Poko is a 10 month old Red/Blue Heeler who loves to play with sticks! We got him about 4 months ago and we love sharing our climbing adventures with him! Some of his favorite dog friendly places are City of Rocks, Vedauwoo, and Gallatin Canyon. Poko has proven himself to us and other climbers to be the perfect crag dog! We decided to take a trip into the beautiful and dog friendly Wind River Range. It would be a test to see if Poko could step up his game and go from crag dog status to back country dog status. Poko’s first backcountry trip was to consist of 3 nights and four days in The Cirque of the Towers.
Josh and my packs had to be a good 30-40 pounds each; hauling in climbing gear, food, and camping essentials. Based on the 10 mile approach and the weight of our packs; we decided that our pup was ready and had more than enough energy to carry his own weight! We got Poko the Ruff Wear Approach Pack from a local gear shop and it worked out perfectly! Thank goodness because I don’t think I could handle another ounce!
He happily carried all of his food and toys in the 10 miles. Poko got comments right away. “That is the first dog I have seen carrying his own weight!” “That dog and pack are too much!” Not only was the pack functional, but it provided hours of entertainment for us and other hikers! Poko was lagging after a few miles and we thought for sure we wore him out on the 10 mile hike in! Nope! As soon as we took off his pack he ran for the first stick and wanted to play. Seriously dude?!
Poko was in heaven, and so were we! At the Cirque of the Towers you get a 360 degree view of awesome granite rock, with glacial lakes scattering the valley. Our campsite was located with a clear view of our objective, the East Ridge on Wolfs Head, the striking traverse that starts in the lowest part of the saddle and works it way west along the ridge. With tons of boulders near camp to jump and maneuver around, Poko was having the best time trying to find the sticks and glow in the dark ball we would throw for him. The skills he had learned running around the smaller crags have turned him into quite the mountain dog! He loved hiking through boulder fields to the glacial lakes and glacier feed streams. Poko had a smile on his face the whole time, as did we!
When it was time to pack up and head home he got his pack on right away and grabbed a nearby stick. I don’t think any of us wanted to leave the Winds! Poko lead our hike out and only got distracted by a couple groups of Ruff Wear doggies! Saying his hellos and quickly getting back in front of us, the 10 miles out did not seem to wear on him at all! We got back to the car and the three of us took off our pack, and Poko was ready to play once again with the closest stick he could find!
Thank you Andrea Hoffman for the story, photos and inspiration!