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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts tagged ‘mountains’

Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

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Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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How to protect your dog from Rattlesnake bites!

Spring has arrived and that means outdoor dogventures are on the rise! If you’re anything like me, spring symbolizes the time to leave the house from hibernation all winter, and into the lure of fresh flowers in the air its enough to pull you out of the sweats and strap on the hiking shoes. With the large number of wanderlusters going out that increases the number of potential dogs tagging along. If you own a dog you know that unless they are on a proper leash (Not a retractable) then they like to stray from the beaten path, this is okay if we were the only ones out in nature, but that’s never the case. Snakes are among the wildlife that you will encounter. There are many different species of snake out there.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a quick education about snakes:

There are 2 main types of snakes:

 

Constrictor- These are the pythons and kingsnakes among others. Basically, these snakes catch their prey with their mouth and curl their body around them and constrict, this is how they kill their prey, suffocation. These are what are considered not as dangerous (though snakes of various sizes can be a danger to a small child or dog). These snakes are NOT poisonous, though they do have teeth and can still bite.

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Handler showing children a Milksnake at a Charity event

Venomous- These are your rattlesnakes, vipers, and basically anything that kills their prey while remaining at a safe distance. These guys will strike and envenomate their prey and while they die the snake will wait nearby until they can consume them.

 

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You can tell the difference from a distance just by looking at the snake’s head. Constrictors have a narrow head slightly wider than the body, whereas venomous snakes have a wide head at the cheeks because of the pockets of venom that are stored and it’s more triangular.

 

Most of the time you will HEAR the rattlesnake before you see it, their tail rattle will vibrate and sound like a buzz. All snakes have a striking distance of half their body length; math time, if a snake is 4 feet long and their striking range is half their body length then what is their striking distance? That’s right, 2 feet!

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So now that you have a brief overview of the types of snakes you may encounter let’s move on to the dog facts.

 

We all know dogs use their nose to sniff and they are curious af! Working in a vet clinic I would see many cases of rattlesnake bites and I have personal experience with rattlesnake encounters. Typically dogs would get bit on the face, this is bad news bears! If a dog gets bit in the face the swelling can obstruct their airway through their nose and for the obvious reasons you need to see a vet!

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Now some dogs have gotten away with getting bit by a snake and nothing happened, a lot of clients have told me this that their dog was bitten on multiple occasions and never sought medical attention and the dog was fine. This is your own risk! Most of these clients are ranchers and their dogs are ranch dogs, so not to say the owner didn’t love their dog, relationships are different for everyone. Dogs stem from wolves and their immune system is meant for survival so yes perhaps some dogs have a stronger tolerance of snake bites, not to mention every snake is different so please don’t base the decision for medical treatment on that.

**If your dog has been bitten by any snake please go to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Note: If you see the snake that bit your dog, please try and identify the snake correctly, I know you may be shaken, but knowing what type of venom you’re dealing with will absolutely help your dog’s medical staff**

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How to protect your dog:

There are many ways to protect your dog this spring and summer from all types of snakes, in particular (if you are a California resident) Rattlesnakes!

Vaccines: Yes there is a vaccine for Rattlesnake. There is a company in Woodland, Ca that has formulated a vaccine the aids in the protection of dogs from rattlesnake bites. A common misconception of this vaccine is that it is a “preventative”, it is not. A preventative vaccine is like Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella among some others. These vaccines protect the function of cells from diseases and viruses. However, snake venom is venom, like a poison, which kills the cells in the tissue altogether. Like all vaccines though, it creates memory cells to help the immune system fight off what it can. This vaccine buys your dog valuable time to seek medical treatment when the time is of the essence in a snake bite situation.

 

I always told clients that it’s better to have the vaccine on board than wish you had it and you didn’t. Since there is no set time frame when the venom passes through the body it’s better not to waste or risk it, especially in the case when you are in the middle of nowhere and must hurry back to the car and race to a hospital.

 

Call your local clinic to see if they carry the vaccine. If they do please consider getting it for your dog. It’s a 2-vaccine series spread out 4 weeks apart, in some cases there may be a 3rd vaccine for extra large dogs, but if you stay consistent with it then you will only need 1 vaccine per year after that. My dogs are vaccinated and it’s a real peace of mind knowing they are current with the most protection I can give, especially since Beowolf roams freely about the ranch while I work. The best time to get started with the series in February and March as the peak of the snake season is April, however, you can start or booster anytime during the spring and summer, again better to have it and not need it.

*Standard reactions are a lump at the injection site that can appear anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks from getting the vaccine, more severe cases are abscesses that appear though these are very rare but considered normal. If you see this you can apply a warm compress for 5 minutes a couple times a day and please call to notify your vet of this as they are to be reporting reactions*

 

Rattlesnake avoidance classes: Yes there are rattlesnake classes that you and your dog can attend together. This is held by various people with usually the assistance of a professional snake handler. Typically the rattlesnake used is alive with its mouth taped for the protection of the dogs in the class. E-collars or electric collars are used as an aid for a deterrent in the training, what the class does is it shows the dog the snake in a natural environment. The rattle begins to vibrate and as the dog pays attention to the snake the trainer hits the button on the E-collar. My dogs have yet to participate in classes, but we hope to get started soon. I know a lot of clients who love the classes and feel it has helped them and their dog in avoiding rattlesnakes.

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Antivenom: This is a treatment method that is also time sensitive and must be given IV slowly. This is only administered by a veterinarian and should only be used in the event of an actual bite. Sometimes if medical treatment is immediately after a bite and clinical signs are not sever then you can get away with IV fluids and IV antibiotics and pain killers along with monitoring and not need the antivenom, but most cases do.

 

You: You should have known that everything with your pet boils down to you! If you know you are going out on a hike with your dog take extra precautions, this isn’t just for your dog’s safety but yours as well. People get bit all the time by stepping on a snake accidentally. So here are just a few ways that you can accomplish this.

Research- Investigate the area where you’re going and see if there are any natural inhabitants to watch out for (rattlesnakes are NOT the only ones out there to watch for).

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Tools- Leashes are best with keeping your best bud close to you on the beaten path and out of tall weeds and rummaging through wood piles.

Your eyes- Nature is beautiful no doubt but try to draw your eyes to the ground ahead of you and scan the ground for anyone on the path ahead of you. Scanning for snakes can help you and your dog from accidentally stepping on a snake.

Your ears- For the obvious reasons you want to listen out for rattlesnakes, a lot of times you can hear the rattle before you see the snake.

 

*I do all these things when I go hiking, also when I am just walking around the ranch. I have a lot of paths that I take to get to the horses to feed them and there are plenty of places to stumble upon a snake. I am constantly scanning not only where I step but the area where Beowolf is walking around too. I am a little more lenient on Beowolf being on the property lose because his instincts are strong and he has a good sense of danger, at least keeping his distance long enough for me to get to him*

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The DL on rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnakes and all snakes for that matter are not out to get you, I 100% respect the fear people have of snakes though I cannot personally relate because I love snakes. A snake will not jump out at you, they will not hunt you down or chase you unless you are really pissing it off like I’ve seen on YouTube videos with men taunting cobras. A rattlesnake out in nature will not do that, in fact, I watched a documentary of a snake hunter looking for rattlesnakes and when they found 2, the snake did nothing but curl in a ball and rattle. It wasn’t until they grabbed the snake with the catcher that it even bit the catch pole, snakes feel pain and have fears as well. They would rather stay far away from you for their own safety, it’s not until someone steps on them and messes with them that they even do anything. This is how dogs get bit, sticking their nose in their face and barking pawing or taunting them.

 

As a cold-blooded animal snakes like to sunbathe, and you will find them in the early mornings when it’s starting to get warm sunbathing on a rock or dirt road. Basically, they spent all night chilling out and now they want to warm up. They typically live under a large pile of wood or stick piles.

 

Rattlesnakes have natural predators, the most common is Gopher snakes and the California Kingsnake. Kingsnakes are cannibals and will eat other snakes, hence their name. Both Kingsnakes and Gopher snakes are relatively friendly and harmless to people, they do have teeth and can bite, yes, but the risk is much lower. I found a California Kingsnake last year, it slithered into the arena where we were working dogs and I was able to walk right over and pick it up. It tried scurrying away from fear, but I gently picked it up and relocated it somewhere safe (not around working dogs that would kill it). I have not found any gopher snakes around, but these are the GOOD GUYS! I would gladly take them as a gift and release them around the ranch, a natural deterrent, and predator to rattlesnakes is more humane to me. The circle of life. I can’t stand that people kill rattlesnakes, I understand why they do it, but rattlers have been around since before I was born, and nobody will ever completely kill them off.

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California Kingsnake- Harmless to people, a natural predator of Rattlesnakes! Pictured above is a juvenile.

 

Donate them to SCIENCE!

Chances are if you are in an area where Rattlesnakes reside, there is a snake wrangler who will come and catch a snake if you find one and safely capture it. The snake wrangler in my area Bruce Freeman will take the snakes he captures and sends them to where they can be humanely milked for their venom. This venom is a vital ingredient to both the Rattlesnake vaccine and antivenom! Yes in order to successfully create and distribute vaccines and antivenom they need snake venom from live snakes. Rather than waste a life, call someone who will come and give snakes a purpose!

 

A friend recently found a juvenile rattlesnake that a kid killed for him. He brought it to me so that I could skin it after he used it to train his dogs for avoidance. He’s new to the area and terrified of snakes so I couldn’t blame him for it but still, he didn’t quite know what he was doing. Firstly they put the dead snake in a Clorox bottle and froze it. Crickets. First, the bleach will affect the scent of the snake, which he wanted to let his dogs smell the carcass and shock them to avoid the smell. This isn’t going to work, I told him that if you rely on your dog sniffing a snake and running away then you already lost. By the time a dog got close enough to sniff the snake, his face is already bitten and that’s the worst place you want your dog to get bit. Then the scent will be wrong anyway because it’s been sitting in a bleach bottle.

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Next, the most effective method of avoidance classes is the live rattle, the sound of the rattle will carry and will warn a dog before he’s within striking distance. Snakes like to warn you to KEEP away, not just get away, so if the dog hears the rattle chances are they are in a safe distance to warrant a warning, not a bite.

 

I then explained to him about Bruce Freeman which he didn’t know he could call a guy to get the snake for him. I also told him about the work Bruce does and the importance of the live rattlesnakes to the vaccines and antivenom we use to protect our dogs. He had just got his dogs vaccinated and so it was perfect to point out that if not for live rattlesnake venom his dogs wouldn’t be able to get a quality vaccine. I hope next time he calls Bruce instead of letting some idiot kid lie to him that he can train his dogs for rattlesnake avoidance with a dead rattler.

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Slytherin hanging out with us and playing with our Valentine’s Day Backdrop at the clinic.

I really hope this post helps you in both understanding the nature of snakes and tips to keep your dogs and yourself safe this summer!

Have fun and be safe out there!

A quest for the Hidden Falls!

If you’re near the Sacramento area this summer looking for a great place to hike then look no further than Hidden Falls trails. Nestled in the mountains of Auburn, California. This quiet pristine wilderness is suitable for all levels of hikers, dog hikers, and horse hikers alike!

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Location: 7587 Mears Pl, Auburn, CA 95603

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As you drive toward Reno the adventure begins, as you slowly leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind the freeway begins to lighten up. You can see the dense forest from the road grow heavier the further you go and it’s a beautiful site to see!

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The parking lot is huge, I’ve never had difficulty finding parking here, though it is usually busy along with horse trailers to the side. As you enter the trail there is a vast meadow you walk alongside, depending on the time of year this can be green with tall grass, littered with wildflowers or dry wheatlike stems (hotter months). Nonetheless, it is beautiful and you will often see families enjoying it, horses trotting, or dogs running around exploring. If you continue on the trail begins to descend at once although it’s not difficult to navigate I would still recommend you watch your footing. It’s nice the forest engulfs you and as far as the eye can see there is dense brush and trees everywhere! Green is all over! Horses take this trail as well so remember to share the road, especially if you have kids and/or dogs. The trail zig-zags its way down the mountainside and once you hit the bottom it’s mostly level and an easy stroll to look around and enjoy the sites. At this point you are given a choice which trail to take, one for different levels of hikers, I am obviously a beginner as Beowolf and I are weekend warriors. So we take the shorter hike.

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This trail takes you around the mountain and through some smaller paths. You walk alongside a beautiful stream that leads you to the river (shallow and slow), this is great during the summer when it’s hot to let the kids play or dogs romp and cool off. By now, if your dog is anything like Beowolf, he has pulled so much he gave himself a workout and cool water will do him good! Following along the trail there is so much foliage it’s amazing, the smell is invigorating and sweet, while even in the middle of summer it won’t get too hot as there is so much shade!

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Eventually, the trail begins its incline which isn’t too bad, it’s not too steep or for long but by now you’ve been walking and so it’s enough to get your heart rate up. It will open up into a meadow as you reach the top, this is usually where I rest and get some water, there are still lots of trees and shade so again it’s not so bad.

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Following along you reach the Hidden Falls lookout, which is basically a giant patio that overlooks the river and one of the smaller waterfalls. Depending on the time of year this may be closed off, usually due to construction or repairs, etc. It was closed every time I went (yes the website does show this as well, but other trails lead to different aspects of several waterfalls). Continuing on it then leads to a very small path that apparently cows graze up to on the other side, as there is a gate that is to stay closed at all times so the cows don’t walk through and get lost. I never saw any cows, but I know they were there as there was poop.

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This small path leads to a tiny fork in the road, going one way and you continue with the trail, however going the other way and it leads you to another place to overlook the river. There is also a beaten path that leads down to the water, it’s pretty easy to navigate and it’s worth descending for, as there are lots of large rocks to sit on and enjoy the water. It’s also a very shallow area with a nice bank to enjoy the cool water and a nice rest. Which of course I had to let Beowolf play in the water, he was so grateful.

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Then we went back up to the trail to go ahead further. Because we were on the short trail we eventually ended up back to the trail map at the beginning of the hike, coming around from the opposite side. Getting back to the parking lot, we had to zig-zag our way back UP the mountain, which it was great going down but not so great going up as the entire time you’re climbing. I clipped the leash to Beowolf’s harness so he could help me up a bit, as he still had the strength and energy to pull me up I let him.

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We passed a few horses on the way up which is always nice for 2 reasons: 1- I like looking at horses. 2- There isn’t a lot of room on this path so someone has to move aside and let the horses pass, this gave us opportunities to stop for a quick break as we waited for them to go by. As we reached the top and exit the forest the sun will greet you with a hot slap to the face! I usually take a wider trail that circles through the meadow, allowing Beowolf to run more freely on the long leash and gives myself a chance to just stroll through and catch my breath. There’s also another area where you can overlook the valley as you stand on top of a peak so to speak. We rested and drank more water before calling it a day and heading back to the car.

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All in all, it was a great day! I love this hiking spot for its beautiful green scenery and easy accessibility to the river. I wish that when I go next time I’m either in better shape to take a harder hike and make it to the main waterfall, or the lookout deck is open so I can get some great pictures!

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I would rate this trip a 5 out of 5.

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Roads: Paved the entire way to the parking lot and it’s an easy drive to get there.

Trails: Clean and well maintained. Do watch out for poison ivy off the paths, but there shouldn’t be an issue if you stay on the trails. Everything is marked with arrows and signs where to go and how far you’ve gone.

Environment: It’s covered with foliage but the trails still give you a lot to work for so bring water and comfortable clothes. As well as snacks as all the trails lead to the main picnic area to stop and rest or eat.

Gear: Camelback for sure. Hiking boots aren’t necessary on the short trail but I do not know about the longer trails, yet I see people wear all kinds of shoes, and they seem fine. I had Beowolf wear a hiking pack to carry his own water and food, along with his pet first aid kit and a pair of boots just in case. He didn’t need the boots this time, and a friend went with us and so his dog shared “Pack duties” carrying the load for half the trail.

Hydration Camelback

Dog boots

K9 Hiking pack

Alltrails.com: I love this app. It gives me important information about potential sites to see and is always a reliable resource.

This trail will always be a staple for me when I’m in the area and looking for someplace green to visit. Check it out and you will see why I love it!

Salutations!

Enjoy these photos!
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We’re off to see the poppies, the Antelope Poppy Reserve!

Ok first of all if you sang that headline to the jingle of “We’re off to see the Wizard” then 10 points to Gryffindor!

I don’t know about you but I always wanted to lay in a field of poppies just like Dorothy did, okay she was high from the poppies, but you get my point. there’s something about laying among fragrant flowers. I love the smell of flowers, it’s one of my favorite things to shove my face into a bouquet of wildflowers and just inhale. The sweet earthy smell takes me to a place where nothing else matters. So last weekend when I was driving to Mount Pinos I could see the pre-spring bloom on the hillside and that’s when I got the brilliant idea to go see the poppies. If you haven’t seen the blog about that trip check it out here https://wordpress.com/post/iwildwolves.wordpress.com/26  So I invited my family to go with me and started my research on a short day trip. Here are just a few bullet points of what I look for in my research.

What I usually focus on is:

  • Location and directions- Because duh.
  • Price of admission- Whether I’ll need to pay for parking or need a certain amount for entry. Also whether I need cash or can use plastic.
  • Pet policy- Probably the most important information to research considering their presence is the entire concept. Some places only allow service animals and others allow pets. I also look to see if there is a leash policy, I carry mine regardless but still I find inspiration here and there to let them off leash.
  • Site policy and rules- In the case of a state flower reservation there are strict guidelines to adhere to for the protection of the flowers and environment.

When it comes to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve the rules are as follows:

  1. Come dressed to hike- Antelope Valley is a desert so it is dry, with lots of sun and very little shade (none on the trails). Bring water. I would also bring a hat and/or sunglasses. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes too.
  2. DO NOT STRAY FROM THE TRAIL- Honestly, all caps is necessary. The California Poppy is a State Flower and damaging the flowers can result in a fine! Not to mention it’s rude to every and Mother Nature.
  3. Parking- Parking is free on the main street but is $10 in the lot.
  4. Don’t pluck the flowers- Refer to number 2.
  5. Only services dogs allowed– Refer to number 2.

To be honest, I originally wanted to go to Walker Canyon Poppy Field by Lake Elizabeth, its a more lush field where the flowers grow a little taller. Dogs are allowed on leash and there are no rules about sticking to the trails. Granted you shouldn’t damage the flowers or pluck them for sake of preserving nature. But I was good with optical illusion and just finding a thick spot of flowers would give me what I needed for pictures.  Unfortunately, the family preferred to stay close to home and reviews of traffic were bad, so it was off to the desert again.

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” — Osho

My aunt decided to drive and we all gathered into her vehicle and drove north to the reserve. Traffic wasn’t bad at all, in no time we could see the reserve and we slowed as we got in line to find parking, we were at a consistent low speed and there was plenty of parking on the side of the road. The parking lot was full but that’s okay the walk up to the entrance wasn’t bad and we didn’t have to pay, and there is a big sign at the entrance where you can take a picture; otherwise, you would only get one from your car as you’re waiting in line for the lot. and chances are there were people standing in front of it to get a clear shot.

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I put on Beowolf’s service vest and we started our walk, of course, I got a shot of Beowolf in front of the sign. There were portal potties waiting halfway up to the fields which were nice since I had to go already. Afterward, we made it to the entrance where a security guard stopped us, apparently they don’t allow service dogs into the reserve, which is false because it’s the law. To be honest, I don’t think this kid even knew the laws, he was likely high and got hired on seasonal for the spring bloom. So I cut him a break, I reassured him that Beowolf is a seizure alert dog and if I for whatever reason have a seizure he is to notify me so I can sit or make it to safety. I don’t get them all the time, but enough to wanna ensure my safety as well as others, it’s also genetic my sister gets them worse than me. The guy finally backed off when I reassure him my dog is trained and won’t “stray from the trail”, which when I turned around and head up the hill the first thing you see is people sitting in the middle of a bunch of flowers! He was harassing me when there were people behind him doing what he was already accusing my dog of doing!? (For the record Beowolf didn’t step foot off the trail and was gentle with flowers he sniffed.)

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Nobody was policing the trampling and plucking of flowers, blatant disrespect of nature to be honest. Being a lover of nature preservation it broke my heart to see the defilement of precious flowers and not say anything, but oh I wanted to and my personality won’t allow me to talk under my breath so I let the comments slip here and there.

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We walked along the trails, it was beautiful but there were lots of people, I think there were more people there than flowers. There were more weeds than anything, and the ground was very dry and barren. I couldn’t even really do optical illusion photography because there weren’t enough flowers.

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For it to be a super bloom it was really a letdown, but overall it was a nice day. I was dying for water, I never got an opportunity to fill my water bottle and it was a hike at first leading up to the peak. I decided to go check out the information center and see if they sold water, or in the least had a water fountain.

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The information center was smaaaall. But it was clean and very nicely put together, adorned with beautiful pictures and displays. He got our fill of water and I restocked my water bottle and did a little more walking, but there really wasn’t much reason to go down a lot of the trails. In most of the park, there were huge fields where there were NO flowers at all, I’m sure we’re still early in the season but I came today.

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Bored, hot and tired we went and rested by the picnic area where my cousin Mia and I waited for my Aunt to rendezvous, as they went on the more extensive hike earlier. I’m definitely going to make another trip to the poppy fields, but next time I’m going to Walker Canyon Poppy fields. Traffic I can deal with if the environment I’m going to is nicer, all I want is flowers as far as the eye can see, not dry desert.

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By the way, I don’t mean to offend anyone who is a desert lover, I can definitely see the beauty to the desert and all it’s living beings, botanical, mammalian and reptilian. Just I live in the desert mountains of Santa Clarita and I love lush GREEN!

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I would rate this trip a 2.5/5.

Depending on the time of the season you can probably see more or fewer flowers, as of this time of year and post weeks of rain and a recent week of sun there was only 18% flowers on the fields. There were actually more patches of flowers off the side of the road, lush and thick where everyone was getting pictures in. Although if given the option, I should have had my aunt drop me off there so I can see the flowers and they can pick me up when they leave the reserve. Oh well, future lesson.

Roads: Pretty much paved the entire way up. Clean and free of rocks.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale, because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Gear: Good old fashion tennis shoes, leggings, a camelback that I got from Amazon https://amzn.to/2Jqdl4F .

Beowolf didn’t need his boots for this one, but any later in the season, I would start carrying them on the trails. I’ll be in the market soon for new dog boots for both Valentine and Beowolf, I’ll do a blog about that and post it HERE for you to see. Subscribe to my page to be updated when I post that. I also had a hat and a knitted sweater.

Weather: Caliente! Ok no, it wasn’t, it was hot b the sun was beating down on you but it was a little windy which cooled you off.

Hope this helps you with questions you would have about going to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Subscribe to my page to see when I post about my next trip to the Walker Canyon Poppy Fields.

A girl, 2 dogs, and an adventure to Mount Pinos.

After our last trip to Mountain High a couple weekends ago, I was more than excited to take Beowolf out again.

For those of you who haven’t read that yet, you can check it out here

I decided that handling both dogs was just a lot for me in the conditions we were in last time and Valentine really didn’t enjoy the snow so I felt leaving her home would be better for her. However there were plenty of setbacks, I needed to get my Rav4 a tune-up, just to make sure my wheels are in tip-top shape, especially if I’m going to be driving alone and it’s been raining a lot lately. Unfortunately, the mechanic was only available after 1pm and by the time he was finished I wasn’t going to have time for a trip up the mountain, so I put it off for the next weekend. The following Saturday was a bust too, it rained and rained all week and didn’t let up in time. We had much better luck the next weekend, I decided to try and broaden my horizons and not just go to Mountain High, not to mention I was informed of more open flat areas where my dog can really run and that was more incentive than facing traffic and difficulty parking.

Mount Pinos was recommended via a social app. Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA.

From my house it was a 1-hour 45-minute drive, I took the 14 South to the 5 North toward Sacramento. The drive was equally as beautiful as the previous one, the mountains were all covered in green and the poppies were beginning to bloom! Once I made my exit I drove up the mountain for about 7 miles, I made a few stops along the way to let the dogs out. Yes, I caved and took Valentine with us, I figured she can either get out and play if we were isolated enough and if not she would be equally happy staying in the warm car but enjoying the road trip.

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At the first stop, there wasn’t much snow until you get out to look around and then down the side of the mountain there was lots of snow. The scene was gorgeous, and the fresh morning wasn’t too cold. A couple miles further up there was a small space where I could park and there was much more snow, I parked with ease and got ready. I let the dogs out and off they went down the side of the hill, it was easy to walk down and around the hillside where Valentine and Beowolf charged through the snow with such excitement. I was instantly grateful I brought Valentine, this time around she loved the snow, it wasn’t too cold for her at all and she didn’t even need her jacket. I let the dogs do their business far into the hills and trees where nobody could walk anyways, and likely wild animals did the same too.

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After I got my fill of pictures and videos we packed back into the car and drove for another few miles, the snow really got lush further up the mountain and it was amazing! As I came around a bend I saw a very big space of untouched snow with only a slight slope to get down, I parked by another car where a family was playing just off the road on their own. I left them alone and took the dogs down the slope, they ran and I slid, going back up was tricky but worth it. As we reached the bottom, the snow was slightly more hard packed making it easier for them to run full speed, but it was perfectly soft to sit in.

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I got excellent footage of the dogs running and playing through the snow, there was a small stream that wasn’t frozen, and it added to the sounds of nature. My dogs aren’t afraid of water and so they were happiest trying to play and splash in it. There was so much space for them to run that Valentine was able to pick up serious speed and flew as high as I’ve ever seen her as she lept over trees and over the stream! We stayed down there for about 30 minutes and then climbed up the hill, it was tricky as parts of the snow were unpacked and slipped from under me, being a self-proclaimed problem solver we figured it out and we’re back to the car in no time. Needless to say, I need to start working out if I’m gonna be going on more adventures because I got so winded in the high elevation!

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When we got to the Rav4 I saw the family that was there before had left, and so I put the dogs away for a break while I charged my phone (it died) for a little. Then I let them out to run there again, I got plenty of pictures for a couple projects I’m working on and when the dogs started panting and looking tired I decided to call it the day. We loaded in the car for the last time and headed down the mountain. It was really easy getting back to the freeway and it was a quiet drive home but so worth it! I was eager to get home and look at the images I got on my phones (yes I used 2 different phones). My timing was great too as I was just ahead of traffic and made it home in no time!

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I would rate this trip 5/5.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Pet-Friendly- It’s pretty much first to come first serve, you can go to one of the campsites or just stop on the side of the road where it’s safe to park. I didn’t visit a campsite, so I don’t have feedback for you regarding the pet policy, however, I was not disappointed and had plenty of space for them to run free. Next winter season I’m going to take snowboarding lessons so I can utilize slopes and take better action shots.

Roads- The roads are clean and dry from any ice and debris. It was also pretty isolated, not much traffic and there were plenty of places to park and get out for some quality snow time. I did, however, buy chains for this trip.

**These are the ones I got but all chains should be specific to your vehicles tires so do you research first**

Snow- Snow is very clean and there are lots of spaces to get off close to your car and do some sledding or just to play.

Gear- Beowolf, of course, goes naked. Valentine also didn’t need her jacket at all, she was so warm from all the running and she’s far from a delicate flower so a little snow can’t stop her. As for myself, I used the same

Wantgo waterproof jacket

Thermal socks

Snow boots

There were even points in the day where I didn’t even wear my jacket for the sunny spots.

Hope you all enjoy this blog.

Check out my next blog when I take the dogs and my family to see the California Poppy Fields.

A girl, 2 dogs and a quest for SNOW in Southern California.

For the past 9 years, I have wanted nothing more than to take Beowolf to the snow. He’s a Wolfdog for crying out loud, the snow is where he thrives! Over the years as every opportunity that arisen to take Beowolf up to the snow something always came up. Car trouble, work obligation, lack of money, etc. Not to mention driving up to the snow alone is not ideal, I never felt like risking it, the Jeep although durable was no young buck and the heat was out! So I often tried to rely on friends, who all pretty much had the same excuses as me.

For the past 4 years since moving back down to SoCal, and living in view of mountains, I haven’t wanted to take a trip to the snow so badly! Every winter after a good rain at home, the next morning I look out my windshield on my way to work and can see the beautiful snow-capped mountains that surrounded my valley. I kept planning trips to go but again the same old excuses, on repeat.

As of recent (6 months or so) I have adopted a new attitude… a Fuck It attitude, no longer being too cautious to say or do something and that includes solo adventure trips. After all, the one thing I envy is travel and getting out of the everyday scene. Coming from someone who moves on faster than a butterfly migration, since childhood, staying in one place too long gives me an itch only I can scratch. I soon realized I can no longer rely on someone else to take me on an adventure. So I threw away the excuses and said, Fuck it, pack your boots Beowolf and Valentine we’re going to the snow!

The first trip: Mountain High Resort, Wrightwood, CA.

I heard of this place from a co-worker and when I asked around I got pretty good feedback. It’s only 38 miles from where I live, and GPS said it was a 1.5-hour drive. DEAL! A friend was even going with me, so it was gonna be a great day trip! I rush ordered a jacket for Valentine and gathered up all my snow gear and awaited the weekend, I have a new (to me) Rav4 and just got a fresh oil change with a full tank so I felt good about the drive.

Saturday morning arrives and I jump out of bed blasting music as I get showered and ready for the day, hinting to Beowolf about what awaits him! Just as I finish my makeup and load everything into the Rav4, my phone dings. It’s my friend giving me the same excuse she always gives me but in the end, she cancels. The old me would be pissed, the old me would cancel the day and try and salvage doing something here, but that was the old me. The new me already knew my friend was going to flake because it was her habit, so I told myself no matter what I was making that drive. I text a few family members where I was going and loaded the dogs up. I stopped for snacks and then we were on our way, Mountain High here we come!

The first leg was mostly the 14 North going along Palmdale and it was a drive I made many times before, so I was used to it. Then it took me up toward Devil’s Punch Bowl, another place I’ve taken the dogs a few times. Then it took me down a new road, which after the recent rains it was flooded and so I got detoured only to find out that was Private Property. So I speed off hoping to force GPS to link me to one of the alternate routes I saw earlier, of course, it works.

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So I’m back on track, the Rav4 is feeling good, I’m excellent on gas and my music is on MAX! The rest of the drive was not only fun at some points, but beautiful, the dry desert suddenly became green lush mountains. The redwoods grew brighter the deeper we drove, it was breathtaking. As we entered the tourist housing section I rolled down the windows letting the crisp air in and the dogs stuck their heads out, Beowolf is so excited he can’t decide where to look. He’s used to hikes and trips, but he doesn’t really know what I have in store for him.

I pass through the small town and head into the mountain, as I start seeing large areas of snow we start easing into traffic. Blah. But you know what I didn’t care about it; the dogs were happy with their heads out the window, my tank is still almost full and I had my music on so I was fine. Eventually, we crawled by the resort that was packed and so it was time to find a parking spot further up the mountain. I drive maybe a mile from the resort and find a secluded area with loads of space to park and play, so I pull in and park it.

Excited beowolf

As I finish getting ready like 5 cars pull in behind me, really? Just as I was about to pull out the dogs and let them run, but no, so I leash them up and get them out. Beowolf doesn’t even know what to do! He’s so excited and poor Valentine is like whoa WTF. With nowhere for them to play safely, we must walk back down where the designated area is, the walk to the park was no picnic at all. Beowolf pulled as much as he could and Valentine pulled in the opposite way, I decided against putting on their pinchers, they had been doing so good with training I didn’t think I needed them. Big mistake, I hadn’t had to walk in the snow for years and the edge of the road was so crowded with people. I already had too much to carry and thanks to Beowolf I had a big bag of doo-doo dangling from me as well, I eventually led us along the crest of the hill where I can relax and give Beowolf some slack, I could finally walk and eventually fell into a groove.

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When we got to the area to play there was a nice big space where nobody was, so I decided that was the perfect place to let the dogs off leash, well not Valentine.

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She was not having a good time at all, she was shivering despite the coat and I never factored in the way people would look to her in their big coats, not to mention the snow was deep and it was hard for her to move so she felt trapped. I kept her with me by my side while Beowolf ran around and sniffed and played.

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He was so happy and so was I, it was so fulfilling getting over my own anxieties going places alone and driving in the snow to reach that place. Beowolf is already a sight when he runs loose, but against the beautiful backdrop, it made my heart so warm! I decided, in the end, it was worth going alone and I was going to take them out more. The walk back to the car was so much better, I decided to walk in the street, there was little traffic and my dogs have the training to heel alongside me so when a car came we just moved over and waited for them to pass. Took us 5 minutes to get back to the car.

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Upon our arrival, every car that was parked around us before was gone! So I put Valentine away and let Beowolf run some more. Then we packed in the car and headed down the mountain, stopping once more to take some more pictures.

The drive home was even more spectacular. A very winding road leads Big Pine down the mountain which gives you captivating views with each turn, I don’t know about you, but I always loved driving and wanted to be a stunt driver for commercials. I felt like I was in a Rav4 commercial, listening to soothing music driving down the mountain and at sunset no less! All in all, it was a great day, I would totally go up for more trips, I saw more isolated areas that would be great places to stop next time too! I got amazing photos and Beowolf got to finally experience snow! We made it home at 5pm.

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Overall I would rate my experience a 4.5/5.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Pet Friendly- I’m not sure about the actual resort location but further down the mountain there are a lot of places to get out and let them run, but it’s a steep mountain and it’s close to the roads, so keep em on leashes or long leads, or consider training so they have a reliable recall. Beowolf was able to run and he doesn’t wander so I’m not worried about him, but Valentine can panic and bolt into traffic.

Roads- Well maintained. There were lots of signs for chains and I saw a couple of cars with chains, but nobody was enforcing it at that time. There were thousands of parked cars I was checking their tires for chains but barely anyone had any. I didn’t have any for this trip, so I was relying on my 4-wheel drive and if that wasn’t enough then I would just turn around and find another spot. Go as far as I can safely go, that was my motivation. **I bought chains later and keep them in the car**

Snow- Clean. Except for edges of the road. The place needs a trash can for disposing of trash and dog poop properly. Don’t worry, my tree-hugging ass doesn’t litter so I took the 2 bags home and disposed of them there. Thank goodness for scented bags.

Gear- For my dogs, Beowolf has a double coat and I keep him as natural as I can, so nothing for him and he didn’t care. I do carry boots in case of injuries or for the summer. Valentine wore a Mogoko Reflective Reversible Dog Jacket from Amazon. It fits her great, she is 55 pounds and it keeps her chest warm. It is also inexpensive to just keep on hand regardless so I keep it in a winter adventure container.

For MY gear I wore a Wantdo Waterproof jacket I also got on Amazon. It is super warm! And comfy with lots of pockets for me to keep all my things, and bags and treats, etc. You can find it here

I also had on a pair of thermal socks and a pair of women’s snow boots  I bought a long time ago for just being around the ranch. Clothing I just wore a long sleeve top and a pair of leggings and was fine. **If you plan on doing more playing in the snow I would recommend something waterproof but it’s up to you**

Hope this blog was insightful,

See my experience driving up to Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA. 

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