Rau: Hiking with our animals, tips and reminders | SkyHiNews.com

Rau: Hiking with our animals, tips and reminders

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Diana Lynn Rau
Staff Photo |

Every hiker has his or her favorite trail and favorite partner. Sometimes it’s a small group of people and sometimes it’s you and your favorite pooch. Sometimes it’s you and your favorite horse. Regardless, our animals usually make our daily outings so much more enjoyable. And sometimes they are the motivation to get us outside and work toward staying healthy.

With that motivation and enjoyment comes responsibility. Other people walk or ride the trails and backcountry with us. When we meet them, there are courtesies to be observed. Dogs big or little can be scary if they charge oncoming people or start barking furiously at them. Some dogs need to be on a leash – some are under voice control. Some people furiously shout commands and never make sure their animals follow-thru. Some dogs need more training. Some people need the training.

Most owners of dogs that behave badly hopefully keep their dogs on a short leash and warn you not to approach. They even move to the side or off the trail to avoid a confrontation. Some hikers may even invite a meeting saying their pets are friendly. Dogs occasionally are known as chick magnets. The variety is endless but most dogs benefit from the socialization of meeting other people with their dogs under such controlled circumstances.

I always advise people to take extra food and water when exploring the outdoors – your dog needs food and water too plus care from overheating. I even have saddlebags for my dog Duke so he can carry his own snacks and water when we’re hiking longer distances. I can put in extra poop bags as well.

Poop bag courtesy is important to everyone – no one likes to step in or ride through dog poop. Please remember, when you pack up your dog’s poop, pack it out as well. It does no good to leave it by the side of the trail to rot in a plastic bag that doesn’t go away itself.

Where allowed, horses are not exempt from these common needs and courtesies. They also need food and water and care not to overheat.

Remember the Yield Triangle – bikes yield to pedestrians and everybody yields to horses. They can spook so easily. The cleanup issue is difficult since they are unpredictable and difficult to clean up after but some equestrians do try and it is appreciated. After all, it’s quite disagreeable to find a big pile of horse poop in the middle of the trail.

Our four-footed friends definitely add to our outdoor experience. With a little courtesy and care, everyone can enjoy them too. After all, we get so much love and affection from them, they are our true companions.

Reminder, trail cleanup on the Fraser to Granby Trail section on the east side of Red Dirt Hill on US Highway 40. Meet on the second and fourth Tuesday through the summer at the County Road 86 turnoff into the Highlands to park and walk across to the trail. Last week we burned huge amounts of slash in our new burn rings approved by the County Department of Natural Resources. Some people need hours for graduation, some need community service hours, some need wood for their homes and some just need to be outside contributing to the community. Regardless your motivation, come join us for an evening . Bring you own gloves, water and snack. Call Diana Lynn Rau 970-887-0547 for more information.

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