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804 Summer Stories
The Duty

Poop bags near a bag dispenser on Bierstadt

Last summer after touring through New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah - we made our way to Colorado. We had not climbed much above 10,000 feet on the trip and were still not acclimated to the lower pressure of oxygen at altitudes. As we drove through Colorado, heading toward Rocky Mountain National Park, we made a side trip to climb Mount Bierstadt.

Mount Bierstadt is an extremely popular peak. It is close to Denver and sits above the small mountain town of Georgetown. A good road leads to the trailhead at Guanella Pass. At the pass, there are large parking areas and privies. As compared to other trailheads, this one is pretty deluxe.

We camped nearby the pass and rose early to climb the next morning. Shortly after leaving the trailhead we passed a disgusting sight. Dog owners (I am assuming), had used various plastic bags to pick up their dog's poop along the trail, but then, discarded the bags not in a trash receptacle, but instead in a trail registration box.

Our dog, Jake, brings us a lot of happiness. He is a part of the family, but he is still a dog. We have to help him live on the streets of our neighborhood and on the trails of parks, natural lands, and wilderness areas.

Here are a few helps ...

Most areas in cities, counties, and wilds have rules in place to manage dog behavior. Know the rules. Obey the rules and go beyond.

It takes more than a leash to take a dog hiking in the mountains or walking in the neighborhood.

Pick up the poop, bag it in a biodegradable bag - not just any plastic bag, and dispose of it properly. Don't let your dog be a burden to anyone other than you!

Yes, they make biodegradable pick up bags. We use diaper bags. The diaper bags are a bit bigger than the dog bags. Our dog takes pooping seriously!

Some folks tie the filled poop bags to the dogs collar, we generally just put it in an outside pocket of our pack. Tying the bag to the collar sort of seems like a punishment to the dog. We just put the bags in an outside pocket of our pack. (Funny bag story).

It is more difficult to walk or hike with a dog than without one - especially if the dog is on a leash. Almost all areas require leashes, six feet or less. I think the reason most folks allow there dogs to run free is because it is difficult walking them on a leash. It takes a lot of practice for the dog and the walker!

While walking your dog, you have to pay attention and monitor his behaviors. Don't let your dog 'go' on someones flowers! Stop them. Don't let them attack another dog or person. You are not just holding the leash, walking the dog takes action.

Remember not everyone will like your dog. Some folks might even be afraid of him.

Jake crossing a snow slope on leash

After climbing the mountain we passed the poop bags again on our return. We did not have a way to collect the bags and and so walked past them. We could have returned with a garbage bag, but by the time we made it to our vehicle, we did not think of returning. Sorry, to whomever it was that had to collect the mess.

Happy Duty trails


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