Tag Archives: dog camp

Catskill 3500: Picchu’s Peaks, 2009

Bob and I and the NYC Whippets packette have been tackling the 35 highest peaks in the Catskills. Our 2009 summits:

#9: Cornell Mountain, 3860 feet

Cornell Mtn: Biski, Bob, Picchu, June 12, 2009

Cornell Mtn: Biski, Bob, Picchu, October 11, 2009

#1: Slide Mountain, 4180 feet

Slide Mtn: Biski, Bob, Picchu, June 13, 2009

Slide Mtn, June 13

#11: Peekamoose Mountain, 3,843 feet

Peekamoose Mtn: Biski, Sesame, Picchu, Bob, August 7, 2009

#10: Table Mountain, 3,847 feet

Table Mtn: Picchu, Biski, Bob, August 7, 2009

#14: Wittenberg Mountain, 3,780 feet

Wittenberg Mtn: Bob & Picchu, October 11, 2009 (Picchu's Birthday!)

#6: Westkill Mountain, 3,880 feet

Westkill Mtn: Picchu & Bob, October 30, 2009

Picchu and Bob on Westkill: Even in the fog, we located the true summit!

Bob & Picchu on Westkill - a rare summit marker

#2: Hunter Mountain, 4,040 feet

Hunter Mtn: Bob and Biski, November 1, 2009

Hunter Mtn: Bob, Biski, Sesame, Picchu (front)

Shira and Sesame on Hunter

#27: Balsam Mountain, 3,600 feet

Balsam Mtn: Sesame, Biski, Bob, Picchu, November 20, 2009

Sesame on Balsam: "Peak, valley, it really makes no difference to me."

#29: Eagle Mountain, 3,600 feet

Eagle Mtn: Biski, Picchu, Bob, Sesame, November 21, 2009

Picchu and Bob on top of Eagle Mtn

Picchu: Pocket pup, hunting dog, hiking accessory or hand warmer?

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The Whippenberg

 

For Picchu’s second birthday Sunday we went on a mountain-climbing extravaganza in the Catskills. 

Bob and the Birthday Girl, Picchu

Bob and the Birthday Girl, Picchu, on our latest Catskills adventure

Bob, Biski and Sesame on the trail up Wittenberg

Bob, Biski and Sesame on the trail up Wittenberg, cliffy in parts

Destination: Mt. Wittenberg, the most massive mountain in the Catskills, so it is referred to as The Wittenberg.

We were wondering if a whippet pack has ever scaled it before, and in honor of our expedition, decided to re-name the mountain The Whippenberg.

Two nights, three day-long hikes, all meals and accommodations, um, carried by everyone but Picchu.

 

C-Biscuit and Sesame, sherpa whippets

C-Biscuit and Sesame, sherpa dogs

 

Sesame and Biski look for a way around the rock-scaling, but there isn't one

Sesame and Biski look for a way around the rock-scaling, but there isn't one

 

Why the pack wears harnesses/backpacks: "Ok, hoist them up!"

Why the dogs wear harnesses/backpacks: "Ok, hoist them up!"

 

The Whippenberg: Shira and the whippet pack atop Wittenberg

The Whippenberg: Shira and the whippet pack atop the mountain formerly known as The Wittenberg

 

Biski billygoating on top of the mountain

Biski billygoating on top of the mountain: "Will a pack member with opposable thumbs please step forward to release my lunch!"

 

Shira, Sesame, Biski, Picchu: Brrrrr

Shira, Sesame, Biski, Picchu: Brrrrr

 

Bob herds the whippets on a side excursion to Cornell Mtn

Bob herds the whippets on a side excursion to Cornell Mtn, overlooking Slide Mtn

 

The dogs huddling in the tent, shortly before moving into our double-wide sleeping bag

The dogs huddling in the tent, shortly before moving into our double-wide sleeping bag

 

There's one in every pack who refuses to observe check-out time

There's one in every pack who refuses to observe check-out time

 

After two nights in arctic temperatures, Bob & the packette are ready to head home

After two nights in arctic temperatures, Bob & the packette are ready to head home. Next stop: Rockettes audition!

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Hunting with Dogs (or not)

 

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu at Lake Minnewaska: Release the Hounds!

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu at Lake Minnewaska: Release the Hounds!

Sure, two of our whippets chase squirrels as if they’re prepared to live off the land. The third, Sesame, doesn’t seem to see squirrels but will always break ranks to snap his jaws on a fly.

Still, recent events leave me wondering if our dogs have any true, wolfy hunting instincts.

First, there are the snake encounters. Or rather, I encounter them. The dogs, apparently, do not see them, sense them, or smell them.

There's a reason I hike in back: Bob, Biski and Picchu supposedly clear the trail of wildlife

There's a reason I hike in back: Bob, Biski and Picchu supposedly clear the trail of wildlife

The first one we crossed was on a day hike this Spring in Harriman. Bob, Biski and Picchu hiked merrily ahead while I was suddenly confronted with a snake splayed across the trail. After I sent Bob back to investigate (and I’m skipping over my hysterics between the sighting and the investigating), he reported, “Well, I see why it wasn’t moving off the trail: It was busy eating a frog. Wow, I’m surprised the dogs missed that.”

Yeah, after all, why are we hiking with dogs, as a woodsy fashion accessory? No, to warn me of snakes! What kind of sighthounds are these? After all, the dogs love chasing tail, and what is a snake but all tail?

Hiking a half-mile with me perched on his back after the snake sighting should have taught Bob to look out for snakes himself if he had to. But I guess it didn’t. Because a couple weeks later, hiking around Lake Minnewaska, Bob decided we would take a short-cut. As we bush-whacked, again Bob, Biski and Picchu stepped right over what I was left to leap over announce as a “SNAKE!”

And I don’t mean a garter snake. This was the biggest snake I’ve seen since my fifth-grade class kept a 4-foot-long boa constrictor as a pet. (Alas, that did not desensitize me.)

“It’s HUGE!” I squirmed to Bob. “It’s a huge black snake! How could ALL of you miss that?!”

He backtracked to the scene of the snake, saying, “I’ve got to see this.” Clearly he was expecting to tell me it was only a root. He took a good look, then could only say, “It’s not black. It’s gray.”

Fun at dog day camp! "We are House Whippets, not Hunting Dogs!"

Fun at dog day camp! "We are House Whippets, not Hunting Dogs!"

So maybe I needed a greyhound to spot it?

But fine. Moving on to our latest camping trip. At the trail head, I caught Sesame jerking his head up and down – snout to dirt, snout in the air – repeatedly. “No!” I called to him, hoping he wouldn’t swallow whatever it was he was hunting. Then I saw what was going on: A little frog was hopping along, and Sesame was merely watching it, following along, up-down, up-down. That was fine with me, except aren’t dogs supposed to, you know, get it?

Our sighthounds are extremely good at spotting lunch, if it's packaged and ready to serve

Our sighthounds are extremely good at spotting lunch... if it's packaged and ready to serve

At the campsite we had another hunting scare. Sesame darted across the site, then I saw him pounce and grab something in his mouth. “Ohmygod, Sesame’s got something!” I yelled to Bob.

“DROP IT!” Bob told Sesame, while I went over to inspect the victim, which I thought might be one of those porcupines that John Burroughs writes about crawling all over the Catskills.

“Oh,” I told Bob before he arrived at the, shall we still call it, scene of the crime. “Never mind. It’s just, uh, a tennis ball.”

“A tennis ball? Where did he find that up here?”

If Bob wants to rough it, that’s fine. But why should the children suffer? “I brought it,” I told him. 

It wasn’t until the next day that he saw Sesame attacking a miniature bull, its eyes wide and horns shaking as Sesame whipped it around.  “I can’t believe you hauled that up the mountain,” Bob said. (“It doesn’t weigh anything,” I explained. “And Picchu was using it as a pillow.” So there.)

If the whippets aren’t going to scout and hunt for us, I figure we will have to do it for them. 

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Whippets in the Wild

 

Picchu, Biski, Shira and Sesame at the Table Mountain lean-to

Picchu, Biski, Shira and Sesame at the Table Mountain lean-to in the Catskills

Whippets are about as close to wolves living in the wild as we are to chimps swinging from the trees. However, seeing as Bob really does make a living swinging from trees, let’s not be hasty…even whippets can get along in the wilderness. For a limited time only. With a little help. 

Last week we took Sesame on his first expedition to the Catskills. Actually he’s from the Catskills, but from the look on his face as we walked past even the lean-to and pitched our tent in the rough on the side of Table Mountain, he seems to have about as much experience camping as George W. Bush does lassoing livestock at Crawford. 

Bob with Pack on bridge

Bob with Sesame, C-Biscuit and Picchu, preparing to ascend Table Mountain

 

Picchu shows Sesame that bridge crossings are not that treacherous

Picchu shows Sesame that bridge crossings are not that treacherous

 

Bob with Picchu and C-Biscuit at the Table Mountain Lean-to. Bob: "Isn't this nice? Walk on, we're not staying here."

Bob with Picchu and C-Biscuit, showing off their (Bob and Biski's) matching green backpacks and the lean-to near the top of Table Mountain. Bob: "Doesn't this lean-to look solid and secure? Walk on, we're not staying here."

 

Bob and Biski enjoying the look-out on Table Mountain. Sesame showed a healthy skepticism of cliffs and stayed well away from the edge.

Bob and Biski enjoying the look-out on Table Mountain. Sesame showed a healthy skepticism of cliffs and stayed well away from the edge.

 

Sesame surveys our usual camping set-up: girls resting in the tent, Bob looking down from a tree

Shira, Sesame (on lap) and Biski (front) settle into the shelter. Picchu is already curled up like a little bean in the folds of the down sleeping bag.

 

Picchu: "Trail bandit! Oh wait, that's Sesame."

Picchu: "Trail bandit! Oh wait, that's Sesame."

 

Bob and the pack on the top of Peekamoose

Bob herds the whippets on the rock at the (unspectacular - until you climb the nearest tree, which Bob did) top of Peekamoose Mountain

After Table Mountain, we camped in relative luxury (i.e. near the truck, meaning pita beds for the dogs, canned soup for us!) at the Neversink River.

Shira and Sesame sleeping tete-a-tete in the family "crate"

Morning in the family "crate:" Shira and Sesame sleeping tete-a-tete, Biski dreaming of unchaperoned squirrels

 

Two days on mountains brought out Sesame's billygoat side

Two days on mountains brought out Sesame's billygoat side

 

Sesame helping Daddy with the dishes

Sesame helping Daddy fish for breakfast (...riiight)

 

The Wild Whippets feasting at the breakfast buffet

Our wild whippets feasting more or less like their wolf cousins: cheek-to-cheek at an imported, organic breakfast buffet.

 

Hope this pack of wild whippets isn't scaring the wildlife!

Hope the Wild Whippet pack isn't scaring the (other) wildlife! Next stop: New York City

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DIY Dog Camp

 

Happy canine campers

Happy canine campers

I’ve been wanting to go to dog camp in Vermont with C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu (and Bob, of course!). But it costs more than Sesame, so for sure isn’t in the budget this year.

In the meantime, we decided to do-it-yourself dog camp by taking the pups camping in the Catskills. It’s not as social as dog camp – for them or us – but still tons of fun, for a very low cost!

 

 

 

We hiked into the clouds ascending Slide Mountain

We hiked into the clouds ascending Slide Mountain

 

Retracing the steps of writer John Burroughs

Retracing the steps of writer John Burroughs

 

And the next day took an excursion up Cornell Mountain

And the next day took an excursion up Cornell Mountain

 

The pups often needed a helping hand to get up the rock faces

The pups often needed a helping hand to get up the rock faces (this was easier when they were wearing their Ruffwear harnesses)

 

But the views atop Cornell Mountain were worth it!

But the views atop Cornell Mountain were worth it!

 

Our luxe accommodations included a large "pup tent" and kitchenette

Our luxe accommodations included a "pup tent" with doublewide sleeping bag and detached kitchenette

 

The girls enjoyed close encounters with wildlife

Picchu enjoyed a close encounter with wildlife (interestingly, the Bee smelled just like home!)

 

Activities included "Rock climbing"

Activities included "Rock climbing"...

 

Morning "doga" (or at least a riverside walk)

Morning "doga" by the river...

 

Trail running...

Trail running...

 

Sniffing...

Power sniffing...

 

And on the third day, a bit of rest

And on the third day, a bit of rest

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