Hiking in woods with dogs


I’ve finally caught up on posting about books… I’m in the middle of a few right now, but I’ve officially posted about everything I’ve completed.  On to hiking!

I’m still hoping to hike Kauai’s Na Pali coast in the summer, but I have not, not, not been doing any kind of training for it.  No working out of any kind, and way too few hikes.  Thank goodness for the Humane Society doggy hikes that get me out there at least once a month.  When I’m in town.  And it’s not raining.  And I don’t oversleep.  Or think of another excuse.

But I’m two-for-two in the last two months.  In November, it was “Maunawili Ditch Trail,” just me and the younger dog since the older one had been under the weather and had an appointment at the vet that afternoon.  I totally misjudged the time it would take me to drive there, so I was parking as the group started the hike.  I eventually did catch up to the stragglers in the main group, but I never did catch up to the main pack, as it were.  Luckily, there were two other late woman + big-ish dog combos, so we all hiked together for most of the time.

Oh my god, my new (ish) dog LOVES hiking.  Like, loves it loves it.  She really wanted to just go bounding along through the woods and along the trail.  She almost pulled my arm out of its socket in her enthusiasm (she’s usually really good on leash!).  I feel bad that we haven’t been out hiking more.  Bad dog mom!  The Humane Society folks said that she might have been a pig hunter, so maybe she wants to dash into the woods and find us dinner.  Whatever her past (and she definitely has some scars, both physical and mental, from her early life), the woods do not frighten her one bit.

It wasn’t a super exciting hike.  Very easy, with not much elevation change at all.  No obstacles or steep sections, and very well maintained.  It’s not a hike that I’d take visitors to (not really very scenic, as Hawaii hikes go).  But a lot of fun just to get out there with my dog and do a long walk in nature.  Didn’t suck.

In December, the whole pack (2 people & 2 dogs) tackled the Peacock Flats hike (picture at the top of this post) on the north shore.  Learning from last month’s mistake, we left plenty early and were among the first to arrive.

I had googled the trail, and couldn’t figure out what to expect.  The Humane Society described it as a “beginner” level trail… this is even easier than “easy,” and comparable to the Maunawili Ditch from last month (really easy) and Makapuu (also really easy… some elevation gain, but paved the whole way).  But when I googled it for more info, it sounded like a steep-at-times ascent, lots of switchbacks, and a “7 out of 10” in terms of difficulty.  Last time I hiked one of those, I lost a toenail and was sore for days.  And I was really unsure about bringing the old dog on such a hike.

Well, it turned out the hike that comes up when you google “Peacock Flats” is really the “Kealia Trail,” which is totally different.  Our hike was totally paved and really easy, though there was a bit of elevation.  The plan was originally to hike 1.5 miles in and then back out (the total distance to the end of the trail is 3.6 miles I think).

I went up ahead with the young-and-eager dog, and the husband walked slower with his camera & the older dog.  At the 1.5 mile mark, the whole group wanted to continue on (including my in-her-element pup), but I was worried that I didn’t know where the rest of our pack was.  I got a text saying that the older dog had insisted on turning around and heading back to the car, but that my husband hadn’t really made it far enough to get to any of the elevation gains that would have yielded pretty pictures.  I told him to hike back in, and that I’d meet him.

I took over with both dogs, while the husband hiked up ahead and got some good pictures.  Unfortunately, the old girl started limping.  A lot.  I felt her paw to see if she just had a pricker or something, but couldn’t find anything there.  Finally, I texted the husband and asked him to hurry back.

We made it back to the car with him carrying the older dog about 1/2 the time, and I carried all of our packs & cameras.  Poor baby.  She seemed better already the next day, so who knows what the problem was? But we may be just hiking with the younger one from now on, at least a hike of any significant length.  The plan (weather permitting) is to take just her and try the full length of Peacock Flats this weekend.  If that goes well, we may head up there in a few weeks and try the harder Kealia Trail.

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