We didn’t set off for Pebbles’ first wild camp ’til late afternoon.
Leaving the village behind, minor showers threaten us nearly all the way to our intended spot for the night.
A few days of heavy rain have left everywhere somewhat muddy. Pebbles is already learning to skip around mud whenever possible, so is kept busy route finding the driest spots.
I know exactly where we’re aiming for – a quiet spot next to the Kinder River.
On arriving, I’m quite surprised to see that the grass there is already flattened, presumably from the weekend. The real shame however, is that there is also a rather large scar of a fire ring. It seems wherever you go, there’s always someone leaving a bad impression and potentially making things difficult for the vast majority of us responsible wild campers.
Pebbles has much to learn.
I start by tying her to the rucsac while I pitch and sort the tent – exactly what I used to do with Dixie.
There is one big difference, though. Dixie was a mature, sensible Boxer. In fact, although she had hundreds of backpacking miles under her paws with me, I didn’t actually start backpacking with her ’till she was nine years old. She didn’t really need tying to a rucksack unless there were sheep about.
But Pebbles is an eleven month old pup. A practically fully grown, huge dollop of a Boxer, but still nevertheless a pup.
I can just about stand the constant barking at me while pitching the outer. But when I disappear inside it to attach the inner, it’s more than she can cope with. Dragging the rucsac about, she doesn’t quite know what to do, but starts frantically chewing the hip belt in the absence of something more interesting to occupy herself with.
I untie her and take her into the tent to assist me in attaching the inner. She was very helpful.
Thankfully, it wasn’t raining at this point.
The Xtherm, sleeping bag, Pebbles’ Karrimat and everything else now need to be inflated, sorted and whatever, with me holding her lead. As does filtering water. To be fair, she could have been a lot worse, but by the time we’re settled in the tent, I did feel somewhat stressed. Pebbles didn’t though.
Several stressy phone calls to Geoff later, I’m feeling a bit calmer. And the reality is, now she’s in the tent, she’s unbelievably well behaved.
She enjoyed a good dinner
and then I enjoyed a good dinner.
There were a few ‘moments’ with the Minimo, though. Nothing was wrong with it, it was just the first time I’d used it on my own and I found myself longing for my simple Pocket Rocket. I know it’s not, but it just felt complicated. But I have to admit that it is a much more stable unit to be using with a dog in tow.
Eventually, we settle and fall asleep. Pebbles is very affectionate and loves human contact.
Somewhere in the night, we are both startled out of a deep slumber by a plane flying into Manchester, sounding for all the world like it’s going to land on the tent. This causes Pebbles to cuddle up even closer and suddenly, out of nowhere, I find myself crying a few more tears for Dixie and hoping and praying that I am worthy of this next snuggly Boxer in my life.
The rest of the night passes uneventfully and I am roused at around 7am, with the feeling that someone is watching me.
She wants a wee.
Followed by breakfast.
All is frosty and frozen when we first go outside, but by the time we’re packed up (with Pebbles helping take the inner out this time), the sun has come out, spreading its rays around the Kinder Massif.
We wander home – a slightly different route to yesterday’s – relishing the feel of the sunlight on both skin and fur.
And she now wants to know when the next trip is.