So it’s been a little over a month since I have been off trial. I told my self I would get back on as soon as I either a) got responses from Shelter’s in OR or WA or b) my hip felt better or c) I landed a perfect job back in UT.
After daily walks/hikes, sessions at the MMA gym, helping my dad around the house, and just trying to keep my self entertained in little ol’ Nevada City – it was time I got back on trail. I never heard back from any shelters in Oregon after emailing numerous organizations numerous times 😦 I did hear back from one shelter in WA along with a Best Friends staff, but I unfortunately don’t think I will make it up there this summer…BUT I DID GET IN TOUCH WITH A SHELTER IN NORCAL. You may have seen the post about Gina, and here I will tell you about our adventure!
Deciding where to go was the hardest part, but everything soon fell in to place. My cousin was able to get time off to join, and also met we could shuttle cars. At first I didn’t think dogs would be allowed through Castle Crags State Park, but after calling, they said as long as we stayed on the PCT it was okay. Woohoo! This meant we would get a perfect 25 miles from Gumboot Campground back to I5 near Castella with picturesque views of Shasta and a mostly downhill descent.
I hoped to leave my dad’s around 10:30, but the US Women’s Olympic Soccer game set me back. The game should have ended by 10:30, but after going into overtime they were still tied and I had to stick around for the shoot out. USA lost 😦 Now I could finally get on the road and drive the 4 hours to Yreka. Along the way, I picked up some hitch hikers, one of which was from Duluth, MN (where I went to school). Small World. I dropped them off in Redding and continued on my way.
I finally got to the Rescue Ranch to meet and pickup Gina. She was fairly shy at first – which apparently isn’t her usual self. She must have thought I was there to take her to the vet. I decided to join her and her siblings in their habitat/kennel to try and get her to warmup. Her slightly over-weight brother was all over me. I decided to try and walk Gina outside with out her foster dad around to see if she would connect and to see how she would do on a leash. She warmed up slightly and I had faith we would bond and she would enjoy her weekend of adventure with me. Her brother would be a bit tiring to carry. We loaded up her stuff in the car and headed back down south to Castella to meet my cousin, Dana.
Perfect timing! He arrived from the Coast just moments after I pulled in. From there, we got back in my car to drive the hour to Gumboot Campground where we would camp for the night and set off from in the morning. I was happily surprised to see how accessible the CG was, with a nice paved road the entire way. Unfortunately, Gina got a little car sick on the way, but was a trooper. Gina “helped” me set up camp, and by help, I mean get in the way – but at least she was adorable about it. There was one rock right near our camp that she just had to stand on and keep post. She still had tons of energy and wanted to go on a never ending walk that evening, so we went out exploring up to the trail and around the lake, and eventually settled into bed.
Gina slept well the first night – and so did I, except for an unhappy visitor at midnight. I woke to bright lights shining in my face and the sound of a horn. I turn over to see a truck blaring their lights at our site complaining about how my car was in the way for people driving through. First off, there was no one else camping past us, and I was clearly pulled way off the side of the road…Geesh, some one isn’t a happy camper.
Saturday, August 13: Gumboot Trailhead (mi 1523.27) to mi 1508.67 +.5 spur trail, 15.1 miles. (up/down: +835/-3872ft)
We hit trail around 7:30, and Gina was more than ready. With Ruffwear Leash wrapped around my waste, Gins helped pull me up the first trail to meet the PCT. Of course we also had to stop periodically to smell all the new smells! Gina did great in the first morning stretch and didn’t even want to stop for our first break. Any chance she got, she bolted down the trail. The morning lead to stunning views of Shasta as well as some rocky terrain. I didn’t want Gina to cut up her feet so I carried her over a sketchy section. She immediately caught on, and the remainder of the trek tried to make me pity her.
After not eating much the night before or this morning, my cousin discovered that Gina would gladly eat (and drink) if we put her food in water! After a good break, we continued on the trail and I got my period arm workout when I would carry Gina. Poor pup’s black fur just absorbed the sun. And it was HOT! Once in a while she got a lift under the umbrella with my cousin. It was quite humorous – whenever we would get to a shaded spot, Gina would try to lay down. However, whenever we took a designated break in the shade she would refuse to relax. The last couple miles were hard for us all: Steep downhill and in very little shade. Gina and I took turns – I’d carry her for a quarter mile and she would walk a quarter mile. We made it just about 15 miles instead of the 12 we originally planned!
Gina and I have definetly bonded today. It worked best when my cause walked her behind me, because she would try to stay close behind. When I was walking her, she lagged and got distracted by various things and would look back at me every few minutes with a huge grin. During breaks she would snuggle in my lap, and whenever I would leave for a moment, such as to pee..upon my return she would be ecstatic. She was very exhausted tonight – and had little desire to walk unlike the night before. Though we did go on a short venture before crawling into bed. She tried to stay watch in the tent, but kept dozing off – how cute 🙂
Sunday, August 14: mi 1508.67 to I5 (mi 1498.7), 9.97 miles (up/down: +2889/-1577ft)
Today we started a bit earlier and made great time. There was a couple small hills to start which really took a toll on my hips, but after that the trail was nice and flat and shaded. Our first stop at Burstarse Creek was an incredibly buggy one, as well as the subsequent creek stop. The bugs were the worst I’ve seen them yet; waking or resting.
At one point we startled a couple going northbound. We were the first people they ran into some encountering a mountain lion a couple miles back on trail. I was somewhat hoping we’d get to see her too, but that didn’t happen. Gina was pretty shy and nervous whenever we’d pass people – which didn’t surprise me when these people are wearing huge strange things on them (packs, hats, poles, umbrellas…). Nonetheless, she put a smile on everyone’s gave that we saw.:)
We made great time and completed the 10 miles by noon! We took nice drive back to Gumboot for a dip in the lake and some relaxation before heading our separate ways. Gina napped in the back seat the whole way back to RR.
The rescue was surprised to see us back so soon, and frankly so was I. But Gina and us Humans did great on trail. I helped feed all the pups their dinner before spending a little but more quality time with Gina and her siblings in their kennel. Wow, I sure will miss her. If my dog wasn’t so picky about dog friends, I’d take her home in a heartbeat…which is surprising considering I’m not a big fan of small dogs. Gina isn’t your typical yappy, lazy, in your face small dog, but just the perfect companion to adventure with or to cuddle on the couch. She’ll make someone a great furry friend!
After dropping Gina off and taking my sweet time leaving the shelter, I continued on to Ashland for the night.
And thanks again to Ruffwear for helping make these trips possible by supplying us with top of the line gear for the shelter pups!