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Winter camping with my dog – a break

Camping with my dog

Taking the weekend off. To relax and read and drink many drinks by the fire.

The fiancé, the mutt and I are heading to the middle of nowhere for a much-needed camping trip. We love winter camping (if you can call this a winter!). In Minnesota or North Dakota, it’s almost a guarantee no one else will be out there.

Even the blog, my source of creative energy, is a burden sometimes. The comments, the Facebook wall, the forums. Even though the site is not that popular, and I am not that busy.

I’m glad I don’t own a Smartphone. I don’t know how I could checkout otherwise. I don’t know how people do it. Maybe, they don’t.

I won’t be bringing my computer. Won’t be bringing my phone’s charger. I will have no way to check if I’ve sold any ebooks or to know if someone needs last-minute pet sitting.

I think the world will be just fine.

The cats get to stay home. They will take care of themselves. I will not miss them.

I will bring Ace’s leash, but it will remain in the trunk.

I have lots of warm gear, although the temps will not be as brutal as past trips.

On my dog’s first camping trip – only a week or two after I adopted him – I sat by the fire cradling him because he was so cold. His fur soaked, no fat on his body, I was worried he had hypothermia.

That was five years ago.

Now I know how to keep a shorthaired dog safe in the cold. Ace wears his waterproof, neoprene dog vest. He knows to settle in by the fire on his own when he needs to rest or warm up.

Yes, he’s a Lab mix, but he didn’t come with the thick, water-resistant coat of a Lab – just the tennis ball obsession and the need to dive head first into open water.

I plan to take lots of photos, take a long hike with my dog (and maybe even my man!), drink some Sailor Jerry’s and regular Coke, possibly re-read “Merle’s Door.” (Willo, I still have your copy!)

Ace will roll in mud. Eat some snow. Chew on sticks. Stare into the fire. Raise his muzzle to the air and smell something wonderful.

Josh and I will talk for hours, I hope, of where our lives and businesses are going. Of trips we will take. Future dogs we will own. Challenges we face. He gives me energy and inspiration every day.

I can’t wait to get where we’re going.

From “Merle’s Door” by Ted Kerasote:

In the summer we hiked, in the winter we skied, disappearing into the backcountry and following routes others didn’t travel. On some remote knob, overlooking an empty valley, we’d stop for lunch – Brower and Allison, Merle and me – she and I sitting on our packs, the dogs eating biscuits while we ate our sandwiches. At such moments we could have been the first people to have ventured into North America, moving down the spine of the Rockies with our packs and our dogs. We were alone and peaceful in a way that is ever harder to be alone and peaceful: the outside world not gone, but out of sight and out of mind.

Cute black lab mix dog closeup standing in the grass

Lisa Griffin

Saturday 25th of February 2012

Hello, I have a couple of questions. We have a 6 month old black labrador. He is gorgeous. The problem is when I take him somewhere away from home, he barks and growls at anyone that approaches him. What can I do to prevent this? He only does it with me and not my husband. Is this his way of being possessive?

thank you


Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 25th of February 2012

Dogs often act this way out of fear. It could be that your husband does a better job of showing leadership so the dog does not feel as much pressure around your husband. If you are not a strong leader to your dog, he may be unsure of what to do and reacts on that fear.

Or, he could be possessive of you as you suggested. If that is the case, it is also important for you to step up and become more of a leader to your dog.

Another factor that causes dogs to react is if there is tension in the leash from the owner. Are you relaxed when you handle him?


Friday 17th of February 2012

That sounds like a much-needed vacation indeed. I could see my dog enjoying a trip like that a bit more than most, especially since he can't help but get excited about any trip away from the apartment. I'm never sure if he's more excited for camping trips than my wife though, but perhaps it's an even split since they were made for each other.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 19th of February 2012

They love to get out for any kind of "field trip"!


Friday 17th of February 2012

Lindsay, Enjoy your time away. "Checking out" sometimes is exactly what we need to do. I'm in awe of you for attempting such a thing as winter camping. Have fun and stay warm!

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 19th of February 2012


Douglas Vohnoutka

Friday 17th of February 2012

Ohh, thanks for the idea. BTW, LOVE Merles door, one of my favorite books.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 19th of February 2012

I love Merle's Door as well!

Christie Lindemann

Thursday 16th of February 2012

This is one of your best, Lindsay! Enjoy your weekend!

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 19th of February 2012

Thanks, Christie! I hope you had a nice weekend hiking with Buddy! Give him a hug from Ace and I!