The road to Laura

Basic information

  • Name of campground: Laura Community Caravan Park
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 227km

    20160613_092859
    Laura Caravan Park

Not much excites the Fourpaws more than a weekend away! It is certainly that time again and we are trampling our little paws in anticipation for our weekend in the mid-north.

20160613_093050
Fourpaws Hound checking out local history

Whilst the Fourpaws are avid campers and truly enjoy a secluded bush camp ground, there is just something about the prospect of 1 degree nights in a tent that the Fourpaws can not fathom. Mr. Fourpaws would like to interject that it is indeed Mrs. Fourpaws who can not tolerate the cold, and listening her complain under her breath about the temperature for two days does not make for a fun filled weekend.

20160612_085616
Mr. Fourpaws and Hound catching some zzz in our tent

So we as a family decided to hire a powered site to set up our tent on for the weekend. (The luxuries of a blow heater should never be underestimated!) We had chosen to hike around the mid-north this weekend and Laura seemed a great place to set up our base.

The caravan park itself is small, nonetheless we had what we needed. Pets are most welcome in the park if you are staying in your own accommodation. As with most places pets can not be taken into cabins, ablutions etc. Common courtesy rules apply as always, hound must remain on a leash in the park and we must pick up after him. All goes without saying really.

20160611_154333
A stroll around Laura

Our personal experience in the park was not the greatest. Sadly there is always some bad eggs around. We happened to be camped near a large group with several children who were misbehaved. These children made a game out of shining lights into our tent whilst we were trying to sleep and stirring up Fourpaws Hound into a frenzy. We could clearly hear them egging him on to bark. Sadly these children continued taunting Fourpaws Hound the next day and no matter how much we told them to leave him alone our requests were met with laughter and more taunts. Even the children’s parents found this to be funny. If I may go on a slight tangent of a personal opinion – Fourpaws hound may be small and easily controlled, but if he were not, and he would have snapped out at any of these children – despite our constant requests to leave him alone and give him some proximity, we would have been entirely at fault. There is no doubt in my mind that the laughing parents would become abusive toward us. Why do people not teach their children to leave strange dogs alone? To always ask owners before touching them? and why is it acceptable for them to taunt our dog until he is physically trembling and inconsolable, but not acceptable for us to tell other peoples children to leave our hound alone?

20160611_182237
Camping dinner with no table!

Alright, back to cheery Mrs. Fourpaws! The town of Laura is quite small, although it served wonderfully as our base for the weekend. There are a few interesting points to check out around the town and we reached them all easily by foot. (Fourpaws Hounds’ favorite was the football oval that was full of birds to chase around!)

20160611_123621
Fourpaws Hound making friends with the hounds at Snowtown Hotel

On Our journey home form Laura we decided to partake in a pub meal for lunch. (A rare treat for the Fourpaws.) We chose Snowtown Hotel. Mr. Fourpaws went in to check if we could have Fourpaws Hound on the porch with us, and to our delight the hotel is dog friendly! There are two resident hounds who are as beautiful outside as they are in. We happily took Fourpaws Hound inside with us and let him mingle freely with the local hounds. We received fantastic service (and prices!) and thoroughly enjoyed every last bite of our meals.The Fourpaws highly recommend Snowtown hotel if you are on the road north!

Warnings/ Comments about Laura Community Caravan Park

  • Powered site fee is $25.00 per night
  • Pets are welcome but must remain on a leash
  • No kiosk or shop facilities are available, so bring everything you need
  • Tesltra reception is strong
  • Caravan Park entrance on North terrace

 

Bundled up in Bundaleer

Basic information

  • Name of hike: Bundaleer Forest
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 211km20160612_130018

The Fourpaws have been a tad skeptical about getting in a great hike this week. It has been bucketing with rain day after day. Now you better believe that when we discovered a sunny day was headed our way that we were in the car and down the street in a flash!

20160612_115312
It’s not raining, yay!

This week our hike took us quite a way north. All the way to Bundaleer forest. Fourpaws Hound grew tiresome of the road and had a good nap on the way there. (Giving us a VERY energetic hound once we arrived!)

Instead of grabbing a car park near the entrance at the picnic ground we decided to drive further into the forest to have a look around. We found parking off the road side at the start of the conservators track and started our journey from there.

20160612_115629
The Fourpaws boys found a log bridge!

Fourpaws hound bounded ahead of us in glee, leaping over puddles and smelling everything! Then he would bound over… wait.. sniff sniff… what is that mummy Fourpaws? … Do I smell… oh my gosh! … I do! … I smell sheep!  YAYYY!!  Faster than lightening Fourpaws Hound was after the sheep. (Who trotted away with slight annoyance.) Never have I seen a dog who loves to chase sheep so much and then give up on them as soon as they move a few meters. That dear hound of ours is a crazy one.

The conservator’s walk took us through some bush land to the conservator’s hut. (We learned this is available as accommodation and will be very interested in staying here in the future.) We then wound around to the main car park and picnic area.

20160612_133813
Mr. Fourpaws and Hound enjoying the sunny day

From here the Fourpaws wandered along the track onto the maple walk and wow! What an incredible little track. At 1.5km it is very short and easy but holey moley is it beautiful. Easily falling into this years top three walks for scenery. This amazing walk somehow changes its look every couple of hundred meters and manages to get better every change. Proving to be the most popular track in the park (with good reason) we did cross paths with a few other people along the way.

Next up we checked out the sculpture walk, very short and so named for the metal work sculptures on display. Worth the time it takes to get there, we found the sculptures to be an interesting point of the day. (I am unsure if Fourpaws Hound agrees with me on that, I feel he much preferred the sheep!)

20160612_123439
Mrs. Fourpaws and Hound at the sculptures

Lastly we took on the scenic walk. This was a little harder to find and we had almost given up when we accidentally stumbled upon a track marker. The views from the top of the hill make the scenic walk worth while. We could not help but take a break to indulge in the vista before us, despite the sharp bite in the wind.

The track then winds back down the hill and through both bush and forest areas, along with some historic ruins to wander through. Returning us back to the main picnic grounds. From there we took the conservator’s track back to our car.

20160612_130121
Taking in the view at the top of the hill. Beautiful!

Fourpaws Hound had an incredible day frolicking through the forest and getting up close to some sheep. We very highly recommend Bundaleer forest and are excited to return one day for some off-track hiking, to walk the section of the Heysen that meanders through the forest, and to hike New Campbell Hill. We would also love to check out Curnow’s hut too.

20160612_142152
Fourpaws Hound poking around the ruins

As we discovered Bundaleer is much too big to properly explore in just one day and we are keen to return in the warmer months for an overnight stay in one of the stone huts. (That is if the huts are pet friendly. Mrs. Fourpaws will research and report results on this later.) If we were to use a star rating system (or a paw rating system) Bundaleer Forest would get a full five paws from us!

Warnings/ Comments about Bundaleer Forest

  • Main car park and picnic area on Springs Road
  • Walking trails are marked well and mostly obvious. Occasionally a marker can be slightly difficult to spot.
  • Great and safe place for hounds.
  • Telstra reception remained connected throughout area, although signal did weaken at times.
  • Forest reserve is closed to the public on days of total fire ban.
  • Dogs are allowed in the forest but must be kept on a leash in the picnic areas.

How would you feel about staying in an 1800s stone hut in the middle of a forest?

 

The Fourpaws Prince of Bel-Air

Basic information

  • Name of Hike: Belair National Park
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 14km20160604_125841

What a fantastic winter day we were blessed with for this hike! After cold rainy days all week we were ecstatic to discover rays of sunshine streaming in the window this morning. ( Although a tad disappointed we would not yet get our chance to try out Fourpaws Hounds new raincoat .)  Eager to get going, Mrs. Fourpaws had the honor of selecting our destination, and Belair National Park sounded great!

20160604_132436
I can’t believe it’s winter!

We parked at the very top corner of the park, near the railway station and checked out the park maps and trails. As per usual we decided not to stick to one track, but just to wander along whatever direction looked good to us at the time.

Fourpaws Hound blazed the trail ahead of us and had a fantastic time doing so. There were plenty of things to smell and endless sticks to pick up. (Even if he does drop them after two meters when he ultimately finds something more interesting.)

20160604_124141
I found a tunnel, can we go through? Pleeeaaasssseeee

All of the trails are maintained and clearly marked. We ended up combining three trails together to elongate our hike. The waterfall trail in particular was our favorite of the day as it offered a little more challenge and some lovely views from the lookouts along the way.

The park offers a lot of facilities near the main car park. Everything from ovals to playgrounds to tennis courts to barbecue areas. With many welcomed toilet blocks to boot!

20160604_125712
Mummy Fourpaws, Look at the view!

Further out in the park you would not even know how close these facilities are, as you do get much more of a path-through-the-bush feel.The Fourpaws felt right at home here. (Although Fourpaws Hound makes himself at home almost anywhere!)

20160604_153833
Trailblazing!

We came across only one kangaroo, an echidna, a koala and a couple of large and very scary looking spiders. We gave them a wide berth, decidedly grateful that it was not also snake season.

20160604_151631
OK Daddy Fourpaws, you can trail-blaze with me

Whilst there were people in the park it was certainly not crowded along the trails. The playground area was considerably more populated albeit not so much as to be off-putting. There were a number of other hounds we passed throughout the day. Much to Fourpaws hounds delight, of course 🙂

Screenshot_20160604-200602
14 km of family fun

I am grateful that we hiked Belair today. For a national park so close to the city we were impressed. There are more than enough paths on offer to satiate any hiker for a full day, whilst having amenities to cater for an array of sports. A beautifully maintained park offers Adelaidians (It’s still a word, people!) a taste of bush walking virtually on their doorstep. A great place for the whole family, footed and pawed alike.

Comments/ Warnings about Belair National Park

  • Fees apply to use the main car park
  • Whilst amenities are provided in the main area, water is not avaliable throughout the park
  • Fun and safe place for hounds
  • Telstra reception great throughout area
  • Car parking off Upper Sturt Road

How do you chose a place to hike?  We would love to hear!

 

 

 

 

 

The raincoat conundrum

With winter setting in hard and fast this year we had become a little worried about how Fourpaws Hound would cope with hiking in the elements. Well, Mrs. Fourpaws has been worrying anyway. (Probably too much 🙂 ) After our rainy hike recently it became crystal clear to us that having a wet, sopping, cold hound to take home was not an experience we were keen to repeat throughout winter.

20160522_133613
One wet hound!

My solution was to look at rain coats for hounds. Mr. Fourpaws didn’t object to this. (It often takes his wisdom for me to differentiate between a necessary item for Fourpaws Hound over something ridiculous that he does not need.) Armed with Mr. Fourpaws blessing I hit the internet to research what the world of dog apparel had to offer.

I was immediately blasted with endless options, price ranges, (some quite ridiculous) material types and all sorts of paraphernalia. I had no idea of the selections that are out there! Did I want a parka, an oilskin, a plastic coat or a moleskin. What a conundrum!

FB_IMG_1454459013637
Did you say drive?

I was looking for three (four) particular features. I wanted one: Water resistant, and two: Wind proof, and three: warm. (and four red. All of Fourpaws Hounds’ belongings are red whenever possible.) Personally I found it much too difficult to make a decision based on pictures. I wanted to try on a real one, test the warmth and make sure what I was getting would best serve my (Hounds’) needs.

Fourpaws Hound did not need a second invitation to go for a drive. He barreled out of the front door and jumped into the car, eagerly awaiting his outing.

20160601_174016
I’m a model, you know what I mean

The pet store in face had quite a large range of wind and water proof coats, all of which were available in Fourpaws hound size. (small) The first coat to try on was the Ruff N Rugged oilskin coat. It was a good fit and appeared warm and windproof. We also tried a Weatherbeeta windbreaker. This also passed the look and feel test. Bonus points to the Weatherbeeta for a very cozy fleece lining. Next up was the DGG polka dot raincoat. We rejected this one straight away as it was much too flimsy for our needs. It also had no lining to keep hound warm. This is probably best suited to keep hound dry in a light drizzle on a short walk around the block. Next up was the Ruff N Rugged utility coat. This offers rain wind and cold protection. Also a good fit.

20160601_174038
I do my little thing on the catwalk

Three contenders in the running. We decided against the oilskin first as the lining was not quite as warm as the other coats. Let’s hear it for the final two in the running! After making allowing Fourpaws Hound to prance around the store modelling the two coats we eventually decided to go ahead with the (Wait for it!) Ruff N Rugged utility coat. The reason being – it came in red. (I know, I know I can’t help myself!) Both jackets appeared they would meet our needs, so my love of colour coordination won the battle!

20160601_173912
The winner!

Now I am finding myself almost (Almost!) wishing for rain on our next adventure. (next up is a wind and waterproof jacket for Mrs. Fourpaws, then it can rain all day!) Until then I will just have to turn the sprinkler on Fourpaws Hound wait for a rainy day to test it out. keep your eyes out for an update in a future post.

The Fourpaws are very happy to give a shout-out to the team at Pet Stock Parafield for their assistance and advice in choosing the right coat for our hound. (and letting him model them too!)

Have you ever bought your hound a raincoat?           (I would love to see a picture!)

 

 

A stroll near the city

Basic information

  • Name of hike: Brownhill Creek Recreation Reserve
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 9km20160529_124211

There is a certain level of zen to be found in every action we take in life. Before leaving for a hike I will always make a bacon and egg breakfast for the Fourpaws family. I try not to rush through this (no matter how excited we are to hit the road) rather I relish in the thought that I have a family to care for.

20160529_124434
It’s a beautiful morning

After our morning ritual we set out for Brownhill Creek. We wanted to have a go at something close to the city today. Car parking seemed to be in small lots scattered along the roadside, so we picked one at random and began our walk.

We set off up a steep hill that circled around to a sheer decline. So far so good. We love the exercise! For a reserve close to the city there seemed to be no one around. We did think it a little strange but carried on regardless.

20160529_124844
Mummy and daddy Fourpaws look at me, I’m a mountain goat

The path we had chosen descended into what I can only describe as a little bit of a dumping ground. We circled around the trash pile and emerged – at our car. Hmm. Checking our map (and feeling just a tad silly) the Fourpaws picked a new path to take us further along the creek. Now we found the people! (Along with plenty of four legged friends for Fourpaws Hound to say hello to!) The trail followed the road-side and was shared by walkers and cyclists – making for one crowded pathway.

20160529_124852
Mrs. Fourpaws having to help hound down from his perch

Deciding this was not quite our scene we ventured further into the reserve only to discover that every path we tried to take ultimately crossed the creek. With no safe (or dry) place to hop, skip or jump to the other side, we continued to make our way up the creek.

20160529_124904
Fourpaws Hound a little upset he needed rescuing

Eventually we tired of the crowding and lack of crossings and decided to ditch the pathways completely and wander through the reserve. this was a little more to our taste, however the proximity to other hounds and people alike made certain that Fourpaws Hound had little chance to romp free today. Many of the places we trekked were prone to sharp drop-offs and impassable areas, forcing us to double back on occasion.

There were many lovely places to stop for lunch, though we didn’t stumble across any that provided much seclusion. Brownhill Creek, whilst a lovely place for a casual stroll did not offer the Fourpaws what they were hoping for this weekend.  Although there are many picturesque places along the creek and throughout the reserve.

20160529_123522
Fourpaws Hound showing off his good looking booty

To anyone local to this area we would highly recommend regular walks as it is quite lovely. Unfortunately it is a bit too far for the Fourpaws to drive to make this a go-to destination for hounds regular workout. (He’s gotta keep that booty looking good!)

All in all it was a great place for a short walk but a not-so-great place for a Fourpaws hike.

Warnings/ Comments about Brownhill Creek

  • Cyclists use the walking path (at high speed)
  • Car parking along Brownhill Creek road
  • Telstra reception strong throughout area.

 

Do you have a favorite hike that is close to the city?

Keeping it beautiful

Being responsible sounds like a bit of a drag. Boring even. Not to me! I love to know that by looking after my family properly I am nurturing them into something amazing. I get a rush of joy when i do the right thing, and I experience something akin to elation when I make my contribution to helping the world become a better place. I strive to keep myself very positive.

20160501_132117
Beautiful!

The Fourpaws believe in taking this attitude out into the world with us. There are many rituals we have both at home and out in the wilderness, that we employ to contribute our part in making this country a beautiful place. Today I want to talk a little about the things we should all be doing (no matter how annoying) to make our country enjoyable now, and forever.

I’ll start with knowing where you are going! (Not just on the map.) Being aware of your destination and any rules they have laid out. If a place says no dogs, it is for a reason. There are no exceptions, it is not a chance to excuse yourself (oh- MY hound is good, we can go.) There may be a multitude of reasons for this rule and hounds’ safety may be one of them! (We are blessed to live in a country where people care enough to make rules for our safety!)

20160416_181331
Also beautiful!

Now let’s talk about poop! (Just what you have all been waiting for- I know) The Fourpaws always have a supply of poop bags. Its not necessarily fun to pick up after your hound, but it is important. Too many times I have come across a big doo doo in the middle of a trail.Even when wandering far from the trail, hounds’ poop may interfere with the territory of a native animal. (This is their home sweet home, not our hounds’) With poop bags available in pet stores, grocery stores, department stores and dollar stores (not to mention online!) there really is no excuse not to keep a stash on hand. Not to mention the fun colours they come in and the super-cute poop bag dispensers available to clip onto hounds’ leash. (Fourpaws Hound had a red one:) )

20150311_094435
Bird-tiful!

We are always certain to follow fire safety rules while camping. We always bring firewood from home (unless a specific campsite allows firewood collection) Mr. Fourpaws has the duty of building a safe fire pit, capable of containing whatever size fire we have decided upon. ALWAYS ALWAYS adhere to fire ban seasons and total fire ban days. These are in place for good reason. Anybody living in Australia is aware of how devastating a bush fire can be. We never ever let fire safety be something that gets ignored. Side note: If having a fire-don’t forget the marshmallows, yum!

My last rant topic for today is rubbish! We always pack out what we pack in. Every. Last. Piece. We make this easier by using our own drink bottles instead of disposable bottles, and I always pack our food in Tupperware containers as opposed to cling wrap or plastic packaging. We always keep a rubbish bag on hand as most of the places we venture have no rubbish facilities. On the odd occasion we do have rubbish we are happy to bag it up and take it home with us.

20160313_152425
Kiss for Mrs. Fourpaws for keeping it beautiful!

Many of us strive to do the right thing (sadly there will always be a few bad eggs in the bunch.) I honestly feel that the more I keep positive the more my message of keep Australia beautiful will resonate. We live in a truly amazing country. Looking after it gives a sense of satisfaction and joy. I am very hopeful that generations from now humans and hounds alike will enjoy the same beauty in nature as we do today.

 

Do you have any tips on leaving the smallest footprint possible while enjoying nature?

Rainy hikes make for muddy hounds

Basic information

  • Name of hike: Onkeeta trail, Kuitpo Forest
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 54km20160522_131301

We set out today for Kuitpo Forest. As usual we had little information about our destination but eagerly chowed our bacon and egg breakfast of champions, packed our hiking bag and hit the road. Winter sure is setting in quickly this year, although there was no rain forecast for this day the sky did look mighty dark. As usual this was not a deterrent for us and we eagerly awaited our new adventure as we made our way there.

20160522_140555
Onkeeta trail 10 km.. Lies!

We easily found car parking (for once!) but then faced the conundrum of what direction to walk. Oh the problems we face! Being the insightful people we are we delegated the decision making duties to Fourpaws Hound. We did away with his leash and let him run run run. This hound loves his freedom, and so we charged off towards the left!

Kuitpo Forest is a peaceful place, the track is very large and well maintained. It appears most of the trail is actually service roads, making for a very easy walk. Nary an incline nor rock to scramble up marks this as one of the easiest hikes we have ever encountered.

20160522_114457
Did I get in the picture mummy Fourpaws?

Not even halfway through our walk, did the weather forecast decide to be wrong. (Not overly surprising 😦 ) The dark sky opened and it rained. Of course it did, we didn’t have raincoats! Oh the humanity! OK maybe I am a tad melodramatic, to be completely forthright, it was more of a drizzle than a downpour. So faced with the decision to double back or forge ahead, we of course, soldiered on!

Fourpaws Hound spent the next several kilometers splish splashing in the newly formed puddles, getting himself as muddy as he possibly could. (Much to Mrs. Fourpaws dismay as her car WAS actually pretty clean.) Well hey, its just not fun unless you get as dirty as you can is it?

20160522_130211
Mr. Fourpaws and hound not deterred by the rain

Around 9km into the hike the Fourpaws were all just wet enough and just cold enough that the thought of a hot chocolate and some home made popcorn sounded like a call from heaven. we were ready to call it a day, and on a 10km hike that’s some pretty good timing!  Alas, upon reaching the 10km mark it was blatantly obvious that we had not circled back to the car. Gasp! A quick GPS check revealed that we were indeed still a while away.

Fourpaws hound by this point has stopped seeing the fun of jumping in puddles and had turned into a soppy, sad-looking mess. He was unequivocally done for the day. Mr Fourpaws donated his jacket to the cause and Mrs. Fourpaws bundled up and carried Fourpaws Hound. Much to his delight might I add. I am wondering how successful we would be with a hound raincoat. How he would react to it and how dry it would actually keep him. I’m interested in looking into it. (I may or may not jump at the chance to dress Fourpaws Hound up in anything adorable…)

20160522_120228
Free ride! yay!

As the trail had ended and there were no more markers we used GPS to return to the car, taking the hike to a total of 12km. I’m not sure why but we had naturally assumed the 10km trail would circle back to the starting point, and not end on the roadside 2km away. Bizarre, but another lesson learned.

Screenshot_20160527-145531
Today’s hike

A thankful and re-energized Fourpaws Hound was toweled down and snuggled in front of what is thankfully a very good car heater, ready for the drive home. Overall Kuitpo Forest was peaceful, very safe for hound and an easy walk. A little too easy for the Fourpaws family who like a little more challenge, however we are grateful that we have been, and had the opportunity to experience this place.

20160522_155008
so warm

Warnings/ Comments about Kuitpo Forest

  • Tracks are very easy walking- mostly service roads.
  • A very safe (and fun!) place for hounds.
  • Trail markers are very clear and visible.
  • Trail is marked as 10km. This is NOT a loop track. Distance back to car is closer to 12km. (It would be very easy to cut along other service roads to make the track distance much shorter.)
  • Parking/ hike entrance on Peters Creek Road at junction of Knott Hill Road.
  • Telstra reception remained good throughout area.

Raincoats for winter-walking hounds. Great investment or marketing gimmick. What is your opinion?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourpaws Hounds’ First summit!

Basic information

  • Name of hike: Mount Crawford Loop
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 52km

    FB_IMG_1454459013637
    I’m ready to go! Where to today?

Today we are off to explore Mount Crawford. Bright eyed and bushy tailed (OK-only one of us actually has a tail.) We set out reasonably early for a day of expedition. The only information we were able to glean was that somewhere on Chalks Road is a car park and trail head. Now this seems to happen to us a lot, but we could not for the life of us find neither trail head nor car park. We made the decision to head to the Mount Crawford visitors center on Warren Road. Arriving at the center we realized part of the trail we were looking for  ran directly through the car park. Yay for dumb luck  knowing exactly where we are going!

We started by heading towards the back of the visitors center, passing the shed area, and were on our way up the road. The path along this part of the trail is marked by Heysen trail markers.

20160507_132757
Ready to start! Mrs Fourpaws absolutely remembering her jacket!

Today was the first hike of the year where we felt that summer was surely behind us. There was a little bitterness to the wind. This did not bother any of the Fourpaws, in fact we agreed to do a longer than usual hike. (Mrs. Fourpaws of course made certain to bring a jacket. brrr!)

The trail crosses Mount road and then traverses the area of Little Mount Crawford. As fate would have it this area is fenced off and right there glaring at us is a dog bait warning sign. Well, now that the Fourpaws are prepared for such circumstances we had a real live reason to strap Fourpaws Hound up in his brand new muzzle. Quite proud of ourselves and with a contented smile we entered the domain of Little Mount Crawford. (OK-so Fourpaws Hound wasn’t smiling per-se.)

20160507_132738
Fourpaws Hound at the very top of his first summit!

Fourpaws Hound reacted to his muzzle very much like he did on his test run, occasionally stopping to paw at the contraption but lasting increasing amounts of time between stops. Fortunately we crossed the fenced off area quickly and were able to offer Fourpaws Hound a timely reprieve from his mouth-cage situation. – Fourpaws Hound would like to make a side note that it was decidedly NOT a fast reprieve.

After emerging from the fenced park Mr. Fourpaws and I realized just how close Mount Crawford was, and -amazingly- how much altitude we had already gained. Mr. Fourpaws suggested climbing to the summit, and being the little wet-nosed adventurer he is, Fourpaws Hound immediately granted Mr. Fourpaws carte blanche.

20160514_121013
Our little contribution to the summit rock pile 🙂

So the ascension began. Mount Crawford is a gentle climb, quite easy I would say for even beginner fitness levels. We reached the summit easily and celebrated our little milestone with lunch. Indulging in one of Fourpaws Hounds’ favorite treats, cheese and bacon muffins. Yum!

After our decent we elongated our day by meandering along both the Heysen and Kidman trails. The entire area was devoid of people and a very peaceful day was had. There are endless tracks and trails around this area and many of them have piqued our interest for future outings. We hiked back to the car bypassing the Little Mount Crawford area as to avoid any non-essential muzzling of our happy hound.

Screenshot_20160525-202429
Our route for today

A great day had by the Fourpaws family!

Warnings/ comments about Mount Crawford

  • Trail markers for both the Heysen and Kidman trails are marked clearly, however no loop trail markers were seen.
  • Little Mount Crawford is baited, although the area is fenced off and warnings were posted at official entry/exit points.
  • Area maps are available free of charge at the visitors center – very helpful!
  • Telstra reception remained reasonable throughout the area.

 

What summit was your hounds’ first?

 

 

Let’s talk about the ‘M’ word.

As I shared in a fit of frustrations last week, the Fourpaws family have decided it was time to start researching ways to keep Fourpaws Hound safe during our hikes through baited land. There are really only two feasible solutions. Either to leave Fourpaws Hound at home, or to invest in a (dare I say it) … muzzle. As we are decidedly not the family to leave hound behind, a muzzle seemed to be our only option.

20151208_101949
Did you just say the M word mummy?

Now I am fairly inexperienced (OK- completely inexperienced) when it comes to muzzles. I have never had a need for one in the past, and it would be fair to say I was a little apprehensive about the task of procuring the perfect muzzle. To start I did a little research online, then equipped with some basic knowledge I bundled Fourpaws Hound into the car and headed to our local pet store.

I entered bright eyed and optimistic, they had what appeared to be a reasonable range of muzzles. It was immediately obvious that none of the soft muzzles or elastic muzzles would suffice for our particular needs as these are primarily designed as a barking deterrent through which hound can easily eat and drink. The muzzle recommended to me by staff for my particular needs was the Company Of Animals Baskerville muzzle. I was a little (OK- a lot!) unsure as the packaging states that the muzzle is ‘treat friendly.’ Now if treats can be given, obviously hound can still eat, ergo defeating the intention of said muzzle. The sales lady was quite persistent that he would not be able to eat through the muzzle, so I indulged her and allowed her to fit one onto Fourpaws Hound. This was a no-go for certain as one size was so big he slipped easily out of the side, and the very next size down was so small that the top of the nose piece sat directly on hounds eyeballs!

20151129_100900
I’m not going shopping with you for that. I’m dead. D. E. D. dead.

A little deflated, Mrs. Fourpaws and hound trudged from the shop wondering what to try next. After a little discussion (which may or may not have been Mrs. Fourpaws just talking out loud to Fourpaws Hound) we decided to try a rather large pet warehouse-y type store in our area in the hope that we would find some success. Alas this store had even less of a selection and moreover not a single muzzle in Fourpaws Hounds’ size! Now we must have looked a little downtrodden as a very nice lady approached me to tell me about a different pet store to try. (Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers). Deciding we had nothing to lose we hopped in the car and plugged the new destination into the GPS. We are so glad we did! The new store was smaller than expected however the service was fantastic! We were shown a plastic cage muzzle that not only fit hound properly, it gave him excellent protection from being able to eat and it was much, much easier to get on him. We decided to take this one home and give it a try. I am happy to recommend Pet Café in Campbelltown after my experience here, very happy with both the service and the prices.

20160523_163339
our well fitting muzzle

Getting Fourpaws Hound used to a muzzle is going to take some time. We gave him a little trial run and I will say that if he really really wants to he can remove it, albeit with difficulty. Mr. Fourpaws and I walked Fourpaws Hound a little with the muzzle and he did stop a lot to try and begin the process of removing it. Although it took little prompting to get him moving again, we found that each time we did, he walked further and further before stopping to paw at it.Towards the end of our test run hound was lasting about three minutes between stops. I believe that like with many new things it is all about making him comfortable and letting him adjust slowly to having something strange on his face.

20160523_163108
Fourpaws Hound the muzzle model!

All in all I am now more educated on the topic of different muzzles and it has been a reasonable experience. I have a new pet store to check out when I am in need of Hound supplies, and I am a tad out of favor with Fourpaws Hound. (Nothing a few treats won’t fix 🙂 ) Hopefully he will continue to get used to being muzzled quickly, and we can rest easy that when we do come across some baited land unexpectedly that we are well prepared. Look out for an update on our success in a later post.

Have you had success in acclimating a hound to a muzzle?

 

A Summer day in Autumn

Basic information

  • Sturt Gorge Recreation Park
  • Distance from Adelaide CBD: 19km20160501_132200

Mr. Fourpaws took the liberty of selecting our hike for today. (Not at all making Mrs. Fourpaws nervous.) We ended up at the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park. Not too far from the city, it seemed well worth a try. It would appear Mr. Fourpaws lives another day!

Using GPS to navigate our way to the park was easy, locating a car park however, was not. After driving around the area for a while we stumbled upon a service entry for the park and decided to leave our car here for the day.

We stopped to look at the provided maps, but decided to just start walking along different trails, chopping and changing our direction every time we saw a track that looks amazing. Let me tell you, this was not hard to do! (Mr. Fourpaws is a lucky man.) I was a little skeptical at first, however the further we walked the more I loved the place. There were not too many other people around, although we did pass a few groups. Having said that, to Fourpaws Hounds’ delight we felt safe enough to walk sans leash.

20160501_132654
Fourpaws Hound showing off his mountain goat skills

We were blessed with fantastic weather for this time of year, the sun was out and the breeze still had some warmth. The park is surprisingly large considering its proximity to the suburbs and city. We certainly do live in a wonderful metropolis. 🙂

20160501_133831
There was a real life log bridge! photo was mandatory.

Fourpaws Hound thoroughly enjoyed Sturt Gorge, darting from one side of the track to the other, running ahead of us and galloping back to check on us. This is the happiest we have seen him on a walk in a long time, something just sparkled in his eyes today. He also took full advantage of the warm day by splashing in the creek on several occasions. I am certain he wanted me to chase him into the water, but much to  his dismay I stayed safely ashore. (Mrs. Fourpaws does not go into the water unless it is over 30 degrees.) (not negotiable.) So Fourpaws Hound had to find contentment in chasing sticks into the creek.

20160501_132321
Is it safe to go in mummy Fourpaws?

There were a few steep slopes to conquer throughout the park, but nothing sheer enough to deter us from pushing forward. We found all the tracks to be very well maintained and there was an abundance of lovely little places to stop for lunch.

20160501_135635
at the top of a steep slope, no challenge for us!

The Fourpaws ended up enjoying today so much that once we had looped back to the car, we decided we still wanted more! So we trotted off down the hill to walk one more trail before going home. A fantastic day and a surprisingly lovely park, now peppered with the footprints of the Fourpaws.

Warnings/Comments about Sturt Gorge Recreation Park

  • We were unable to find an actual car park. We parked next to the service entry on Broadmeadow Road in Flagstaff Hill.
  • Trails were clearly marked and easy to follow.
  • Telstra reception strong throughout park.
  • Trails are in a residential area, so keep Hound leashed if he is not good with people, and even if he is keep his leash handy, as there will be other walkers/cyclists in the area.

 

Have you found a fantastic trail in a suburban area?