In honor of Valentine’s Day approaching, my boyfriend, Brent, and I decided to take the dogs camping to celebrate love. We, of course, procrastinated quite a bit to make the reservations and were left with only one option, Bastrop State Park. In our eyes it was the perfect place, they were dog friendly and it is only an hour away from us.
There are two important things we did not know about Bastrop State Park until we arrived, the forest fire that affected 96% of the park in 2011 and the flooding that broke their dam in 2015. To say this state park suffered is an understatement, but it is truly inspiring that they are still open and actively working to recover from this loss.
Duncan and Finley looking out at the skeleton of a forest that remains.
I was very nervous at the idea of taking the dogs camping, considering we had never done it. I wanted to make sure we were over prepared, that every single emergency was accounted for. Essentially, I wanted to pack Brent, Finley, Duncan, my entire apartment, and me… all in my Kia Soul. Packing “light” was not going to plan. I read blog after blog on taking dogs camping/hiking trying to think of everything.
One thing we had to carefully plan, was how to “keep the dogs on leash no longer than 6 feet at all times” per the park rules. I was not game to hold onto a leash every second of being outside the tent. My first initial thought was to buy one of the corkscrew stakes that go in the ground and the cables that attach to it. However, the cables were too long and it was pricey. I decided to get a Pet Champion metal dome tie out stake from Walmart for $2.99, they are a straight stake that gets hammered into the ground (we used a rubber mallet) and it was SO much easier than the usual corkscrew. I attached a Quick Link to hold the leashes, that way we only had to bring one leash per dog! The setup was under $7 and worked flawlessly throughout the weekend.
A great feature of Bastrop State Park is that they have a sister state park within 10 miles, Buescher State Park. We did a three mile trail with dogs at Buescher and it was tiring for all four of us. The heat was pretty brutal for February, so we made sure to pack smart for our little hike. We packed in a North Face Mountain Bike Lumbar pack, it is small but capable of caring the essentials and comfortable. Our pack included 4 water bottles, a bag of dog treats, a small first aid kit, doggie bags, a variety of trail mix, our phones, and connected their collapsible water bowls to the front of the pack. It seemed like a lot, but we had gone through 3 water bottles by the end of the trail! We stopped three times on the trail for water breaks to make sure they were hydrated. It was such a rewarding hike, and the dogs were exhausted all evening.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend camping. We loved Bastrop and Buescher State Park, and we can’t wait to take the dogs with us again 🙂
Here a list of the things I ended up taking for the dogs:
- Food & water bowls
- Bed (for inside the tent)
- Dome stake with Quick Link (to attach leashes)
- Lots of extra water bottles for hiking
- Doggie Bags
- Portable water bowls
And here is a list of the things I wish I had taken:
- Benadryl ( in case of bug bite reaction)
- Extra towels (Dogs always get dirty)