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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Top Trail Etiquette Tips

Lately on the trails I’ve seen a lot of things that make me shake my head and think about why we can’t be more respectful to each other and this beautiful planet. So here are my top 3 trail etiquette tips I believe every dog owner should follow:

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  1. It should be well known that it is polite to move to the side to let others pass, but I think it’s so important for dog owners. Some people on the trail aren’t comfortable with dogs, and even though I think those people are straight crazy (I kid… kind of), they should feel just as comfortable in the outdoors as you do. So pull your dog to the side, and if your pup isn’t trail trained, make sure to keep a hand firmly on their collar or leash.

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    2. Follow the leave no trace guidelines and pick up after your dog! Dog bags are so small and you can get a little carrying case for them, so there really isn’t a good excuse for not bringing some with you on the trail. Pick up any garbage you have from their treats (or your own).

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    3. Don’t have a water break on the trail. Especially on busy trails. Find a spot to the side for any break. Again, some people aren’t comfortable with an adorable fluff butt mutt, and wont want to try and pass when your dog is smack dab in the middle of the trail.

    Just remember, we need to share the outdoors with others and it’s better if we just all get along and make the experience great for everyone.

    Thanks for reading along,

    Miranda + Loki

Dressing For a Winter Hike

Lately I’ve had a handful of people ask me for tips on what to wear when hiking in the winter. I find this funny since I was trying to figure out this very thing a year ago, but I’ve finally come up with some guidelines I follow.

Careful with the layers. It’s important to layer, but it’s also important to not have too many layers. I’ve read multiple articles saying to have 3 layers, and that’s fine, but that’s not what I do.
My first layer is usually a thermal. You never want to wear cotton as your base layer when doing outdoor activities in the winter, because to keep it simple, you will freeze.
My second layer is usually either a windbreaker (on a warmer day) or my down jacket. Both are water resistant, which is key! Water resistant outerwear not only protects from rain and snow, but I can also use it to sit on when resting because it won’t get me wet and it won’t stay wet once I pick it off the ground.
Be warm enough to get you started, but don’t over layer. You will get warmer while putting in the work, which might result in you taking layers off. Just remember, you have to carry what you take with you. Which is another reason I love my down jacket, it packs down nice and small to stuff in my pack.

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Keep your head warm. Wear a beanie or winter hat. Beanies are a muuuust for me. The right ones are comfy and keep your heat in. Another plus side to beanies is you can shove them in your pack and they hardly take up room.

Ladies, my favorite bottoms to wear are thermal leggings. I also have a pair of windproof, waterproof soft shell snow pants which are awesome for a snow day. But if I won’t have much contact with the ground, my thermal leggings are my go to for hiking and snowshoeing. They’re light, super easy to move in, and keep my legs toasty warm.

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Snow boots! Waterproof boots are very important for the winter. It doesn’t hurt to get ones that are also insulated. If you are going to be snowshoeing, you don’t really need to worry about how the traction on bottom is. But if you’re taking a hike with just the boots, you’ll definitely want to worry about that. I wear a pair of Keen boots, which are waterproof and insulated, but not so great on the traction. I’m still obsessed with them though.

Socks and thermal socks.
I always wear a regular pair of socks against my feet and then my big, warm thermal socks over them.

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Gloves. Windproof, waterproof. Don’t really need to say more than that. Although I will add that it is handy to have them touch screen compatible for me.

Extras: On some trips I will bring hand warmers. My gloves have little pockets on the outside I can put them in, which is awesome.
Sunglasses help you from going “snowblind” on a sunny day.
First aid kit is smart to keep around in your pack, no matter the season. I keep a small one with an emergency blanket added.

Half of my winter gear I bought at Costco, which saved me a ton of money on stuff that still works great.

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Looking for snowshoes? Shop around! It’s important to get ones you like and that feel right. Don’t be afraid to try on many different ones if you’re shopping in person. You can shop poles and shoes online at Yukon Charlie’s, or a bunch of other places.
You can also check out your local REI or other outdoor stores to look at renting snowshoes before you commit to buying some.

Happy winter friends! Get out and find an adventure right for you. Don’t let the weather keep you in!

Thanks for reading,
Miranda and Loki

Top Tips For Hiking With Dogs In The Winter

Hiking, or snowshoeing, with your dog in the winter can be just as fun as hiking with them in other seasons. Or even more. Here are my top tips for hiking with dogs in the winter:

  1. First thing to do is check that the area you’re planning to visit allows dogs. It also helps to check if that area is even accessible in the winter and to have a backup plan if not.img_5894
  2. Start off slow. Hiking in snow is usually more work than on solid ground. If you don’t usually venture out in the snow, start with a shorter trip to see how your dog handles it.
  3. Take frequent breaks. Don’t just plan on a “start to finish” hike. Hiking in the snow already takes longer as it is, but you need to also account for breaks in your hike. Make sure to have lots of treats and/or trail food for dogs on hand. They need the extra fuel that those provide. Our go to is Zukes. They have plenty of options for treats that boost a dog mid-hike.img_5528
  4. Keep your dog hydrated! Since it’s colder out, you may not think that they need as much water, but makes sure to still offer them plenty. They might not drink it, but it’s best to have that option there. Also make sure they drink plenty after the hike.img_5530
  5. It’s always handy to know the signs of hypothermia in dogs. Symptoms like excessive shivering, weakness/tiredness, slow and shallow breathing, and lack of alertness are all things to watch out for.
  6. Care for those paws! Whether it’s cute little boots or a product like Musher’s Secret, keep those paws protected. Dog’s paws can handle a lot in all different kinds of terrain, but it’s still important to care for them whether it be before, after, or during the hike. If you choose to put a product on, do it before and after the hike. Before for the protection and after for the conditioning.
    If they aren’t wearing boots, clean between your dog’s toes when taking a break. If they clean their paws themselves, they’re just more likely to get more snow stuck on by adding that extra moisture.img_2403
  7. Look into the many options of jackets and coats. Short fur dogs or dogs that get cold easily will need these more than long coats. Loki uses his jackets on trips longer than a couple hours with temperatures below 35 F
  8. Don’t let your dog near edges of cliffs or mountains. Snow can cause a false sense of solid ground and it could easily cave in and take your dog down with it. Let them run and play and be a dog but keep an eye out.img_5875
  9. And finally, after you and your adventure pup have made it home safely, give them a good rubdown. Work their paws, legs, hips, and anything else. It’s tough work on muscles no matter how active they are! Thanks for following along,   Miranda and Loki

Exploring Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is located in Escalante in Southern Utah. It is a dog friendly hike, which is what we’re all about!
You can camp at the trailhead campsite for $15 a night, but there are a very limited number of campgrounds and you can’t reserve them. Otherwise there are a few other places to camp that you can find online within decent driving distance.
Lower Calf Creek Falls is 6 miles RT but it’s not too difficult as it is mostly level with no major ups and downs. It does feel like a long hike and it can get super hot. I do not recommend doing this in the middle of the day, unless it’s really cloudy, because there is hardly any shade. 

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This trail is mostly sand, which can be difficult to walk in. It can also get way too hot for you dog’s paws in the middle of the day. So again, I don’t recommend doing this at that time. There are a lot of cactus to the sides of the trail and off the trail, and the trail is pretty narrow most of the way, so watch those playful pups! This hike is totally worth it though. It features a beautiful waterfall and if you go early in the morning, you’ll usually have little to no people there with you. We had fun throwing Loki’s Ruffwear lunker before we headed out for the 3 miles back.

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We were lucky enough to be able to go on this trip that was sponsored by a company called Zukes. Loki is obsessed with their treats and he really enjoyed having the Zukes Power Bones for a natural pick-me-up while relaxing in our Grand Trunk hammock.

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In conclusion, I highly recommend taking your dog to Lower Calf Creek Falls if you’re in the area. Always check the conditions, pack enough water for you and your dog, and be smart about when you do this trail. Remember to enjoy the scenery, pack out what you pack in (my pocket was full of garbage), and have a great time in the outdoors with your pup(s)!

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Thanks for reading,

Miranda and Loki

My Top 3 Dog Friendly Places in Utah

When in our home state, wherever we explore has to be dog friendly because we don’t leave the dogs out of it. We haven’t explored Zions for this very reason and we’ve only been on the outskirts of other National Parks in Utah. We love finding as many awesome dog friendly places as we can. I’m going to list my very top 3, though I may be a bit vague in places, for personal reasons, mainly as to not give away some of our favorite secluded spots. I would be more than happy to share with you individually more specifics on our favorite places to roam if you inquire, as long as you promise to keep them relatively quiet and follow the “leave no trace” rules.

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  1. American Fork Canyon
    Located in Utah County, this canyon is full of endless activities for us. Between Tibble Fork (currently under construction), Silver Lake, Scout Falls, and a handful of other favorite trails and places, there is always something to do here.
    In winter we snowshoe, summer we kayak, and spring and fall are perfect for hiking and backpacking. And it’s all dog friendly! With the exception of the Timpanogas Caves, the reason I’ve never been.
    Dog leash rules are very relaxed, but use common sense and courtesy. If it’s a busy trail or another person is coming by and your dog isn’t trail trained, throw on that leash. We recommend a colorful Wolfpack one 😉

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  2. “The Uintas” or Uinta Mountains
    First of all, I want to start off by saying it is NOT spelled “Uintah”. I don’t know why, but that drives me banana sandwich when I see it spelled that way.
    Now I put “The Uintas” in quotations because this is not the formal name. Technically, the Uinta National Forest covers a very large part of Utah. But when I say The Uintas, I am referring to anywhere out near Kamas.
    There are so many bodies of water here, for those of you who have a dog like mine who would probably be a fish in another life. Also, a lot of areas where people don’t frequent, so your dog is free to run and play and be an adorable, happy ball of energy. Fair warning, this is one of the busiest places I’ve seen in Utah in the summer.

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  3. Goblin Valley State Park
    This one I have “recommendation restrictions” on. I totally recommend taking your dog here… Just please don’t take your dog here in the middle of the summer! It can get so so super hot and your dog doesn’t need that on their paws or body. I can barely handle it in the summer time and I’m not wearing a fur coat.
    Goblin Valley does have a rule on keeping your dog leashed inside the park, but I’ll let you in on an insider secret: Goblin Valley covers a nice chunk of land so as long as you are in a spot with nobody around and your dog is pretty well trained, we’ve found out they don’t mind if you let them play off leash a little bit. Just remember to use common sense in those situations.

    As always with any of these areas, and anywhere you explore, I have 4 major pleads:

    PLEASE keep your dog hydrated!
    PLEASE follow the “leave no trace” guidelines! Pick up after yourself and your dog.
    PLEASE be respectful of others and the beautiful land you are on!
    And finally, PLEASE enjoy the time you get to spend with your furry best friend(s)!

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