Yesterday we had a plan to head from Fresno, California, up to Shaver lake. We had researched all dog friendly places, especially “off-leash” on an awesome website called “ ”. We did not anticipate that, at 4000 feet above sea level there would be weather warnings. It was very clear on the road up, and the lake was absolutely beautiful, the shores covered in sand and large rocks that were lightly dusted with snow in the shaded areas.
The dogs had an absolute blast, Bali practising her agility, bouncing from rock too rock like an agile lemur of some sort. Rubix panting and hovering around the bottom, anxiously awaiting her descent. The water was so clear you could see the bottom all the way out, the pups were diving face first after their ball, sometimes building each other up on who was going to retrieve it when it bounced into the lake.

By the end, everyone was sufficiently covered in sand and dirt and completely exhausted by the day’s events and were happy to get back to the van for some well needed rest. We talked to a few camp workers to discuss the weather warning of snow. They said anywhere from Shaver lake down would be fine but anything higher was expected to get snow, rain and ice by the next morning. We decided to pop into camp Edison too see about sleeping there and possibly using their shower. After talking to a few of the women that worked there about the van and not having snow chains for the descent, they promptly advised us that going down the mountain now would be the best decision so we don’t get caught in the snow tomorrow.
That pretty much cancelled our further plan of heading to Hume lake which was sitting at about 7000 feet above sea level, so we took their advice and headed down, with plans to stay at a cheap RV park just south of Visalia.
We pretty much found ourselves in a low end trailer park, with long term residents and warning signs that the water causes bodily harm and birth defects, but hey, there was a pool! We did a quick load of laundry and decided to take our chances and have a shower, then were out of there by about 630 am the next morning.
We decided to head south to warmer weather and maybe some desert hikes. Did a little research as usual and found a place called “Red Rock Canyon State Park“ It looked stunning with massive cathedral like rock formations and it was only about an hour and a half away. Our 6:30 am wake up got us here at about 10:30 after gas, breakfast and the very important starbucks hunt, all the usual morning rituals. The reviews were right, it was absolutely breathtaking, the grandness of it all was so humbling, and the websites were right, it was dog friendly!IMG_3463

We chose to drive up Iron canyon and do the “Nightmare Gulch” trail, because well… one man’s nightmare is another man’s dream! It was the just the coolest, the paths made of sand and colourful rocks made it a bit tricky to walk on, but the views were perfect, the clay columns just towering over us. The dogs had a blast, did the usual tourist thing, took lots of photos and wandered around aimlessly, then about 2:30, we started to wonder if we knew where we were. We had been walking at that point for about 3 hours and had kind of gotten to a crossroads. We got to the highest peak and decided to have a look around, and after still not being able to see the van, the thought it was best just to go back the way we came. Seemed a bit safer than the unknown, seeing as how the sun would be setting soon, and we had seen a fairly large turantula on our walk. By this time Rubix was struggling. He was lagging behind quite a bit but was doing amazing for a 6.5 year old English bulldog.

After about half an hour and carrying him part of the way so we could hurry up and race the sun back too the van, we decided to empty out the backpack and squeeze him in. He was a little reluctant at first, but after he realised what we were doing, he settled in and got quite comfortable in there. The chubby little fat man, hitching a free ride, all 50 pounds of him. Twenty minutes went by and we decided too let him walk after our arms were too sore from supporting the backpack,.It took a few minutes to get him out, I think he had gotten a little too used to being carried. He hatched out of his little sac and trudged along behind us, as we now knew where we were and the van wasn’t more than 600 meters away. He plodded along the rest of the way and trotted through the finish line, a trail of accomplishments.

I rewarded him with his dinner and water and a big fluffy bed, and he hasn’t moved since. Now we are cooking up a big chilli and drinking a couple beers to celebrate the awesome day. The sun is setting and tomorrow is another day.


Great off leash dog lake!

3 hour hike then almost got lost in the desert!

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