How a Dog Will Change Your Adventure Life… Forever
By Zachary Kenney
Friday’s used to be spent deciding the weekends adventure, on the fly, and the car was packed accordingly. Headed to the desert, up into the mountains, or even just by the river somewhere; it never really mattered where we went because we could always go anywhere. But that all changed this summer when my girlfriend and I got our little, endless ball of energy, named Gregor.
We’d always wanted a dog together, and finally everything aligned when we found the perfect little doggo for us. He’s a Spring Spaniel – Red Heeler mix, and so dang cute! But I think we should have looked before we leaped just a bit, because our adventures will be forever changed now that he’s apart of them. Let me explain.
See, before the dog, we could go backpacking into the mountains whenever we wanted and as far as we wanted. The only thing that limited us was our own two feet, and I guess finding water sources along the way. But there were no extra variables besides me and girlfriend, nothing else to worry about. To further make my point, we actually cut a backpacking trip by crushing 15 miles in a day so that we could pick Gregor up a day early. But the days on spontaneous backpacking trips and long miles were gone. At least, only for a little while longer. Because there is no way we could have done any of that trip with a pup or small dog. The terrain was too rough, the days were really hot, and water wasn’t the most abundant along the route we took.
The summer of 2018 has easily been deemed the summer of Gregor. Which should be read as, “the summer of short miles”. We found ourselves looking for hikes that were only a few miles long, rather than the epic one day summit hikes that are over 10+ miles long. And we traded in long mountain bike rides for the quick trail loops so that we can be back in time to let Gregor our of his crate. Not to mention all the plans to spend evenings cragging around in the cottonwoods were long gone with their “no dogs allowed” policies. You’d think after all of this, I’d try to steer people away from getting a dog, especially those who value their freedom (and free time). But it’s quite the opposite.
Sure, these past few months have been consumed with the pup, but it hasn’t all been bad. Since we got Gregor at such a young age (8 weeks), it’s been such a rewarding experience to watch him learn everything. This is something I never thought I’d care about in a million years until experiencing it first hand. Watching him grow and be able to hold his own in the mountains has been incredible. He went from not wanting to leave the comfort of our front yard, to cruising up and down rocky and steep trails in the Wasatch. Going from being timid and weary of my bike’s tires, to now racing behind them on a single track. And keeping up with me too! Even though we still can’t go backpacking or on long hikes yet, he has been the perfect excuse to stay local and explore the endless trails right here in Park City and SLC. Which brings me to my last point about how Gregor has changed my adventurous life.
Patience. Everything before him was always go-go-go for me. If I had the time, I needed to spend it doing something epic or physically challenging. And since I had a lot of time to spare, I found myself always trying to push the limits. But now that my time is a little more precious, I find myself trying to be more patients and strategic about the events in my life. Even when it doesn’t have to involve him, I try not to worry about getting as much adventure in as possible in a short amount of time. Yes, this means we’ve missed out on opportunities to jump on friends’ last minute trips or planned hikes. And I’m okay with that. Because lately, I’ve been so much more content with spending everyday outside with him and my girlfriend, rather than one big day in the mountains every now and then. Those days will soon be back, and I’m looking forward to them, but right now, it’s time to slow and and just enjoy the ride. The puppy ride that is.
So this one’s for you, adventure seekers and mountain athletes alike who are on the fence about getting a dog. Do it! Yeah, you might have to give up a few months of your time, but in the grand scheme of things it’ll be worth it in the end when you have a new partner to go everywhere. And hey, they won’t be the partner that texts you last minute to bail on the adventure you’ve been planning for months, but that’s mainly because dogs can’t text! So go out there and get an adventure pup of your own, it’ll make playing in the mountains even more full than it already is.
Just an abnormal guy in his twenties with a passion to explore the world and find adventure along the way. Originally from the East Coast, he made his way west and now loves in Park City, UT. He’s a mechanical engineer during the day, and always on the move when not in the office. Zach fell in love with making videos on his GoPro, and shared them with friends when he was in college. He realized then that he had a passion for telling stories through videos to inspire people to get out and live life to the fullest. Most of his videos and stories now feature adventures in the mountains and traveling around the world. He grew up playing organized sports like lacrosse, but it wasn’t until he moved to New England after college that he began to enjoy the outdoors and mountains. Since then, he now plans out his adventures and trips every day! You can follow Zack on his blog, www.ZackaryKenney.com, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.