Two days, four canines, 18 humans, three canoes, four paddleboards, and 14 tents.  What does that equal?  A two-day company retreat filled with adventure!  Here’s a diary of our recent Ruff Wear Summer Retreat.

Thursday, July 22

7:50am – Ruff Wear Pack meets at HQ and gets ready for departure.  Kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are loaded and lashed to roofs in a manner that still allows hatchback access to our canine crew.

8:00am – Mavis decides to call shotgun, regardless that new guy Geoff is already sitting there.  No matter…Mavis uses Geoff as a seat cushion.

8:30am – The night owls of the Pack beg for a coffee stop.  Note: If you order a coffee “plain and black” from McDonalds, you are likely to get an iced Vanilla Latte of sorts.

9:30am – Arrive at Black Butte.  Check for enticing scat before letting out the hounds to avoid stinky car companions when traveling to the campsite.

Tripp, Chelsea, and Debbie at Black Butte

9:35am – Dogs reach the summit.

10:30am – Humans reach the summit. One mile of straight vertical.  Luckily, the view is incredible!

Group Photo at top of Black Butte

10:45am – Wish we had made human versions of the  DoubleBack™ harness so we could be belayed back down. Granola bars make for some quick energy for humans.  A Bivy Bowl™ of water works for the dogs.

Water Break for Cinder

11:30am – On to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery for lunch.  We test out the shocks on the cars and debate whether it’s better to be hot OR dusty (windows up or down?)  Realize quickly why it’s good to be the “leader of the pack” on this rutted, dirt road.

12:00pm – Lunch!  Yum.  We rinse off dusty paws and dirty calves in the Metolius …then tempt the dogs with all the fish at the hatchery.

You've Heard of Farmer's Tan...this is a Central Oregon Dust Tan!

2:00pm – Arrive at Suttle Lake Campground.  Contemplate where to mark our territory.  Did we have sites 8 – 13 or 9 – 14?

2:30pm – A giant 6 person condo/tent (quickly dubbed “The Sorority House”) is erected.  No boys allowed!

3:00pm – We discover the world’s sixth ocean—the Suttle Lake/Ocean—or so it seems.  Despite the winds and white caps, we give stand up paddleboarding a shot.  Maybe it will be easier with a dog on the board…or not!

Patrick and Mavis Give Paddleboarding a Try Despite Rough Seas

3:30pm – Tara hitches a ride on the gear bed of a kayak.  Despite her petite size, we are riding a little low, making it look like a scene from “Shallow Hal.”

5:00pm – Wet dogs and humans retire to the campsite “kitchen” for appetizers, followed by delicious cocktails, dinner, and cobbler.  The dogs are definitely begging for scraps!

Sorry dogs, this chow's for humans only!

6:00pm – Clean up crew is called in.  Susan steps in as drill sergeant, complete with a whip (built using campsite materials thanks to Patrick, our resident MacGyver.)   No one’s getting out of line here!


7:00pm – Karaoke time!  Lindsey opens the show with “These [Grip Trex] Boots Are Made for Walking.”

These Boots Are Made for Karaoke!

7:05pm – Karaoke over.  Machine blew a fuse.  Hmmm…What to do?  How about we experiment with dry ice?  The Question: Just how long will dry ice steam in a Bivy Bowl™?

(Note: This Experiment is not covered under our "Warranty Replacement")

8:15pm – The Ruff Wear Pack begins to “howl at the moon”.  A few sneak away for an evening nap.  Even Ripley joins in on the fun by helping herself to a cocktail hidden under a camp chair.  Cinder almost becomes cinders when her leash is singed by the campfire.

Howling at the Moon

11:00pm – Will and Jesse capsize their canoe during a late night paddle.

Canoe Operator Error?

Very Late (or Early the next Morning) – Night owls head to their tents, tee pees, and hammocks.  Sorority house shuts down for the evening.

Friday, July 23

7:00am – “Good morning sunshine!”

8:00am –  “Lindsey, you’re on server duty!  Get up!”  Where did that whip go?

8:10am – Chelsea declares that despite overwhelming evidence, she did not wet her pants, but rolled over on the bite valve of her pack in her sleep.  Hence the large wet spot on her pants.

8:15am – Mmmmm… crepes.  How did we get Martha Stewart on our retreat? Lucky us.

9:30am – Playtime!  Water is like glass today.  Everyone gives their paddleboard and rowing skills another try with more success.  Dogs make it on to boards this time for a relaxing paddle around the lake.

Tara Shows Off Her Skills

12:00pm – Lunch and games.  Team A utilizes Team B’s progress to win.  But the object wasn’t to win??  Darn!

2:00pm – Back at Ruff Wear Headquarters!  Thanks everyone for making this such a fun event!

Patrick Packs Up the Whip 'Till Next Year

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