Jan 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm #1283746
My brother who is about to graduate from high school, my 2 year old german sheperd/border collie mix and myself are going to be vagabonding/backpacking for the next two years and have been saving up money for a while to support this, although we plan to live as cheaply as possible. We are planning to do the PCT this coming summer when we are bother out of school( I am currently a sophomore in college). We are both in very good shape and are confident in our skills overall. I have read that certain parts of California do not allow dogs on the PCT. I have a few friends who have done the entire PCT with their animals and they had no problems so I'm not entirely sure if it is illegal and enforced or just frowned upon. When we complete the PCT we are planning on Hiking to South America with the intent of eventually making our way to Patagonia and completing the loops they have down there for a month or so. Anyone who has done anything like this feel free to drop words of wisdom. My biggest concern is the safety of my dog when travelling through South America and keeping him well fed. My brother and I can live on virtually nothing, he however needs much more substance. I will be updating this frequently if it takes of at all. One last addition, If there are any gear experts out their who can think of some items that are great for any climate throw out some names. We currently run an ultralight tarp/stake/trekking pole setup for most weather conditions because of how light it is and how easy it is to setup. I realize in Patagonia a mountaineering tent may be needed. Thanks for the help! (Edit: We already have a lot of gear and are essentially set for the PCT as far as gear goes, unless we decide to go the tent route.Jan 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm #1820298
The PCT goes through a number of national parks. Dogs aren't allowed in wilderness areas of any NPS (also includes National Monuments), I believe, which causes problems in the Sierra.Jan 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm #1820303
Dogs are allowed in many national parks but not all by any means. I know of at least 5 people who have done the PCT in the last 2 years with their dogs, however they may have gotten lucky.Jan 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm #1820309
I am certain dogs are not allowed in wilderness areas of Sequoia or Yosemite.Jan 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm #1820318
Yes like I said dogs are not allowed in some National parks, I am merely asking if anyone has done the PCT or backpacked in South America with their dogs. I have friends who have done the PCT with dogs so I know some people do it even if it is illegal.Jan 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm #1820319
Q. Are dogs permitted on the PCT?
A. Dogs are permitted on the PCT except in areas administered by the National Park Service and in the five California State Parks through which the trail passes.
I love hiking with my dog. I've been to a few places where prior research said no dogs allowed, or only on leashes, and then when I arrived the rule didn't seem enforced or there were signs that simply said "keep your dog under control". My experiences are east though, not out west. I was doing research on the JMT and the dog situation when I saw this information above. I hope it works out for you and your beast. Post back what you find out if you can, I'm interested.
JohnnyJan 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm #1820326
From talking to my friends it seems that there are areas you pass through in California where dogs are not allowed, although with a well trained dog you get a slap on the hand if anything. Does anyone have any insights on backpacking through South America with a dog. From my preliminary research it should be no problem as dogs run wild all over South America and sustain themselves while still being friendly to the local populations. It seems as if bringing my own would be no issue. The reason I want to bring him is both for the companionship as well as protection. He is about 80lbs and has kept a cougar at bay for about 10 minutes until it decided to run that wandered into our camp about 15 feet from our tarp here in Oregon. I just cant leave him behind now.Jan 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm #1820347
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
If you plan to take your dog into places where he is illegal, you may be in for a nasty surprise.
Dogs are most definitely not allowed on trails in the national parks. The one exception I know of is in Washington State, where they can be taken on the portions of the PCT within Mt. Rainier NP and North Cascades NP if kept on leash at all times. If you're caught with a dog on the PCT anywhere else in a national park (such as Yosemite, Sequoia or Lassen), you'll get a ticket with big fine and will be escorted to the nearest exit. The same is true with the several California state parks through which the PCT runs–absolutely no dogs allowed on trails. National monuments–it depends on the individual monument; check beforehand. There are wilderness rangers out there. There are also some hikers who are so anti-dog (often with good reason, such as having been bitten or had their food stolen or packs urinated on) that they just might turn you in to a ranger.
The best way to do this would be if you have someone to pick him up and care for him at the national park boundaries and deliver him to you afterwards. That's what PCT hikers do who have taken dogs. There have been a few cases of people hiking with service dogs. I just hope they were legal, because if this privilege is abused it will soon lead to the banning of service animals everywhere.
Those 25-30 miles per day hikes that PCT hikers routinely do are very, very hard on dogs. There are also portions of the trail in volcanic areas where the dog's paddy paws will be chewed to bits. I won't take my dog on the PCT in Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness for that reason alone. Friends who have done this stretch say they would never take their dogs there again! There are also many stretches of the PCT where it's a long distance between water sources, so you'll have to carry extra for both you and your dog. On hot days, even with plenty of water, your dog will be much more subject to heat stroke than a human.
To be successful, you'll need to hike your dog's hike, not your own. Pay very close attention to his condition and don't hesitate to leave the trail if he's having problems. I had to abort two much-anticipated trips (both in Wyoming's Wind Rivers) due to my dog's becoming ill–once two days after starting on the trail, the second because he was diagnosed as needing surgery a few weeks before the trip. You also need to keep your dog leashed most of the time (especially in camp or where there are a lot of people around) and to scoop his p00p (treat it the same as human p00p, by burying it in a cathole).
Please talk to your veterinarian about your plans! A class in dog first aid would be an excellent idea.
Some articles that might help:
I have no knowledge of South America, but to start your research you might want to find out the requirements each country has for importing a dog. http://www.letsgopets.com/inttravel.php#s_america
has a list of requirements but I have no idea how up to date it is.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm #1820353
Thank you for the info, however saying dogs aren't allowed in any national parks is far from true except on the west coast where many parks do not allow them on the trails.http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/national_parks
I always bury my dogs excrement at least 200 feet of trail in a small hole. From the 5 people I know who have taken their dogs on the PCT, only one was confronted by a hiker saying he was going to turn them in to a ranger. They just continued hiking and were never "caught" by a ranger. My dog is extremely obedient and on trails his sole existence seems to be to protect my brother and myself. He will ignore other hikers completely unless they were to strike us which hopefully wont happen haha. Does anyone have any idea how many days are spent in those 5 California state parks the PCT runs through?
Edit: My dog has done a few 25 mile days carrying 30 pounds on his back, I plan on him carrying 25 on most thru-hikes. For his feet I use the same booties huskies in the Ideterod use because they offer maximum protection while being cheap and lasting around 100 miles. I will get the link for you soon, they are the cheapest and by far best dog bootie.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm #1820359
"Does anyone have any idea how many days are spent in those 5 California state parks the PCT runs through?"
Are you asking about state parks or national parks?
–B.G.–Jan 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm #1820360
@sparkyLocale: Southern California
Sounds like you are hell bent on taking your dog. I hike in CA exclusively. I run into rangers all the time, even off trail. Sounds like your friends got lucky. There is a reason dogs aren't allowed, I'm sure you can imagine why.
Also, Mexico is extremely violent. I think I would rather freeclimb half dome than walk across Mexico.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm #1820363
Dogs are permitted on the PCT except in areas administered by the National Park Service and in the five California State Parks through which the trail passes. That is from PCTA.org. It is stating that dogs are allowed except in the mentioned areas. Thanks for the help if there is any to be offered :).Jan 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm #1820366
That is interesting that you see them often, the five people all went at different times, must have been VERY lucky. And yes I am most likely going to bring him and just take the risk. I know I am a good dog owner, he is strong and more than fit enough for the hike, additionally if the time I am spending in those California parks in which he is not allowed is minimal then it would be unlikely that I am going to get a ticket.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm #1820367
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Honestly, if you are planning such a long trip, maybe you should just do it with the knowledge that you might get a couple tickets.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm #1820373
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I'de like to hear more about the cougar story in Oregon
I wonder if you went to South America with your dog, and they would for some reason take him from you and destroy him. Here in the U.S. they would be more likely to slap your wrist or fine you or escort you out of the area.Jan 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm #1820375
@sparkyLocale: Southern California
Yes that is interesting, and I'm inclined to not believe you, or your 5 friends. Or perhaps the rangers didn't care. Also just because you don't see rangers doesn't mean they don't see you. But good luck all the same. Really though dude, your going to be out a couple years, like the above poster said…..who cares about a couple tickets! Id seriously consider taking a train through Mexico. I'm pretty confident you won't make it that car thoughJan 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm #1820376
I wouldn't worry about the dog ticket. The rangers may just escort you out of the park.
–B.G.–Jan 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm #1820394
FWIW, dogs get giardia just like humans. Be prepared to deal with your dog having very uncomfortable diarrhea at the worst possible times.Jan 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm #1820406
Where are you from and what direction will you be hiking?
If your german shepard/border collie mix has long dark hair the southern california route is going to be pretty brutal on your dog. Both of those breeds are generally colder weather oriented. Then to hike through humid central and south american could also be unpleasant as the constant moisture will mat your dogs hair into a fine mess. This is why most mongrel dogs in these regions tend to have short coats.
As for legality, the issue isn't about restricting human freedoms and their pets, the policy is in place to protect the native wildlife. Domesticated animals carry a whole host of diseases that some wild populations do not have immunity to. One example is captive desert tortoises carry a flu that wild tortoises don't have immunity to. When someone releases a captive tortoise (either misguided repopulation or tired of the 50 year old brute), the flu it may carry will decimate the wild population unfortunately. Domestic dogs can infect sensitive populations of wild canids and as a matter of good stewardship you should be considerate.
But if your own temporary personal enjoyment supercedes and sense of responsibility for the future well-being of an ecosystem and the future enjoyment of others, who am I to tell you how to live?Jan 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm #1820423
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
I've witnessed hikers in Lassen NP being ticketed and then driven (with their dog) to the nearest park entrance and just dropped along the highway, miles from the PCT. The PCT passes directly through the main campground of the park, and they were arrogant enough to not only stop to eat lunch in the picnic area near the camp host, they also didn't leash their dog; just let him run free through the campground.
We met up again in Old Station. They were not happy campers after their long roadwalk.
Too darn bad. I and the other hikers at Old Station had little or no sympathy for their tale of woes.
Take all the chances you want, but as mentioned by others, be prepared to pay the consequences.
Incidentally, service animals (on a leash) are allowed in the NPs. There are very specific criteria for what constitutes a service animal.Jan 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm #1820489
@sschloss1Locale: New England
If you read enough trail journals, you will see many examples of hikers being escorted out of the park with their animals (the latest I read involved a goat in Sequoia NP). If they take you out of the park, you are literally dumped at the nearest trailhead/park exit and left to find your own ride back to civilization (which can be a long way in some cases).
Don't cause unnecessary trouble for the Rangers or the park–leave the dog home during those sections. The dog won't know what it's missing.Jan 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm #1820494
There is NO reason your dog should have to carry that much weight! Consider percentage of body weight, your pooch probably doesn't weigh more than 100lbs, which would make his/her pack weight over a quarter of their body weight! Imagine carrying that much yourself!
I thru hiked the AT with my dog and all she ever carried was her own food, and some days i carried it for her to give her a break.
Not to bash hiking with dogs because its the best way hike in my opinion, nothing like that kind ofcompanionship.
I would recommend the ruff wear approach pack, its absolutely perfect.
As far as booties go, my dog thought it was super weird wearing them and they fell off a lot. Turned out they weren't necessary at all either.
Enjoy your trip, sounds like a blast!Jan 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm #1820551
Maybe I'm a bit biased since I have had well over a dozen dogs act aggressively towards me in 2 thru hikes without provocation and had my thru-hiker buddy get a nasty bite by another long distance hiker's supposedly well trained dog without provocation. Each time an incident happens, the owner responds exactly the same: "He's never done this before", "Maybe its the backpacks and hiking sticks" "He's just trying to protect me" "He's being territorial" "He's tired". If it's just a discussion on the issue, dog owners always respond "Well, my dog would never do that". Since dogs are like family, its understandable that dog owners get very defensive when people 'attack' the idea of them being on trail. This is similar behavior some of my students' parents have when I tell them their child misbehaves. Strong emotions don't make the truth disappear.
Dogs shouldn't thru hike. If they are hiking, they belong on a leash. Even well mannered dogs' behavior change when so many new stresses arise. They are in an unfamiliar situation with strange smells, new sounds, new animals, and that strange, smelly human/animal hybrid that is a thru-hiker. They are far more likely to become aggressive and territorial under these stresses. The only reason dogs ever end up thru hiking is for the sake of the owners greed,insecurities, and/or ignorance. Here are a few reasons why its a bad idea:
It's bad for the dogs: More miles, more extreme conditions, and a longer duration than they are used to or designed to handle. Thru hiking dogs are always exhausted at the end of the day and often have to be sent home. Rattlesnakes don't mix well with curious/protective dogs. Dogs would have trouble with snowy Sierra passes and swollen river crossings. Of course your dog will have no problems with any of this.
It's bad for the environment: as was posted earlier, dogs can get and spread disease. A hiker a few days behind me told me how he watched the gruesome fate a marmot faced unfold after becoming the target of a dogs aggression. "The marmot was running for his life but couldn't outrun the dog. It seemed to explode when the dog caught him" I'm sure your dog is trained in Leave No Trace though.
It's inconsiderate to other hikers: aside from aggression and biting I mentioned earlier, dogs are curious and love to check out whats going on. This could be me taking a nap, my food, or my air mat. All things that would have been perfectly fine if left alone, but weren't. Surely your dog has good manners though. His tendency to only live for protecting you and your brother may cause concern for other hikers your dog finds suspect though.
I can't blame the dogs. They are acting on instinct. They are animals doing what animals do. The owners have a capacity for empathy, manners, and consideration towards their dog, the environment, and others. It would be nice if they would use it.Jan 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm #1820560
"I'm sure your dog is trained in Leave No Trace though."
It's just that dogs are emotionally unable to dig a cathole.
–B.G.–Jan 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm #1820564
Haha, true. However LNT involves more than catholes. Most applicable is 'Respect Wildlife' and 'Be considerate of other visitors'. The marmot and my bitten friend would agree dogs often fall short on these.
If we could just get horses to dig catholes…
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