I was sat at home on Saturday morning and a sudden urge came over me to have an adventure of some kind. I Got in touch with Skelly who said he needed an adventure too. Then I looked down at Opie the dog, and wondered if it was time for his first overnight trip. The thought of taking a four month old puppy into the woods for a night filled me with a mixture of excitement and nerves.
And also considering taking a dog changes your packing somewhat, I needed to pack all of my own things but then the dogs stuff too. Towels, food, water bowl and an extra jacket to act as his duvet. I also wanted a way to see him easily in the dark in case he wandered off, so I invented the puppy illumination system, which is really just a glow stick attached to his harness. I have to say it worked a treat and I could always see where he was.
After Skelly and I had visited the shop to stock up on steak and beer, we headed into some local woodland. I chose a spot close to home in case I needed to evacuate an unhappy dog in the middle of the night. It only took us about ten minutes to walk into camp, and Opie watched and sniffed around while we setup our hammocks. I had chosen the Hennessy Jungle Explorer because of its built in bug net to help prevent midnight dog escapes!
Opie was slightly restless at first, trying to get to know the area and having a good sniff around, but as soon as the fire was going he settled very quickly. he calmed down so much that I regularly let go of his lead so he could wander and get closer to the fire. When we discovered him sniffing around the uncooked ‘Adventure Steaks’ we remembered it was time to eat! Opie loved the smell of the cooking steak but sensibly stayed away until it was time for him to have his share. It’s safe to say he loved his very first taste of steak!
Skelly, Opie and I sat around the fire after dinner. The grown ups had a few beers and chatted whilst the puppy played down by the fire and gave us both a cuddle to keep us (or himself) warm. He eventually drifted off on my lap and we decided it was time to hit the hammocks. This was the bit I was concerned about, would Opie settle down away from his own bed. Well, the answer was definitely yes!
With his lead clipped the the hammock ridgeline I climbed in and got myself sorted. Then Opie hopped in and found a comfy spot on my lap. I had him outside my sleeping bag with a jacket over him because he would’ve been too hot inside the bag with me, I am little bit like a radiator when I sleep! It didn’t take us long to fall asleep. I woke up twice in the night, once when Opie wriggled and then again for my standard 3am wee break. Funnily enough Opie needed a 3am wee break too. After that we slept through until morning, when Skelly hopped out of his hammock and woke us up for breakfast. We all enjoyed some pastries for breakfast and then packed away ready for home.
After all of the concerns I had about Opie’s first trip I was blown away by how well he dealt with it all. He was calm and slept fantastically, and I will definitely be taking him on all of my future one night adventures! I also think I would feel better about solo hammock trips with my guard dog around!