A Dog Chooses His Owner (Part One) – Ernie Goes Camping

“On a Mish” #366 A Dog Chooses His Owner (Part One). Dogs Hill. Hakatere Conservation Park. 9.2.2023. I never planned on owning a dog. The idea has always been in my head, however the timing and my life situation has prevented me from even thinking about having my own dog. With that being said, not long ago my parents added a dog to their collection and after spending many hours and many days with the little rascal it would seem the dog has decided who is going to be his owner…

The biggest issue I have had with owning a dog is the fact that I am constantly going on missions into places not fit for a furry friend. And of course you can’t leave a dog at home for a couple of days and just assume it will be alright.

A very important factor for me keeping the dog was if he had the abilities to go ‘On a Mish’. If not then we could have a problem.

Ernie’s (the dog) first foray into camping was during a trip to Aparima / Riverton for a birthday party. Not only was he sweet as in the tent during the night, but he was also very well behaved, hanging out amongst the guests at the action-packed event, providing entertainment for some of the younger party goers.

With his training run done it was time to see how he would do on a proper mission into the mountains.

After only a couple of outings with a K9 companion I had to research where I could and couldn’t take a dog with me into the outdoors. Luckily the DoC have a topo map on their website showing you where you can take your four legged mate. A large area of Hakatere Conservation Park is dog friendly and within that area is the very appropriately named Dogs Range.

So for Ernie’s first camping mish we were going to the Hills of the Hound!

Looking Along the Hakatere / Ashburton River from Dogs Hill

Driving across the Canterbury Plains in the mighty CRV was much more enjoyable with someone keeping me company. I had got very used to going out by myself and hadn’t realised how much I liked having a mish buddy (sometimes).

Our plan was to camp at the base of Dogs Hill(1067m), and to get there we had rolling country to cross from the Hakatere Lake Heron Road. We were lucky to be able to follow an old 4WD (vehicles ok in the area if they stick to the track) which took us near the base of the range, which meant very little walking with a heavy pack.

After parking up we looked around for a suitable spot for the tent and good places were in abundance. We found the perfect point overlooking the Hakatere / Ashburton River, with the Taylor Range beyond. Ernie didn’t help with the carrying, but he did offer moral support and due to the fact that he was attached to me, he helped with the forward momentum.

We were working very well as a team, so I was very pleased this dog picked me as his owner! Right Ernie, now that we are here it is time to explore the hill fit for a dog…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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