With Zach out of the country, Truman and I have been left to our own devices. I’ve long thought about buying a backpack that would allow me to hike with Truman. A year or so ago, I scoured the internet looking for a backpack that would be suitable for Truman’s long shape and weight, but most products cater to toy dog owners and don’t account for the back problems of dachshunds. Honestly, the internet wasn’t terribly helpful until I finally found Timbuk2’s Muttmover. Timbuk2 was redesigning the backpack so it wasn’t for sale, and then time went on and I forgot about it. Until this year, that is. Now that camping season is in full swing, we’ve thought about taking Tru with us – he has his own sleeping bag after all. But, I didn’t want to completely give up hiking if he were to tag along. So, I renewed my search and discovered that Timbuk2 had released their new version of the Muttmover. It took a lot of hemming and hawing, but I finally bit the bullet and bought the bag to test it out.
I decided to take Tru out to Wasatch Mountain State Park over two weekends to do a test run. Although he fit in the bag – just barely! – I wasn’t sure how comfortable he’d be once it was on my back and shifting around OR if he’d even want to use it, he’s a dachshund after all. Wasatch Mountain SP is located on the east side of the Wasatch Mountains near the town of Midway. It is almost 22,000 acres of preserved land that offers hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, camping, and 2 golf courses.
For our first outing, we used the visitor center has our base. Behind the center is a large pond used by many for fishing with a gorgeous view of the mountains. Then across the street, there are eight interconnected multi-use trails. I grabbed a map from the visitor center and we planned to do a simple loop – Huber Grove to Epperson to Spring Pond Loop and back around – at roughly 2 miles. I wasn’t sure how long Truman would want to walk – we’d already visited the vet and the farmer’s market – and shortly after we began he was ready to stop. So, I stuck him in the backpack and we continued along. To my delight, he was perfectly content riding in the backpack. I accidentally missed our first turn off so we had to double back around, but we eventually made our way to the beginning of Spring Pond Loop where we rested for a bit. The whole hike went well, though with a bit more in and out than I would have liked (if we stopped, Tru would walk for a bit and then want back in the pack), but all in all it was a successful venture. Though getting a good photo of him in the pack was difficult.
For our second outing the following weekend, I chose a different area of the park, Dutch Hollow. A little farther east than the visitor center, Dutch Hollow has 19 miles of multi-use trails. I though we’d do the Heber Valley Overlook and then tack on some extra mileage by connecting with one of the other loops. I printed out a map beforehand and it was helpful to have, as there weren’t many signs and lots of divergent paths. We also got a much earlier start than the previous weekend since most of the trails are fairly exposed. This time Tru started out really well. I missed our first turn and we ended up going further than I had intended but we eventually made it to the overlook loop. He did most of the overlook trail and then hopped in the pack for the rest of the morning. It was much nicer than him hopping in and out every so often. After the overlook loop we followed Sage loop trail for a ways and then took Cottontail back down to our car for a nice pleasant loop.
After our hike, I wanted to check out Huber Grove. Johannes and Maria Huber were Swiss immigrants who settled in the Heber Valley back in the late 1800s. Their home, creamery, and apple orchard are part of the state park. Each fall the public can make reservations to come and pick apples from the 130 year old trees. When Truman and I showed up there was a Huber family reunion happening in front of the house so we didn’t want to butt in; we were still able to see the creamery, the orchard, and walk the short nature trail.
After that, I decided to stop in Midway for a snack. Midway was founded by Swiss immigrants and much of the town’s buildings keep to that aesthetic. We stopped to admire the city hall and offices before ending up at Fill’er Up Coffee Station for gelato on their pleasant patio. It was a great end to the morning.