2 girls and 2 dogs unplugging for the weekend

camping your way.

I love hiking and have always wanted to try camping with Caesar, since he's so warm and cuddly. 😍 There's something soothing about the idea of waking up to nothing and spending the day just soaking in my surroundings.

Through Hipcamp I was able to find a perfect cabin north of Redding, CA, about 5 hours north of San Francisco. What's great about the site is that you can filter it based on your specific needs. Since I don't have any campaign gear (except for a sleeping bag) and I'm not keen on having to pack everything, I filtered my search based on lodging, dog-friendliness (off-leash), access to toilets and a shower.

After driving through windy/rocky terrain/dirt roads (SUV highly recommended) and backwoods private residencies (some messy), the property opens up to what looks like something out of a fairytale: A private main house (where the very friendly owner lives), garage and barn, and a secure, fenced in guest lodge nestled in 160 acres surrounded by Shasta National Forest. Not to mention the lovely gardens, including rows of cherry trees that we were able to pick from! I've never had fresh cherries before...

While outdated, the guest lodge met all our basic needs: a bedroom with 1 queen size bed and 1 twin (bedsheets provided), 1 bathroom (towels provided), kitchen (appliances and kitchenware and basic condiments all provided) and living room with a pull out sofa bed and tv with a VHS/DVD collection. The outdated decor added to the rustic charm and made for a perfect rainy afternoon viewing of Casablanca.

And when the weather was nice it was incredibly relaxing to just open the door, let the dogs out to play, drink my morning cup of coffee and breathe in fresh air.

traveling with dogs

I met Bidam when he was just a puppy, and his owner 'J' at our local dog park in Mission Bay. J and I made small talk, as most dog owners do at parks, and when we saw how well Caesar and Bidam played together we exchanged numbers. In addition to the husky meet-ups the casual chit chat at dog parks is the primary way I've been able to find playmates for Caesar. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like I ask for everyone's and anyone's number - it usually takes a handful of meetings before I feel comfortable asking to share contact info and it's always in context, especially if I know the other owner hasn't yet visited some of our favorite parks.

Bidam is about 3 - 4 years younger than Caesar, more energetic, but also more timid. In addition, J is always keen on working on off-leash skills with Bidam, and because Bidam follows Caesar around it seemed like a perfect fit to go camping together and let Caesar be a "big brother" to Bidam, showing him the ways of the natural world. This trip was a lot of first times for Bidam: first time riding a car more than an hour, first time staying in an unfamiliar house, first time venturing into water, first time being completely off leash and free to roam. It's funny how some pups are so impressionable!

One thing we both knew going in were our dogs' quirks, mostly Caesar's. Caesar exhibits high levels of resource guarding, even his space in the car, so before we left for the weekend we did a training session in the car to get Caesar comfortable sitting in the backseat with Bidam. While it worked for a quick 7 minute drive it became quickly evident it wouldn't fly in a 5 hour car ride, so we kept the pups separate, with Bidam mostly in the backseat since he wasn't used to car rides. Caesar will just lay down and chill out.

With high levels of resource guarding I also made sure not to bring any of Caesar's favorite toys or bedding. Not everything requires training to change a behavior - sometimes it's just about avoidance and recreating an environment that removes a stimulus. The one area where both dogs exhibited resource guarding was around food, which wasn't surprising. There were a couple scuffles so we quickly learned to feed the dogs in separate rooms and when we were cooking, which was a lot, to keep them both out of the kitchen so they wouldn't try and compete for scraps.

Humans are so mean!

It was great having the dogs together, though. They played outside, inside, any chance they got which means they were super tired, and nothing's better than cuddling with tired pups. ❤️️

hiking, hiking, hiking

The owner did an incredible job marking the trails. The 3 that we did were probably all 3 miles or less but you could easily lengthen any of them and wander around. For the dogs, it's probably double the mileage with all the running back and forth.

Walking amongst the giants

It's amazing what a hike can do for the heart and the mind. It felt like a completely different world; a magical, secret forest. There was no one else around and it was like we had the entire place to ourselves. The rain even made it seem more magical, and the trees were huge so they provided great coverage. The creeks were fully flowing too, with all the rain California has been getting.

50 shades of green

I'm on a boat!

What do you mean I'm dirty?

Now that I have one trip under my belt I'm already back on the site looking for our next adventure. Who knows, I may have to get all the camping gear after all.

Happy trails!

👣 The fur-mom

Created By
Miran Liu
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