Reactive Road Trip: Day 2 Update and Following My Own Advice

After checking out of the awesome Railroad Park Resort (each cabin is a caboose. it’s awesome), we headed towards Mount Shasta.

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We were hoping that by heading out early (7:am) on a Friday morning (when most people would be working), that we would not run into too many people on the mountain. We stopped at the Sand Flat Winter Trail and prepared Odin for the snow. The trailhead we stopped at had a small turnout and we were happy to find that there were no other cars or people around. This meant that our chances of running into another dog were slim to none. Odin, attached to a 20’ leash, frolicked happily through the snow. Sniffing every discoloration and eating any loose snow. He had a blast at the spot and we hiked out about a quarter of a mile. It was nice having the trail to ourselves and not having to worry too much about other people. In this instance Tip # 2 (Avoid the Crowds) from yesterday’s post proved to work well for us! We left early on a weekday and avoided the crowds.

Next we were onto Eugene where Tip #3 and #4 would come in handy. After 3.5 hours in the car, we were ready to stretch our legs as we approached Mount Pisgah outside of Eugene. We had planned to hike to the summit of the mountain using Trail #1 to avoid the crowds as AllTrails.com said the trail was lightly trafficked. After waiting 10 minutes in the parking lot, we quickly learned that that this was not the case. The trail was highly trafficked and we saw 6 dogs enter the trail during our ten-minute wait in the parking lot. This was not the trail for Odin and it would not be a successful hike for him. We scratched that idea and decided to venture into the Arboretum next door which was less traveled and trafficked. This proved to be a great idea as there were very few dogs and lots of space to move to if there was an upcoming dog. There were multiple paths and loops to explore. Each loop had different plants and trees that were native to the area. Odin even saw and tried to chase a small snake that was on the path in front of us! As we spent significantly less time Arboretum than we had planned for the summit hike, we had extra time to do another hike on our list! From there we headed off towards Spencer’s Butte.

Sometimes it can be disappointing to not be able to do something you had planned due to unforeseen circumstances. Yes, I would have liked to hiked to the summit of Mount Pisgah, but, the Arboretum was a surprisingly fun alternative and it was something we otherwise would not have done. Being flexible with your itinerary is very valuable when it comes to traveling with a reactive dog. Spending time with Odin and my husband are the most important part of the trip, so changing the itinerary does not bother me very much. The best memories you will remember are built upon laughter and spending time with loved ones, not on the sites and views your see.

Spencer Butte was an interesting place. After having trouble finding the entrance to the park, we noticed there were more dogs than we had anticipated. We decided to risk it and if there were too many dogs or if the trail was not well suited for a reactive dog then we would turn around and go back the car (Tip #3). We when came up on the loop trailhead we saw that each direction heading to the Butte’s summit were labeled. To enter the loop from the left, it was labeled as difficult. If you entered from the right, it was labeled as easy. We decided to take the difficult route to the summit because I thought we would encounter less dogs on the “difficult” trail and “how difficult could it really be?” VERY, VERY DIFFICULT is the answer. Yes, there were no other dogs on the trail, but that was because you were ascending the summit at a very steep climb and some climbing up rocks was necessary. Lucky for us, Odin is part mountain goat and climbed gracefully and easily over any rocky obstacle.

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Once at the top, we needed to be careful. There was already one dog up there and there were two more on their way up. We hid behind rocks and ledges to keep the other dogs at of Odin’s view and once we knew we had a clear shot to the easy trail to finish the loop, we took it. Going down was fairly easy and Odin was very well behaved while passing other hikers. We encountered one other dog on the trail who was coming head on. We were able to move up the hillside to try and put distance between Odin and the upcoming dog, however, it was an unsuccessful pass. Odin become reactive while the other dog passed and I needed to pick him up in order to calm him down. The hikers commented on how cute Odin was in my arms and called him a “poor baby” as they passed by. They were very understanding about the reactivity and did not show any negativity towards Odin and his behavior. The rest of the hike was uneventful and Odin was completely pooped when we got back to the car. He even slept for part of the drive to the hotel.

Tonight, we are staying at a dog friendly Travelodge in Eugene and are relaxing and reminiscing over what a good day we had while scarfing down pizza and kibbles. Hopefully tomorrow is another great day.

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