow along with us on our adventures.  In addition, we hope to help others planning similar adventures by filling in some of the holes we found while doing our own research.  What we have planned isn’t your typical thru-hike- our goal is to be trail running as much as we can, but without the advantage of a support team.  We will be carrying our own tents, sleeping bags, food, etc.  which is a challenge itself.   Plus, bringing dogs on a long distance hike has its own set of advantages and complications which we plan to enumerate in the course of planning and executing our AT fast-pack.

Over the next few months you can expect lots of details on gear, food, planning and physical preparation.  We have an amazing coach, Wendy Mader, who works with us to create a week-by-week training plan to whip our butts in shape enough to hit the trail running.  Literally.  We work out 6-7 days a week stair climbing, running, cycling, swimming and then running some more to build up the type of stamina we will need on the trail. (We also throw in the old ab routine as well as burpees and lunges/squats. Ugh!)  We are both based in Tucson, Arizona at this time, so don’t be confused by the desert foliage in all our training pictures!

Thanks for visiting our site and check back soon!