Denali’s First Hike – Backpacking with our Dog

Join Sara and I as we take our puppy, Denali, on his very first backpacking trip.

For this adventure, we were joined by a brand new hiking partner – our 7 month old puppy dog, Denali.  While Denali is no stranger to walking and hiking (we’ve tried to make that a regular part of his life since we adopted him at 2 months old), this will be his very first foray into an overnight backpacking trip.  Or to put it in terms from his perspective; his first time sleeping out in the woods, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, nary a shred of carpet or plush dog bed to be seen.

Denali's First Backpacking Trip Route Overview - Sintax77

Denali’s First Backpacking Trip Route Overview – Sintax77

Our chosen destination was a 14 mile loop comprised of several trails in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.  I was made aware of this trip via the super-helpful website called “Hiking Upward”.  For those of you hikers along the mid-Atlantic who haven’t heard of this site before, I highly suggest checking it out some time.  Since this was a bit of a last minute trip, coupled with the fact that it was our pup’s first time backpacking, I wanted everything to go nice and smoothly, and their detailed trip reports were a welcomed asset.

The first half of this circuit was of the higher elevation variety, consisting primarily of a ridge walk along a the Neighbor Mountain Trail, as well as a section of the Appalachian Trail.  Day two would be mostly along the Jeremy’s Run Trail.  As the name would suggest, the Jeremy’s run trail closely follows the contours of Jeremy’s Run, a stream that we would traverse 14 times before returning to the metallic confines of our car.  Below is an overview of our route, along with trailhead parking ocation and other points of interest.  For those of you interested, I recorded full GPS track data during this backpacking trip. along with campsites and other notable POI’s which can be downloaded on my Trip Data page.

Trailhead and Parking: Jeremy’s Run Trailhead N38° 44.456′ W78° 18.716′ (by Elkwallow Picnic Gound and the Wayside Store)

Trails Used Day 1 (in order)
Starting from the Jeremy’s Run Trailhead,
Take the Appalachian Trail (south)
Turn right (west) on Neighbor Mountain Trail
At intersection, turn right (east) on Jeremy’s Run Trail
Set-up camp along Jeremy’s Run at N38° 42.629′ W78° 21.913′

Day 1 Total Mileage:  9 miles (This is the mileage to the actual campsite. My solo mileage for the day, including scouting and backtracking, totaled 13.5 miles)
Day 1 Total Elevation Gain: 1,785′

Denali's First Backpacking Trip Day 1 - Sintax77

Denali’s First Backpacking Trip Day 1 – Sintax77

 

Trails Used Day 2 (in order)
Continue on Jeremy’s Run Trail
At intersection, continue north on Appalachian Trail
back to the Jeremy’s Run Parking Trailhead and parking area.

Day 2 Total Mileage:  16 miles (This is the mileage to the actual campsite. My solo mileage for the day, including scouting and backtracking, totaled 13.5 miles)
Day 2 Total Elevation Gain: 1,391′

Total Mileage for Trip: 15 miles
Total Elevation Gain for Trip:  3,176′

Denali's First Backpacking Trip Day 2 - Sintax77

Denali’s First Backpacking Trip Day 2 – Sintax77