cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


338 Gulpy 2011-01-26

gulpy on Mount Princeton

Gulpy On the Summit of Mount Princeton

In the summer of 2008, we (Amy, Jake - the dog, and I) hiked the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. I had hiked the trail for the first time in '07 and wanted Amy to experience the classic adventure.

The trail is 13 miles long (one way) and climbs for over 7,000 feet. Some hikers make a one way trip of the Peak. They climb the Peak for a one way trip and then ride the cog rail down the mountain for the other half of the trip. Other hikers take two or three days to climb the Peak. These hikers camp or stay at the Barr Camp facilities for one or two nights. When I first hiked the trail, it was a car to car ascent (round trip) and therefore I persuaded my wife into trying the 26 mile day also.

Jake was also going to hike with us. Jake is a big golden retriever. Taking a dog on a hike is a lot of work. We do not let our dog run free, he is on a leash all of the time and most of the time he wears his Gentle Leader collar to prevent him from pulling. He is a good dog; but he is a dog and gets excited. He had previously summited a few 14,000 foot peaks and we thought he was fit enough for the big adventure.

Starting from the trailhead at 3am we began our adventure. We climbed the opening slopes in the dark. I do not like hiking in the dark; but I like hiking exposed slopes in the heat of the day even worse. Blindly we gained altitude. The trail was in great shape and we made very good time, especially considering that we had Jake with us.

We summited at around 10. The clouds were building and we were concerned about the weather. The upper slopes of Pikes Peak are very exposed for about four miles. We spent a few minutes on the top, and then headed downhill.

As soon as possible we began a shuffle-run to quicken our pace. The shuffle-run is a low impact trot. It is easy on our legs and still adds speed to our time. We could tell that Jake was not happy with the constant trot; but we had no choice. We were racing the clouds to tree line.

Jake kept trotting with us; but as soon as we entered the woods and came to a mud hole, he quit. I mean he just laid down in the mud and would not budge. He was hot, tired and needed a rest. We tried to give him water and food; but he only wanted to lay in the mud.

After a long break, we continued. At the first good stream we filtered water and filled his water bottle. The storm did catch us and it was a storm. We were just happy to be in the trees.

At the end of the day we were all tired when we reached our vehicle. We learned a lot about our dog on that trip; but we also realized that we needed to find some better gear for the dog. At REI we found a Gulpy - a water bottle with a trough like water container/bowl. The following year when we climbed the Fourteeners, Jake climbed with us for more than twenty of the peaks and the Gulpy was an invaluable piece of dog gear.

A few tips ...

  • The Gulpy is for Jake's water only. We add unfiltered water to the bottle. The muddier the water the better he seems to like it!
  • We also carry an old Nalgene bottle plainly labeled, "Jake". This bottle might also contain unfiltered water.
  • Hydration tablets are available for dogs. We bought a sleeve, but have never used them.
  • It is important to keep your dog on a leash when hiking. However, hiking with a dog on a leash requires much more effort from both you and the dog. We learned that a dog has trouble keeping the same pace and speed for hours on end. We had to learn to walk like a dog - or at least that was what we called it. To help our tired dog, we took small breaks regularly. Most breaks were only seconds, but it gave him a chance to rest. We also stopped at ever creek, stream, and body of water to allow him to drink and cool down.
  • The Gulpy is flimsy, but it is also lightweight. We broke our first one and are now using our second Gulpy. It would be nice if it was sturdier; but then it would probably cost more and weigh more.

Happy Gulpy trails.


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: