Solo Adventuring as a Woman

We live in a world that tells us things that women are not supposed to do. Now I’m not going to get into the “men vs women rights”, but one thing we’re definitely told we shouldn’t do is adventure outside alone. I could develop deeper into it and tell you that a lot of that belief stems from the concept that women are more defenseless than men, but we’re not going to get into that either. I’m just here to tell you that you can go against the grain and adventure outside without a man or a group. Here are a few simple tips to taking a solo adventure:

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The first thing you need to do is do your research!
Know the animals you may encounter and how to interact with them. I know all sensible thought goes out the window if you’re startled by big wildlife like a moose or bear, but try to keep a calm head and remember what you learned.
Under this category we will also place know your trail! Look into the area you’ll be going. Research the trailhead and destination(s). Know your trail and stick to it. If you’re going on a trail that isn’t clearly marked or deep in the backcountry, bring any navigation tools you need.

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Be prepared!
Do a checklist before you leave and make sure you have what you need. I strongly advise bringing something to protect yourself with. I always hike with a knife, and outside of the summer I also carry pepper spray. I have a few out of state friends who hike with firearms, but if you are qualified to conceal a gun, you still need to know if the area you’re hiking in allows you to carry. If you’re hiking in bear country, you can consider packing bear spray. I hike in bear country with black bears only and choose not to, but that’s just a personal choice. If you’re hiking in grizzly territory, I’m going to strongly advise you from solo hiking there at all. I’m not going to teach a bear class, but I have taken one, and it’s just not a good idea to solo hike where a grizzly could be, no matter your gender.

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Use common sense.
Make sure you tell people close to you exactly where you’ll be and around what time you’ll be expected back, just in case. But then I’m also going to go the opposite direction and strongly advise you to not advertise your very location to people you aren’t super close with. Don’t post on social media “hey I’m going on a hike/camp out alone at this exact location!” Chances are nothing is going to happen to you, but you also don’t know who is reading your stuff. You could have some super crazy sadistic person following your every move and you just gave them what they were looking for. Be smart about the information you share and whom you share it with.
A lot of things can be put under these three words of advice, but I’m not going to cover every single one of them. Like I’m not going to tell you to not wrap yourself in a huge piece of meat and go dancing through the woods alone, because that’s just a no brainer. And gross. Just use common sense!

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Tune into those senses. 
Now you may have noticed that my dog is in all of my “solo hiking” pictures, because duh, I bring him on every hike. So if you solo hike with your dog, that usually puts you at an advantage than ladies who are 100% on their own. I say usually because I’ve met a couple dogs that could really be the downfall of their human in the outdoors, but I digress.
If you have a dog, and we’ll just say a dog like mine, then you have the advantage of tuning into your dog’s senses. They can usually tell you more of what’s going on than you can see at first. When my dog senses an “unwelcome” visitor, he perks his ears and focuses on the direction he heard them. If his thoughts are confirmed, he lets out a low “warning” growl. If somebody comes too close to me, which in this case I’m already aware of the potential danger, he will bark and snarl. My beautiful boy is very protective of his mama.
But again, I digress. The point is, let your senses go hand in hand with your dog. If you are not with a dog, let your senses speak to you. Pay attention to nature. The more you go outdoors the more you may be able to tell the difference in welcome and unwelcome silences. This is where you can really allow yourself to be “one with nature”, which is a beautiful feeling.

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If you want to start going on a few solo hikes, I recommend your first being a trail you already know. You’ll probably be the most scared your first time, so somewhere familiar can help a lot with that. Just be confident in yourself, your abilities, and the work you’ve put in to preparing yourself for the trail. Now get out there and explore more!

Thanks for reading!
Miranda + Loki

 

Roadtripping With Your Dog

Taking your dog on a roadtrip is definitely fun, but it does take a little extra work. I’ve written something like this before, but I decided to do a refresher. Here are our top tips when roadtripping with your dog:

  1. Don’t forget about safety!
    When taking your dog on the road, you need to think about their safety. It’s up to you to decide the best way to protect your dog, but for us, we use a car harness. Remember that accidents definitely happen and it’s super important to keep your dog’s safety in mind.seatbelt
  2. Do your homework.
    Make sure where you’re going is dog friendly. Trails, campgrounds, hotels… You need to research wherever you are going to know if your dog is even allowed. Check that your campsite allows pets and if the trail you’re hiking is fido friendly. If you’re booking a hotel room, most places have rooms specific for dogs. You need to make sure the hotel is aware you are bringing a dog so they can get you in a dog friendly room to avoid any problems at check-in or a hefty “undisclosed dog fee” that most places charge.hotelroom
  3. Keep your dog comfortable.
    I know all circumstances are different, but try your best at this one. Try to keep your dog hydrated. Give them a place to lie down. And when it comes to food, avoid feeding them at least 30 minutes before a car ride. A lot of dogs have a bit of anxiety when on the road (even if it is just minor), so feeding them right before you leave could really upset their stomach.
    If they are on a feeding schedule, try to stick as close to it as possible while working with your plans.
    It’s super handy to know how your dog handles car rides and the signs they give. Some people result to using a calming aid when taking a roadtrip with their dog.
    Also think about keeping their favorite toy with them. It may seem silly to some, but little comforts can go a long way.img_4134
  4. Bring a first aid kit.
    I learned the hard way how important a dog first aid kit is. Don’t underestimate the importance of them!
    I have 2 dog first aid kits. A small one that goes in my pack and a bigger one that stays in my vehicle.
    The small kit consists of the very essentials: tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, Benadryl (talk to your vet about this one), gauze, vet tape, and a wound care spray.
    The car kit has all of this as well, plus a handful of extras. Make sure the things you are using in your kit are made for dogs or are safe for dogs.firstaid
  5. Let your dog have fun.
    Don’t jam-pack your days with so much that you’re constantly on the move. Let your dog get out to stretch their legs and smell the smells. I believe dogs enjoy the views just as much as we do, if not more ūüėČ
    So get out and have fun with your furry best friend!IMG_9577
    Miranda + Loki

Being Your Dog’s Best Friend

Loving your dog is great, but building a strong bond with them is so much better! Loki is my best friend and I encourage you to make your dog your’s as well. Here are some¬†tips you can¬†use to help become best buds with your doggo:

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Be loving. For us, this means lots of hugs and cuddles. There are many dogs that don’t like that though, so you could go with speaking kindly to them and ear or belly scratches. They take simple things as big gestures. Giving your dog a body rub shows them your attention, which is huge. And yes, talking to your pup is highly encouraged. Your dog is not just a dog, they are family.

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Be their companion. Spend time with your dog! Don’t always go out and do stuff while leaving your dog locked up or home alone. It drives me absolutely crazy when someone gets a dog and then barely acknowledges their existence.
One of the biggest bonding moments I have with my pup is spending time in the outdoors. Playing in the wild together really strengthens our connection.
Also, when I’m on the couch reading, I scratch my mutt’s fluff butt with my foot. That action right there is so simple, but speaks¬†volumes to him.

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Be a safe haven. Don’t push your dog too far; build an environment that makes them feel cared for. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and study it in all situations so you can have a better read on how they’re feeling. This will help you react appropriately and help them back into their comfort zone if needed.
When disciplining Loki, I go with the “firm, but¬†loving” technique. Instead¬†of anger, I use disappointment. When he does something wrong,¬†in a strong voice I ask him why he¬†would do that.¬†I¬†show disappointment in him, like¬†placing my hands on my hips and¬†making eye contact while I ask him why and he¬†goes crazy¬†with guilt.
Never beat your dog. You hit them, I hit you.
I kid. But seriously.

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Be encouraging. Give your dog lots of praise and be super over enthusiastic about it. I’m talking about if¬†he sits when asked, pretend he just¬†saved the world.¬†The tone in your voice usually says a lot more to a dog¬†than the words¬†themselves.
Show them you are happy to be in their company.

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Building a strong¬†bond with¬†my dog is honestly one¬†of the best things I’ve done. It makes all of our adventures so much better. It even makes our hanging-around-the-house moments so much better too.
Treat your dog like a family member and a best friend, and get to spending more time with them!

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Miranda + Loki

Dog First Aid

A first aid kit for your dog is very important to keep on hand. You don’t want to learn the hard way their level of importance. Even if you never end up using it, which is what we all hope for, it is still really crucial to have.
I have two dog first aid kits: a small one that I keep in my backpack with the absolute essentials (in my opinion) and a bigger one that I keep in my vehicle.

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My small first aid kit has things I would like to have on hand right away like gauze, wound spray, vet tape, tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, and Benadryl (consult your vet before using).

My larger kit has everything listed above, plus a lot more:

Alcohol and antiseptic wipes (made for dogs)
Cold press
Q-tips
Scissors
Loki’s proof of¬†rabies¬†vaccination
Plastic syringe (for cleaning out wounds)
Styptic powder (stops bleeding in minor cuts)
Dog first aid handbook
and a lot more.

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A lot of people I know carry hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in their dog in case of poisoning, but I would definitely consult a vet before deciding to do this.

Along with first aid, think about keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations and consider getting preventive care that caters to your adventures. If you’ll be in an area with lots of ticks, get them on tick prevention. Same goes for areas with lots of rattlesnakes. There is a vaccine¬†that helps neutralize the venom, although your dog will¬†still have to be taken to the vet ASAP.

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You can also go the extra mile and carry things that could come in handy¬†like a dog boot or an emergency blanket.¬†Talk to a vet¬†to see what they would¬†recommend for your¬†best friend’s¬†kit. You can definitely customize it to the needs of your dog, area, and adventure, but just make sure to have something!

Miranda + Loki

 

Basic Guidelines: Camping With Dogs

The weather is warming up around here so “camping season” is within reach. Here I’ll share with you some basic guidelines to camping with a dog.

  1. Practice could make perfect.
    If this is your dog’s first time camping and you’re worried about how they’ll do in a tent, don’t be afraid to try it out first. Set up a tent in your living room or yard and encourage them to go hang out in it with you for a little bit. Bring some toys and treats and let them know a tent is a positive thing!

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  2. Be aware.
    If you’re camping at a campground, make sure you know their rules for dogs. Most places require your dog to be leashed while in the campground. If you’re in the backcountry, the rules are more relaxed, but please try to make sure when choosing a place to camp that it is already a campsite. Follow the “leave no trace” guidelines.

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  3. Be prepared.
    Check the weather report, possible wildlife in the area, and if the campground is even open and allows dogs. It’s good to know the possible setbacks or dangers that your pup might face. Bring a doggy first aid kit just to be safe.

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  4. Know your dog.
    There are a couple things that fall under this category. For starters, it’s good to know the signs your dog gives to tell if they are too anxious or scared. That can be tricky if this is a new dog, but the more time you spend with them in the outdoors, the faster you catch on to their tails…
    (See what I did there? Tails, tells… No? Okay, moving on…)
    The second thing is definitely optional, like all of this since you can do whatever you want, but think about deciding if a dog sleeping bag is for your dog. Does your dog have short hair? Do they get cold easily? Do they like to be covered? Are they small enough to fit in it? Dogs get cold too, but that doesn’t mean they want a sleeping bag.
    Loki does not like to be in a sleeping bag and doesn’t fit in any that are made for dogs anyway, so that problem was decided quickly for us.
    The final one here is to bring something that could feel like home to your dog (besides you), like their favorite toy or treat or pillow.

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  5. Don’t forget the food!
    This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve actually heard a handful of stories where people forgot to pack dog food when going camping. I always make a list and check it twice ūüėČ
    When camping, we always have other activities planned. We don’t just hang out at the campsite all day, so since my dog is active, I always pack more food and water than I’m expecting we’ll need. The more active they are, the more food and water they’ll need.

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  6. Spend time with your dog. Duh.
    So now that you have a basic picture in mind of how you’ll go camping with your dog, pack up your stuff and go! Make sure you curl up in a tent with your furry BFF and try to get in some cuddle time while enjoying your night in the great outdoors.

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    Miranda + Loki

Ruffwear Powder Hound review

I bought the Ruffwear Powder Hound jacket for Loki for our snowshoeing trips in deep snow. I wanted a jacket that had more coverage than the one he uses in the fall. There are a few things I really love about this jacket so I’ll share my opinions about it here.

1. The coverage:
It has little “sleeves” and a long enough body to provide nice coverage. It doesn’t cover too much though, so your dog is still able to go to the bathroom while wearing it. There is a zipper down the side that makes it easy to put on and take off. I was worried that it might zip his fur in it, but it has a nice piece of fabric¬†on the¬†inside that goes between the zipper and fur.
2. Holds strong against the elements:
The material is soft, but strong. Loki can leap into a pile of snow and come out dry. In fact, he’s done that many times.¬†It also works great in a snow storm.¬†This is a real essential item to our all day snowshoeing trips.
3. It’s super adorable.
That’s all I really need to say about that.

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The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it causes Loki to shed more than normal, and all that fur sticks to it so I have to lint roll it when I take it off of him.
But that’s only a small flaw to me, so overall it’s super worth it for our all day snowshoe trips.
If you’re going to get this jacket, make sure to measure your dog and follow the chart on ruffwear.com. Seriously. I’ve made the mistake of not measuring before, and it’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time and is worth it.

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Happy adventuring friends!
Miranda + Loki

Our Top Guidelines to Snowshoeing

The very first thing we do for snowshoeing is check the weather and conditions.
Don’t only check the weather forecast, check the avalanche warning and trail conditions. Most of the time I just type in my inquiries to a search engine.

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Tell someone where you’ll be and a general estimate of when you’ll return.
Let people close to you know the area you’ll be in and what time you’re expecting to come back, just in the off chance that something goes wrong. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even print out a map of the area you’re planning to be and write down your plans on it.

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Dress for the weather.
If you’re going on a sunny day, don’t wear too many layers. You may even¬†be slightly cold at first, but you’ll warm up once you get going on the trail.
If you’re going with rain or snow in the forecast, wear waterproof clothing!
It is absolutely miserable to be soaked in the cold. I wear a waterproof down jacket and waterproof soft shell snow pants.

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Generally snowshoeing takes a little longer than a normal hike or walk. Plan accordingly. Give yourself extra time than you normally would on a trail. Some people go from point A to point B, but I like to enjoy the area and snowshoeing is a great way to explore all your snowy surroundings.

Strap on your snowshoes and go have fun!
If you are looking for snowshoes or any snowshoeing gear, here is a coupon code for 40% off on regular priced items from Yukon Charlies (yukoncharlies.com) that is good until January 30th 2017: YUKONCHARLIESLOVE

Happy Adventuring!

Miranda + Loki

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