Getaway House – Nov. 2019

Some weeks are just harder then others. More things to do, more deadlines, more traffic, really just more of everything.

Knowing that the weekend was just around the corner and the pups and I were headed up to the mountain was the only thing that kept me going.

Friday finally came along and I packed up the Jeep, grabbed the dogs and took off. To arrive 2 hours later, more traffic, so much traffic.

Getting to the tiny cabin was a relief. We arrived right as the sun was setting. The perfect time to take a breath, and leave the week behind. The tiny cabin itself was adorable. The perfect size for the three of us. With cute little touches like a red refrigerator and a box to keep to keep your cell phone to really experience detaching for the night.

But the best thing about the cabin was the full wall window right wear the bed cove was built. It made it feel like you were outside, but surrounded by all the comforts of being inside including temperature control and queen size bed made for reading and watching the family of deer frolic outside the window (much to the pups dismay).

It was nice to have a little kitchen inside with a two burner stove. And dog bowls under the sink. Perfect for cooking up a meal for the three of us. Trust me the dogs enjoyed some turkey dogs that night.

Outside there was a firepit, since it was just me we stayed inside and did not take advantage a fire, but we did take advantage of the walking trail that satisfied our needs for leaf cronching and mountain views.

Overall, it was a perfect little escape from a stressful week. And I cant wait to visit another Getaway House in the future.

DIY Folding Kicksled for Mushing

Kicksled building steps

3 2×2 white wood

4 1×2 7 ft poplar wood

1 1×3 8 ft poplar wood

8 3.5” hex bolts 1/4 by 20

8 3” hex bolts 1/4 by 20

6 3” lag bolts 1/4

6 wing nuts (optional)

24 drywall screws course 1.5 inches

1 1” hinge

1 90 degree bracket

24” bungee cord

1 rubber mat

1 pair skis



1. Determine comfortable measurements for your stance. We decided to do the handles 42” high. And 17” from the inside of the skis

2. Even out top of skis if necessary

3. Bolt a 30” 2×2 strip to the ski. Counter sink the bolt into the ski. Repeat for second ski.

4. Clamped pieces together to get final measurements before attaching. We decided the seat height should be 10” from the ground. The back upright 42” 2×2 and the side pieces 42” 2×2 to the brindle.

5. Bolt uprights to the wood piece with 3.5 inch bolt. Use wingnuts on end of bolts as this piece will be collapsible.

6. Attach 10”1×2 uprights at the other end of the 30” piece.

7. Bolt the 42” piece to the 10” upright and the back uprights.

8. Repeat with other ski.

9. Attach the two sides together by using 2 17” 2×2 strips. We places them at 16 inches and 32 inches.

10. Attach 2 22.5” 1×2 20 inches from the back and at the base of the back. And connect with bolts a 22.5” 2×2 for the brindle at the end of the 42” horizontal piece.

11. Put in the “triangles.” Figure out where you want the long piece from the brindle to near the top of the back uprights. Put a hypotenuse from the base of the 10” upright to the brindle. Put. Hypotenuse from the 10” upright to the 42” upright. These are all to hopefully ensure this doesn’t pull apart.

12. Attach handles to the uprights.

13. Cut 1×3 to 22.5” and screw in seat slats.

14. Make the brake. Attach hinge to 1×2 measure where the piece will be out of your way. When kicking. Attach bracket to other end. Attach hinge to front of seat.

15. Attach bungee around the 1×2 and screw into the seat.

16. Glue mat strips to back of skis

17. Weather proof sled.

One of our guide images for the sled.

The final product.

I took the sled out with the dogs and it held up perfectly. Some things we need to work on is more weight in the front. And a longer brake. But since this was our first attempt I’m rather happy with it.

The total cost for us was about $125. I found used skis on CraigsList. The rest of the items were purchased at Home Depot.

Happy Sledding. Can’t wait to use it again next season.

How to Plan a Short Vacation with your Dog

I travel a lot. It’s not always for long. In fact some of my favorite trips are weekend getaways. But I definitely pick up and leave the normal working world often, at least once a month, and most of the time I do it with my dogs.

I still remember planning my first trip with Frankie. I saw photos of people stand up paddle boarding with their dog. And I just had to do it. But I didn’t even know where to start. So to the internet I went. Trying to find somewhere I could rent a board and take Frankie paddling with me. I found a place in San Diego, and from there the idea of going out of town with Frankie was born. But really, the question was how do I travel with a dog? I had never done it before. And I happened to have a human only activity in San Diego that weekend. So the planning started.

For this trip, really any trip, I start with what my budget for the trip is going to be. This is important because it determines where I’m going to stay. Do I need to find dog friendly campsites? A budget hotel? Should I go the Airbnb route? Or am I splurging on a fancy place to stay.

Once my budget is in place I start my research. And I am a research nut. I want to know anything and everything about where I’m going. This means dog friendly restaurants, activities, beaches etc. For this trip I knew I wanted to go paddle boarding and I need a doggie daycare open on a Sunday to watch Frankie while I went to Legoland. I also wanted to take Frankie to an off leash beach before paddle boarding so she would be a little tired before we went out on the water.

Some of my favorite websites to look for dog friendly things to do and places to stay are and (California only). Starting with websites like this. It can lead you to some great ideas of places to go with your pup. Especially places to eat. Which in California can be tough. It is normally too hot to leave your dog in the car for even a short amount of time. So you want to find places that allow dogs. Once you find the places that interest you. Check out their websites to make sure they really are dog friendly. If the website doesn’t list it, I suggest calling them to confirm. I’ve found some of my favorites restaurants this way. Also, be prepared to spend all your time eating outside.

For this trip, Frankie’s first weekend away, we stayed at the Hotel Indigo. We stayed on the weekend and this hotel is a really high end hotel. Especially for a super dog friendly hotel. I picked this hotel because they had a package that included doggie day care, a dog bed, and dog cupcakes on arrival. I was definitely splurging on this trip. There was also a dog friendly bar on the 9th floor. It overlooked Petco Park. So Frankie and I hung out at the bar one night watching baseball on the television as the game was going on across the street. The bar was amazing. The staff and patrons all loved Frankie. There was an artificial grass yard there for the dogs. It was a great experience.

My advice for anyone traveling with your dogs is this.

1. Plan a budget.

2. Research, research, research! Not only do I look at what is dog friendly, I look at all the reviews. Whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or dog park. The reviews are crucial to my decision making process.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I personally love paddling with my dogs. As well as going to bars or pubs with them. Frankie and Storm are instant conversation starters so it challenges me to be more social.

4, Plan out your stops on the road if you are going to need them. Since it’s hot where I live I love Petsmart and Petco for bathroom stops.

5. Bring items from home to keep your dog comfortable. I like to bring chews and my blanket.

6. Have fun!

Hopefully some of my process is helpful in planning your next trip. Soon I will describe how I plan longed trips with the pups as well. If you have questions, I am happy to answer them.

Arizona Meet Up

One of the things you might have noticed reading through our posts is that I reference other Instagram accounts a lot. That’s because on all of my dog based travels (and some non-dog travels) I meet up with different locals that I met because of Instagram. This past November, right before Thanksgiving some of my regular Instagram friends arranged a huge group camp in Arizona. We, and by we I mean the 15 plus humans and 20 plus dogs from at least 5 states, met up at a free primitive campsite that had room for all of our cars. Whenever camping somewhere remember to get the appropriate permits. We did need permits. But they were free and there were quite a few “experts” who could tell use what we needed.

Living in California, AZ is not far from me. So I took off later then I should have, the way you do when you under estimate the amount of time it takes to get somewhere. I took the turn off to the campsite right around sunset and drove down the 2 mile dirt road until I saw the mass of cars parked out in the middle of nowhere. It was a little rough on the dogs arriving late. Mine were hyped from being cooped in the car, and getting to a location with sooo many dogs that they didn’t know that well, but it all worked out. One of the important things to realize is that all dogs have different comfort levels. Mine like to play loud and rough. Which puts other dogs on edge especially in the dark. So the husky click that developed stayed away from the dogs that just weren’t digging the noise. It may not look like it. But these two loved playing with each other. Silly huskies and their teeth.

We hiked the Peralta trail in the morning. Storm went off with one of her favorite people, Dave from @longhaultrekkers, and Frankie stayed with me. The trail itself was challenging for me and super rocky. So, Frankie and I ended up way behind the group, not making it to the top. Luckily we had the company of a new friend @gypsygyrl and her pup. I’m sure Frankie could have made it to the top. But it wasn’t going to happen, the views all along the way were gorgeous. So, it didn’t feel like we really missed out. It’s super important to listen to your body when hiking and not risk injuring yourself out in the wilderness. For this trail my ankle just couldn’t hang, and I thought better be safe rather then sorry.

We went back for a bit of a rest at the campsite after our hike. The car ride back demonstrates just how tired the pups were after our drive, camping and a hike.

Well Storm was sleepy. Frankie was still ready to go. As always.

With that in mind we trekked to the Salt River with the group right around sunset. The views did not disappoint. Arizona sure knows how to put on a show at sunset.

Look you can see our friend Gretel, from @youdidwhatwithyourweiner basking in the golden glow of sunset with Frankie and Storm.

If you are ever looking to bring your dogs to Arizona, especially the Superstition Mountains, check out our friends in Instagram @trustyourtrail and @remdawg.the.tripawd. They definitely made this large dog meet up possible.

Colorado Rockies, Part 2

My first trip to Colorado in the fall was also my first trip with two dogs. Storm was new to the family and just under 3 months old. I had just finished a project and decided to take my time getting to Colorado.

We spent the night in Las Vegas, just off the strip at the super dog friendly hotel chain, La Quinta. Seriously, I can not say enough good things about this hotel chain. I’ve stayed in a La Quinta in 7 different states. And it’s always a pleasant stay.

The next morning we got up early and headed to Zion National Park, with my handy America the Beautiful pass, and a list of dog friendly trails (one trail) we found our way to Zion and walked the bike trail that allows dogs. Pa’rus Trail.

We then made our way to Bryce National Park to walk the along the top. Again the only dog friendly trail. But the three of us loved it because it got us out of the car on our long drive to Dillon, CO.

From there we hauled it to get to Dillon, having a bit of a scare when we couldn’t find a gas station for hours. But we made it safely to our destination around midnight. To get up early the next morning to meet our friends at the Old Dillon Reservoir.

This trail is just so nice and easy, yet stunning in the fall. We met up with our friends @one.chaotic.pack and had some adorable puppy playtime when both Storm and Norway were super adorable puppies.

Definitely one of my favorite photos of Frankie.

Adventuring together from the beginning.

A swimmer from the beginning.

The pups love hammocking. After they figured out it was safe.

Puppies, such adorable puppies. From here we hit the road at went to the super dog friendly national park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We went on three or four short trails there. All of them with spectacular views. If you ever want more formation from our travels please email us at

Colorado Rockies in Autumn – Part 1

For the past two years I’ve gone out to Colorado around the end of September. And I’m pretty sure I want to make this an annual tradition. I have to say the fall foliage on the majestic mountains is just breathtaking. Since I went two different years, I want to post about each trip, starting with 2017.

Photo by our friends @tuckerleo_da_huskies on Instagram.

This trip was pretty last minute. And I was lucky enough to have my mom come with me. We left at 1pm on Friday and drove 14 hours plus stops to get to Dillon, Colorado. If I hadn’t had a driving partner there’s no way this trip could have happened. When I planned our hiking meet up, I forgot that Colorado is on Mountain Time. So instead of getting in at 3am, it was 4am by the time I got to go to sleep. Plus it was raining/snowing. Causing me a bit of concern for our hiking trip planned with our friends the next morning at 8am. But all was well, and on 4 hours asleep the dogs and I packed in to the car to hike Mayflower Gulch. A 4ish mike trail that has a waterfall.

Just look at the coolest doggo band in town. Chilling on a mountain top. You can see Frankie’s long lost brother Leo in the photo and his pack of dogs. They were super cool to hike off leash with, a freedom I grant my dogs in very rare circumstances.

photo by @tuckerleo_da_huskies

But as you can see the dogs were on their best behavior for our hike. And look at all those lazy huskies.

photo by @tuckerleo_da_huskies

This was not the end of our day with our friends. After a nap and lunch we met up again. And once again the weather threatened, in fact it downpoured. But stopped right as we got together for a little bikejoring.

It’s important that your dogs be old enough to before you start this sport so they don’t injure themselves in the long run. But it is a great sport. And one that all dogs can do.

There’s some basic commands your dogs should know. Like halt or stop. And right and left. And the best one. Leave it.

And you can see how happy they are. And the gorgeous fall colors.

It snowed that night. But in the morning the skies were clear so the dogs and I went on a short trail to the old Dillon Reservoir. It’s a super easy trail with the most amazing views.

And a lake for Storm to swim in.

And Frankie got to run around.

And then of course pose for photos.

From this hike we started the drive home. We found snow.

And some amazing fall foliage.

And then in Utah we stopped briefly for the views.

Even with a 28 hour total drive time and just about 28 hours in Colorado. This trip is always worth it.

San Diego County Safari Style

This past September one of my bffs and the pups packed up and headed out to the Warner Springs area for a midweek glamping trip, you read correctly, glamping. For those of you that don’t know me all that well, I camp begrudgingly. I’m learning to appreciate it for the necessary evil that it is, but for me it’s more about the hikes I can go on from there that I enjoy, not the actual camping itself.

But glamping, that’s something I can get behind. It takes my developing love for the outdoors and combines it with some pretty rad creature comforts. Which is why I booked this safari cabin through the Glamping with Pets website. It’s kinda like Airbnb for glamping.

Now isn’t this one of the neatest places to stay. The owners built this tent, and yes it is a tent in the strictest sense of the word, out of reclaimed wood and of course canvas. It had a jacuzzi, a kitchen and a claw foot tub in the bathroom that looks out over the hills in the area. There’s a ceiling fan to help to keep it cool and a heated mattress to keep you warm at night. Plus it’s completely fenced in so the pups can run free.

Doesn’t the bed look so cozy.

I had been planning on enjoying the clawfoot tub during my stay. But this rather scary looking insect had claimed the tub for his home, and I wasn’t going to displace him. It was a definite reminder that this is still camping, just camping with fantastic amenities.

Both nights we enjoyed gorgeous sunsets. Eating dinner on our little patio that my friend cooked up from my Hello Fresh box for the week.

Frankie really enjoyed the yard. Frankie and Storm ran around the yard constantly when we were at the tent. I swear they wore a track into the dirt.

Both the pups enjoyed the sitting area of the tent as well. Relaxing with me as I read a book for the first time in ages.

It was such a nice escape from the work world. Incredible relaxing, just what was needed.

As you can see Frankie agreed that it was a perfect trip.

And this view with this sunset truly made it spectacular.

Pupventure Goals

One of the things that I did as 2017 came to an end and 2018 began was sit down and think of some goals for the year. Some goals turned into almost 20, and almost all of them are adventure related, and if I’m adventuring, you better believe I’m bringing the dogs with me.

I think the hardest goal I set for myself is to go on 104 hikes this year. That means every weekend involves hiking both Saturday and Sunday. Which is rough for me because I really enjoy sleeping in. This past month I did not get in hikes every weekend with the dogs (for good reason, I was in Iceland) but we did manage to go on 6 hikes, for a total of just over 25 miles and 4300 feet in elevation gain.

Mt Baden-Powell (halfway)

Hanging out partway to the summit with our buddies @gameofdanes.

The first hike of the year was supposed to be Big Horn Mine Trail. A short flat hike. But when I parked and met up with some hiking buddies we took the obvious path and started climbing. And then climbing more. Switchback after switchback after switchback. This was not the hike I was expecting. And for good reason. We had picked the trail to the summit. And while it is on my list of goals for this year. I did not have the proper supplies ie snacks, for the dogs or me. I might have been just a little whiny on the trail since it was not what I had mentally prepared for. The pups and I will be back for a successful summit in a few months.

Millard Falls

One of my favorite morning hikes is to Millard Falls. A 30 ft waterfall found super close to Pasadena. It’s just about 2 miles round trip. With a couple of stream crossings. Which with our drought is not likely to even get your feet wet. The actual trail had boulders and deciduous trees. It is very shaded. The falls are much more impressive after a rain fall. But pretty any time of year. Tip: get there early. We finished our hike and here was a bus load of kids about to hit the trail.

Big Horn Mine Trail

Checking our the mine with our buddy @mynameisotto

I headed back the very next weekend to do this trail. And it was totally worth it. An easy 4 miles. Constant mountain view’s. And a gold mine at the end of the trail. History and hiking. Two of my favorite things. Of course, the trail was a little harder then expected because portions of it were covered in ice. Luckily we made it safely there and back, staying on our feet the entire time.

LA Scenic Byway

Took our buddy Tolkien from @thurisia_akk for this sunrise hike

This hike was really not spectacular. Wide fire trail, super rocky, and overall just not that pretty. I probably wouldn’t do it again. That being said we got there just at sunrise which made everything just amazing.

Charton Flats To Vetter Mountain

Puppy hiking with Potion from @thurisia_akkThis hike was another easy one that ended up going on much longer then intended because I missed the trail turn off. I had read a lot of reports that the hike was on a fire road. Which it was for 75% of the trail. But there was a turnoff from the fire road that you would easily miss if you blinked. The views from the top made the hike worth while. There’s also a ton of vault toilets on this hike on one side of the loops. And last … San Antonio Falls Another trail that’s mostly a fire road. It’s a short 2 miles round trip. With a pretty falls ad your destination. I normally let the dogs frolic in the falls if it’s empty there, but on this hike I saw a deer drinking at the falls, which was magical for me. And for the dogs, they wanted to play with a new friend. So they stayed on leash while we climbed the rocks at the base of the falls. With that list of our hikes trying to reach our goals for 2018 what are some of your resolutions?

Shhhh … I have a secret.

If you are an avid outdoorsy person, I’m sure you’ve talked about them, you’ve maybe showed distaste about them, maybe even wished that they would leave the outdoors alone. Come on, I know you know who I’m taking about, that’s right …. the Social Media Hiker.

And now you might be wondering what my secret is. And you’re thinking “oh no, it can’t be true.” But yes, it is. I am a Social Media Hiker. Well, let me rephrase that. I started out as a Social Media Hiker. I don’t have this natural affinity for the outdoors. Camping is still this weird, foreign concept to me, I’m rarely truly at peace out in nature, but I sure do love a pretty picture of a gorgeous spot. And there’s very little that makes me happier then seeing that gorgeous spot with my own eyes.

Because I am a little obsessed with getting that picture (some of which hang in my walls) I’ve accomplished so much. In 2017, the pups and I hiked 78 trails for a total of 263 miles. And my respect for nature has grown. I’ve always been an environmentalist. But seeing these gorgeous places with my own eyes has inspired me to do more to take steps to protect them, to make sure that the last. Even if, I’m part, it’s so I can see it and take my picture of it.

I want more people to go out into nature. I want more people to learn that it should be protected. And I want them to feel welcome. So if you too are a Social Media Hiker here are some tips.

1. Be Prepared. Look up the trails. Know how long it is and how long it should take you. Make sure you can finish it before it’s too dark. Bring plenty of water. Lots of water. More water then you think you need. Pack a snack (I forget this one all the time). Pack extra socks. Bring layers.

2. Leave No Trace! Seriously. You are walking through something else’s home. Don’t leave your trash. Don’t ever leave your trash, ever. Do not graffiti rocks. No one needs to know you were there. No one needs inspirational quotes on rocks. Visit and leave it nicer then when you came.

3. Respect the Rules. You might think that you should be able to go off the trail, or bring your dog, or whatever it is you think that makes you special. But don’t. Those rules are there for a reason. Many of these places are available to us because it is protecting the natural habitat of plants and wildlife. Breaking those rules, going off the trail might endanger what is protected and might endanger you.

4. Respect your Limits. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to turn around. Stay safe and make it back to your car on your own.

Enjoy the outdoors!

PNW, Final Thoughts

I read recently that travel should not be easy. That part of the reason to travel is to be challenged. This resonated with me deeply because as amazing as my summer trip was it definitely had its ups and downs.

I started planning this trip around November 2016. I found and booked a place to stay in December 2016. Then in January 2017 I found out I needed to have major surgery that has a fairly long recovery time. So even months prior to my trip I was concerned I wasn’t going to be able to explore the way I wanted to. But I was determined to keep my plans, so I spent the months between the surgery and leaving in July working towards my summer goals.

The night before I left for my trip I had a bit of a panic attack. It’s scary leaving your comfort zone for a month. And even with all the excitement and anticipation there’s also this worry about how things are going to go. After a few tears to release those emotions. I hit the road.

I would say my first set back was hiking Annette Lake. It was my 7th hike on the trip. The bugs were awful, absolutely awful. The hike was hard, harder then I thought it was going to be. And I struggled to keep my spirits up. I saw two snakes on the way back down. I hate snakes. My legs were wobbly. My back hurt. I was just done. So done and over it.

The most important thing though is the next day I still got up and went out exploring again.

A few days later Frankie, the wonderful Frankie, escaped the yard where I was staying. She ran into someone else’s yard and just wanted to play. That person wanted to call animal control to help catch her. Which of course terrified me. It was the last thing that I needed. I was able to get her back with out the help of animal control and my Airbnb host fixed the fence right away. However, I definitely had thoughts, thoughts of packing it all up and heading home.

I decided that I needed a day not exploring nature and decided to explore Seattle, shockingly without the dogs. I found a sitter on and headed to Seattle to do all the touristy things possible. I saw the Space Needle, Pike’s Market and toon the Underground Tour. Which all was awesome. But when I went back to my car the back passenger window was shattered and some of my things were stolen. Including my camera lenses. Honestly, after this I wanted to pack it up and head home. I spent time on the phone with my friend and my dad. Tears were shed. Fear and the feeling of violation was present. I called my insurance company and got my window fixed the next day. And I stayed to continue exploring with my pups.

There was also the hikes that I couldn’t complete because of the surgery. I hope to go back in 2018 and finish them.

There were hikes that I ended up not doing because I was just tired, physically I couldn’t handle trying to summit anything. I replaced them with different easier things. Like the inhabited ghost town.

And our little excursion to Leavenworth.

We did an urban hike through Seattle.

We went to a private dog park and agility training course.

While the trip did not go smoothly, it was perfect in its own way. It showed exactly how much I could overcome and that I could keep going. I saw so many beautiful things. It was truly amazing. Every aspect of the trip added to the entire experience and it would not have been as meaningful of an adventure if it hadn’t had both the highs and the lows.