Patronus and I pulled in to the parking lot for the trailhead just after 3:00 P.M.
After taking some time to get our packs situated, we made our way to the edge of the lake where the trail begins. We had a 7 mile hike ahead of us before we would get to camp.
Side by side, we trudged on through the woods along the rocky, hilly trail, carrying on our backs everything we would need for our first overnight backpacking trip together.
Although the forecast was promising, the humidity in the air made the warm temperatures seem a bit hotter than they were. We took care to stop for a water break every mile or two along the way.
The first thing we did when we got to camp was take a trip to the pump so we could rehydrate. After giving Patronus a chance to drink the cold, refreshing, running water, I refilled all of our bottles before heading back to our site to set up camp.
Patronus may or may not have gotten a little muddy after drinking and playing in the water and then laying down to rest in the dirt.
Patronus stood guard over me while I set up camp. Nobody was going to sneak up on our campsite while he was on watch!
Finally, it was time for dinner! I had a cup of chili, some peanut noodles, a few gummy bears, and a handful of chips. Patronus scarfed down a couple treats and some dog food.
After dinner, Patronus decided it was time to bark and roll in the dirt for a while.
Then, we sat outside together watching the sunset over the lake.
Once the sun went down, it started to get pretty mosquito-y, so we decided to call it a night. Patronus slept peacefully while I rubbed his belly and sat up reading my book by the light of my headlamp.
There were some annoying people out partying on the lake until after 3:00 A.M., but eventually I drifted off to sleep as well.
I awoke to the sound of Patronus growling and barking a little after sunrise. Through the door of our tent, I could see what I thought might be a coyote sniffing around near our bear canister! (I would later find out that it was just another camper’s [unfriendly] dog who had been tied up outside and escaped.)
I think it’s pretty safe to say that neither Patronus nor myself are “morning people”, so once things finally calmed down, we spent a some time relaxing in our tent together.
I think we both would have liked to stay in bed for a bit longer, but I knew it was important to get an early start on our hike to avoid the heat as much as possible, so eventually we had to hit the trail.
The hike out was shorter and mostly shaded, which was nice. There were also lakes and streams to look at, which made the hike a bit more interesting.
We took a couple of water breaks to help keep cool in spite of the humidity.
Patronus made sure to greet every mountain biker, trail runner, and hiker we saw along the way. He made a lot of friends that day.
And just like that we were back at the trailhead!
I got the pump near the trailhead going so Patronus could have some cold water to drink and play in. Then I let him take a quick nap in the shade before we made our way to the car, loaded up the trunk with our packs, and got ready to make the drive home.
Overall, I was super proud of Patronus. This was his first backpacking trip AND our first solo trip together, and he handled it like a pro!