I’ve got the best hiking partner ever. You may have seen him in some of my pictures: he’s cute, has dark hair, can run fast, and has four legs…
This is Ridley, AKA my favorite hiking partner! He has seemingly endless energy and a true love for rock scrambling, snow, playing fetch, and running. I think he would hike every single day if I had the energy and time for that.
I met Ridley in June 2016. My husband and I had just moved into our first home, and we were FINALLY allowed to have a dog! So after only a week of living there, we went out to an adoption clinic with Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends and chose the only black puppy in a litter of what appeared to be tiny lab puppies. Ridley was flown in from a small Alaskan village called Chevak, and we had no idea what his parents were (but we figured it was a mix of every single kind of dog that lived out there). We anticipated that Ridley would grow up to be a normal sized lab, but he ended up just growing long and keeping his short legs! His official breed is “village dog” which is definitely a thing up here in Alaska.
Ridley’s first hike was on the Reed Lakes Trail, a 7 mile round trip hike that can be pretty tough. Because he was only a few months old he got to ride most of the way in a backpack while getting a few breaks to run around on the trail.
He summited his first mountain last spring once the snow melted, and he has been addicted ever since! His favorite hike is probably Little O’Malley Peak because he likes to run up and down the mountain a few times while we slowly make our way up the trail.
When I did my first solo camping trip, Ridley came with me. Technically that means I wasn’t alone but I don’t think he counts because I had to carry all of his food and water. It was such a fun trip and I realized how lucky I am to have a dog that loves snow, hiking, and chewing sticks in a cabin while I read a book. It was a great bonding experience and he has loved camping ever since.
My husband and I are so lucky to have found the perfect hiking partner! And we’re also lucky that he came in a compact size. He’s super smart and sweet, and I’m looking forward to many more hiking adventures with him. My goal for next year is to train him to ride in my kayak with me so that he can spend even more time with us outdoors.
Do you have a four legged hiking partner? Tell me all about them!