Hiking with 5 Dogs

Hiking scenery
Zekie enjoys the hike.

I’ve been enjoying hiking again now that fall is here. I even hiked when my husband and daughter went on vacation, and I was hiking with the dogs by myself. The photos in this post are from hikes I took back in October while my family was away. That’s why there are still leaves on the trees in these pictures. The leaves here in Ohio have been down for a while now.

At the water's edge.
At the water’s edge.

I was quite proud of myself on these hikes. I took all five dogs by myself! I had to choose carefully where I was going to go each time so there would be enough room for that many dogs. I tried to pick trails that were very wide and little used. I also have coupler that allowed me to hook Zekie and Claire to one leash. This helped immensely. When Claire stopped to sniff something, Zekie pulled her along. This kept each dog in their allotted position and helped to limit tangled leads.

Shelties
Zekie and Claire on their coupler and leash.

Each of my dogs knows where I expect them to walk. Baxter, Shelby, and Claire always walk to my right with Shelby sometimes behind me if she is tired or the trail is narrow. Cassius and Zekie always walk on my left-hand side. I am not usually alone to walk all five at once, but with some minor modifications and communications, we figured it out.

Any time I walk dogs on my own, usually three of them, and they get out of their assigned position, I correct them and send them back to the expected spot. This saves on rearranging leashed on normal walks and was a great help when I took on five dogs!

Cherry Blossom Trail at West Brach State Park

I even tried a new trail that I had never been on before. That wasn’t in my plans, but when I got to the trail I intended to walk, someone was unloading a horse from a trailer, getting ready to go for a ride. I didn’t want to deal with all the dogs AND a horse and rider. I don’t think the rider wanted that either. So, we drove a little farther and went on a nearby trail called the Wild Black Cherry Loop at West Branch State Park. It was a very nice trail. There was woods and shoreline both to be enjoyed. There was a bit more up and down hills than I preferred when handling extra dogs, but we made it work.

West Branch State Park
View of the water at West Branch State Park.

The water views were beautiful. I can’t believe we never went on this trail before. It wasn’t very long at just a little over a mile, but we saw different types of terrain and woods and water views. There is another trail that splits off called the Club Moss Trail. It is less than a mile and if I hiked both of them, it would end up being about the distance we like to hike. So, that is an adventure for another day.

Hiking dogs
Baxter and Cassius

I stopped a few times for a photo op and Baxter and Cassius wanted to know what was up. There is no way I can walk five dogs and take pictures. I am good at multitasking, but not when traveling over tree roots and up and down hills.

West Branch
Evening view.

It’s turned out to be a good thing that it was a short walk. We went later than usual, and the sun started to go down about three quarters of the way through. This provided some lovely scenery, and I knew we weren’t far from the parking lot. The lateness did keep us moving at a good clip. Since we had never been on this trail before, I was relying on the trail blazes to chart our course. At certain points on the trail, I had to stop and look for blazes because I couldn’t tell which direction the trail took. This was of little concern to me because I knew we were less than a quarter mile from the car at any point since the trail was a loop. If it came to it, I could use the compass on my phone and find the campground road by walking due north. I did always manage to find that blue blaze and continue on.

Water view
View near sunset.

The angle of the sun as it began to set, gave the leaves a beautiful glow. I would highly recommend this trail. I think it does get a lot of use since it is within walking distance from the campground. Still, we only saw three people while we were there and two of them were hiking together.

We keep track and we managed to get in 22 hikes in each October and November. I am guessing we will not do as well in December. There are likely to be days when it is too cold or wet to walk. We are good to go down to about 15-20 degrees. Below that, you will find us at home with a cup of tea and a good book.

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