There is something satisfying about hiking with your dog, It’s the smile they put on your face when you watch them run about freely, off leash looking completely happy, and free. Bear is at his happiest when he gets to run, he’s so fast that sometimes I wonder if he is part greyhound, or horse! His tongue lolls out of his mouth as he bounds up hills, or runs circles in a clearing. Even if he ventures off from our side to sniff something that’s caught his attention, he never fails to run at full speed to get back to our side. There are also the times when he looks thoroughly annoyed with how slow we are compared to him, and he’ll stop to stare at us with eyes that look as if he’s saying, “come on, we have places to explore!!” I think we’re also lucky that Bear understands that we are a family, and that makes it a lot easier to trust him being off leash in moments like these, because we know he will always be at our side.
Once we decided to do the Guana Bay hike to the natural tide pools on the Dutch side of Sint Marteen. This hike is long, and I consider it to be moderate in terms of how challenging it is. The hike is breathtaking as it is considered a coastal hike where the path follows the ocean. The hike is also popular for people to complete with their dogs as it wears them out easily! There was a part of the path that was slippery with mud as it had just rained heavily, it was also the most dangerous section of the entire hike. With one false move you could slip far down onto the rocks below, or into the unrelenting ocean. I didn’t want to continue, I wanted to give up finding the natural tide pools. My Fiancé was already past this part of the path, trying to offer words of encouragement that I could do it. I may have even cried like a baby telling him that I didn’t want to keep hiking anymore!
Now, Bear who was already ahead of both of us on the trail came running back down, all the way to me as if he could sense how afraid I was only to give me this look, and a little bark that I can only interpret as his own form of encouragement. As soon as I made my next move, and finding a way to climb up, Bear was wagging his tail furiously while looking at me, we continued our hike, with Bear bounding far ahead to sniff around, I think he was proud of himself. Who can resist encouragement from your family members, especially when your own dog seems to believe in your hiking abilities. My Fiancé and Bear are quite the team together, and they always make sure I complete the hike we’ve set out to do. I’ll also admit that after we completed the Guana bay hike we were completely drenched and covered in mud, but at least we didn’t have to worry about the Caribbean heat.
Hiking with Bear is always fun, (And, this is me saying that as someone who would never go out of their way voluntarily to go on a hike!) we love to see how he reacts to new sights, and creatures! We once ran into a goat farm on our hike, now this was the first time for Bear to see goats. I’ll never forget the look on his face, it was one of terror and curiosity, his mouth was even hanging open slightly as he kept looking at me, then to the goats, and back again.
It’s always exciting when we hike with Bear, I also feel more comforted on our isolated hikes when the three of us stick together, Bear can also be protective of us and we’re just as protective of him. We always make sure to pack items specifically for him from a hydro bowl, to treats, and even a dog first aid kit since the island had potential dangers from cactus, to centipede bites. Bear is also not the type to wander completely off the actual path, he may go ahead of us, but he never strays into areas where he might get into trouble, maybe it’s his feral parents genetics that make him more cautious of his surroundings, and in these cases I, prefer him to be cautious, it keeps him safe. We’re hoping to do more hikes with Bear in the future, and I can’t wait to share those adventures with you! Feel free to leave a comment below about why you love to hike with your dog, or any funny stories, just Feel free to discuss your hiking tales here.
M & Bear