With summer rapidly approaching, if you're anything like us, you're probably already planning this year's epic camping trips. Dogs, of course, get to come along for the best weekend of their lives. This might even be your first summer camping with your new quarantine pup! Alex (@adventuresibes) shares her first overnight adventure with nine month old Mika...
I'm in my tent, barely awake, my body refusing to let my mind open to the world, enjoying the birds' songs as they awake in the morning. My older dog Kyra comes to lay next to me as she does every camp morning to get in those extra snuggles before the rest of the world starts their day. It is my little puppy Mika's first morning on her first real camping trip. Mika wakes up and promptly begins pacing around, whining and crying, jolting me awake-awake at the unearthly hour of 5:40 AM.
I get up, thinking “It’s the morning; she'll go to the bathroom and will come back into the tent and go back to sleep for at least another hour, like she usually does at home.” So I sleepily slip on my shoes, climb out of the tent and walk her around. After she's done her business, I crawl back into my tent and snuggle back into my sleeping bag, eyes closed, ready for just a few more minutes of sleep. But just as my mind slowly starts to drift back into that dream state... that puppy is up again. I know she doesn’t have to go to the bathroom; she probably just needs a moment to realize we aren’t leaving the tent and she will settle. Nope. Instead of a little whimper and whine, she starts to yelp. Loudly. I really don’t want her to wake up everyone else at camp.
Mika knows her other dog friends are out there in their tents, and she is awake and ready to play. Of course, she expects everyone in our tent, and everyone in the surrounding tents to wake up and play as well. Great, just what we all want at 6am!
Puppies are hard enough when you’re home, which doesn’t make them any easier sleeping in an unfamiliar tent in an unfamiliar campground. But, to Mika's credit, other than the early morning tent issue, my new pup caught on to camping pretty quickly.
We all eventually wake up and climb out of the tents to wait for our friends to wake. We cook breakfast, watch the dogs wrestle and explore, and plan what we want to do for the day. For us, usually that first day means going on a hike and getting their energy out so we all can be a little lazy and relax for the rest of the trip.
This camping trip, we chose to do one of my favorite hikes in the High Uintas Wilderness located near Kamas, Utah. This spot was really special to my first dog Aleu, who had passed last September. It seemed like the perfect choice to dedicate this camping trip to her memory.
After the hike, we head back to camp with some happy and tired pups. They lay by the cars in the shade, on our camping chairs, or right at our feet. Mika settled in pretty quickly, following Kyra 24/7. Kyra is a pretty lazy dog at home, and an even lazier camper, so she always goes right to a comfy spot to snooze, and so did Mika.
When the evening arrives and the sky gets dark, Kyra likes to be put to bed. No joke, she will throw a tantrum, yelping and barking, running to the tent to be let inside. Mika, however, takes that opportunity to become your Velcro dog. She will climb into your lap, curling up into that tight little cinnamon roll, falling asleep. Still outside where she can be her busybody self, but also in a space that is comfortable and near. This part of camping is truly my favorite. The campfire is crackling, we’re making s'mores, drinking with friends, playing music, watching our sleepy and tired pups, knowing that we have given them one of their best days ever.
On the second morning, I'm thinking that Mika HAS to sleep in a little bit later considering how tired she was yesterday, right? Wrong. Again, it's about 6am, and she's whimpering and crying to get out of the tent to see her friends and start the day. We're all pretty tired, but who can get mad at that face?
Our second day in the wilderness, we decided to hang out around camp, listen to music, drink coffee, eat wonderful food, drink some seltzers, lay in our hammocks, enjoying each other's company and the incredible feeling you get simply from being out in the wilderness.
Mika continues to get more comfortable camping each time we go. Camping with puppies, and a stubborn puppy at that, is difficult and sometimes incredibly frustrating, but it's also pretty wonderful to watch the bewilderment and excitement enter her eyes and the grin she has on her face being outdoors. I wish I could go back to that very first time I took her camping, and see her romp out of the tent to start the day with so much tenacity. We can't wait for camping season this summer!