Well this week has certainly been an interesting week, a week of experiments. Its also a week in which I've come to realize that it would seem I am becoming a gram/weight weenie. Since I now have my larger items, my pack, tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, I'm back to fretting over what Eros will have to carry and wanting to make sure he enjoys this new adventure.
I've wondered should he have a sleeping bag of his own as well as a sleeping pad. I've researched all sorts of lightweight ideas for him to have comfortable restful nights. I've no doubt driven my roommate mad talking about all of these things, but she is a really good sport and just laughs at my weighing just about everything I get my hands on, and everything that will go in Eros' pack.
This is what his pack contained on our hikes this week. 2 liters of water 2Kg/ 4.4 Lbs, some of the food he'll be eating split to balance the pack 654g/ 1.4 Lbs, his awesome little water bowl 55g/ 1 3/4 oz, and his booties that I forgot to take out of the pack for the photo 94g/ 3 1/4 oz. All in all not a super heavy pack and with the added food I got to see if he reacted to the smell of it on his back.
My pack is just stuffed with everything I've gotten so far, my camera and extra water. I probably won't scrutinize my pack until I have taken care of Eros'. But I did start carrying it on our hikes this week. And very exciting I've started wearing the shoes I bought for the trail. I don't want to be breaking in shoes on a week long hike. I can start with broken in shoes.
We're averaging 6 to 7 mile hikes in about 2 1/2 hours now. The added weight slowed us down a bit and I made sure that we had frequent water breaks for the puppies so I think we did it in about 3 hours. Since we'll have entire days to do 8 to 12 miles I think we're in a good place time wise and just need to stay at this pace adding more and more weight as we get closer to July.
My puppies had their usual fun on our hike. Eros took his usual 5-10 minutes to get used to carrying the pack then was trotting along with the rest of the pack. We did 2 miles with my boss and her beautiful German shepherd then did 5 more miles by ourselves. After that our experiments continued. I wanted to make sure that sleeping in the tent and outside would not be too overly weird for him. He is after all used to sleeping in a comfy bed in a warm house. So after our hike we went home and I once more put up the tent in my backyard. I used the blanket again because I still don't have a footprint for my tent.
I don't have a sleeping pad for Eros yet so I just used what I had on hand. I made sure there were three nice cosy spots, one for each of my puppies. Made myself a bit dizzy blowing up my own sleeping pad. (Self inflating ones were more expansive.) Layed my brand new sleeping bag on top, then went inside the house to prepare a nice dinner for the four of us, plus miss kitty cat of course. I had to keep the door to the backyard closed and keep a close eye on Eros when he did go out there, just to make sure he did not find it necessary to mark this new edifice in his domaine.
Between 9 and 9:30 I decided it was time for us to retire to our newly erected sleeping quarters. Pennie and Eros both joined me without fuss but Sedna opted for staying inside the house in her cosy warm bed. I left the door to the backyard ajar and the tent flaps open just in case. I didn't want anyone to feel left out or trapped in.
Pennie made a nest for herself with a blank I'd brought for her and I covered her with part of it once she was done fidgeting. She was once a homeless dog and now doesn't love getting cold. but once she was settled in her little spot net to me she was a happy little camper.
Eros settled himself near my knees as usual. He was happy to lay on a comfy spot without any cover. He is part sled dog so the one could explain the other.
I read for about a half hour to make sure all were settled then decided to see about getting some shuteye.
I live in a quiet place. At night, in my room I there is little noise other than the sound of breathing dogs or a purring cat. Outside though, without the walls as buffers the world is far more noisy. I could hear cars several streets over, motor and horns. people opening house doors or talking. I expected critter noises but not so many human noises. I'm a pretty light sleeper and I really don't care for those kinds of city type noises so they made it hard for me to find sleep. But after a while I did dose off.
Around 11:30 I felt a very gentle paw rest on my back. It was Sedna. She had come out of the house and now wanted to join us. I nudged Pennie over some and Sedna rested herself between Eros and Pennie. She slept with us for a while then left again only to come back some time later and finish the night with us in the tent. When I woke up in the morning I had all three of my babies with me. So the experiment was a success as far as the week on the JMT goes. Eros is more than happy to sleep in the tent and I now feel more clear on his nighttime needs. And I'm glad I've decided against bringing Sedna because keeping the tent flaps open make for a breezy tent. Something I appreciated when Eros decided to enhance the fragrance inside the tent but still would prefer not to do while on the trail.