This past weekend Simon and I decided that a bushwalking dog adventure was long overdue so we packed up the gear and decided to go for a stroll in the You Yangs! The You Yangs are a granite peak range rising out of flat volcanic plains about an hour’s drive west of Melbourne. On entry to the park there is a Visitor Centre to the left that is worth a stop if you want some background information on the range and what you can do there. The You Yangs are a great park for a wide range of adventure activities including bushwalking, mountain biking and rock climbing – and what’s more dogs are allowed as long as they remain on leash making it a perfect place for a dog adventure!
We decided to do the East-West Walk which is a 4.5km trail circumnavigating Flinders Peak. As with any new walk we did our research before leaving to find out track conditions and regulations we would need to adhere to, to be safe and equip ourselves and Kate correctly. When you are heading off with your dog, you always need to take their needs into account also. This means carrying water, food and first aid for not only yourself but your dog too! The track notes read there may be a bit of rock scrambling and short steep hills along the way so in addition to good sturdy footwear for us, we needed to ensure we had a plan in place to portage Kate around any major obstacles.
Recently EzyDog were kind enough to send us an EzyDog Convert Harness and Saddlebags for us to put to the test and review. The harness is made of tough durable material and includes a handle on the back, making it easy to lift Kate or lower her down any obstacles. What a perfect opportunity to put the gear through its paces and provide us with a solution in case we came up a scramble too difficult for Kate to get up and over or down!
We geared up, with Kate kitted out in her Convert Harness with Saddlebags filled with a water bottle each side and a DOOG Foldable Bowl for her and we were ready to go!
We decided to walk the trail from East to West (it is a loop so you can walk it from either direction) heading to the end of Turntable Carpark and taking the path to the right. The trail starts off with a gentle undulation uphill tracking back on itself as you climb the peak. It was a beautiful day at 28 degrees and quickly got warm with the steady climb, we took it quite easy with frequent water stops for Kate every kilometre.
Once you hit a certain height, the track evens out and you start to wind your way around the peak. The path wove through bush scrub, huge granite boulders and every now and then opening up to vista views of the surrounding areas all the way back to Melbourne and the sea.
After about 2km or so we came to the aforementioned rock scramble section! It wasn’t a true scramble but we had a fair drop down a smooth rock face to negotiate. The drop was enough to decide we would lower Kate down instead of letting her run/jump down the face, and the EzyDog Convert Harness proved to be a great asset here! Simon jumped down the rock first and got into position. Using the handle on the back of the harness I lowered her down slowly and steadily into Simon’s arms and he got her down the rest of the way safely and securely. At the bottom of the rock face there were a lot of jagged rocks, if we allowed Kate to run down herself she more than likely would have done herself an injury tearing her pads on the rocks at the bottom. Having the harness was a much needed addition as this allowed us to get Kate down safely and continue enjoying the walk!
After that bit of adventure the track continues undulating around the mountain, dipping in and out of the trees into more granite rock formations. Having your dog wear a backpack is great in the fact you can take more supplies for your trip, but also provides great entertainment for you as you watch your dog try to fit through small spaces they would normally get through no problems with saddlebags blocking their way! We had to unstick Kate a couple of times as she would wedge herself in between rocks!
The You Yangs East-West Walk finishes up with making the descent via many steps back into the carpark, where Kate enjoyed some treats and water after a great bushwalk!
Some pointers we definitely learnt on the trail:
- Ensure you have enough water for all of you, especially on a hot day. We took frequent water breaks ensuring Kate got her fill each time to prevent dehydration.
- Pay attention to your dog’s behaviours and signals, if they are panting excessively, stop walking (in the shade if you can) and provide water and wait until your dog returns to calmed breathing. Don’t try and push on as you don’t want to risk heat exhaustion.
- Do regular pad and paw checks. We were walking on rocky surfaces that get quite hot and can be sharp. We periodically checked Kate’s pads for tears or injury.
- Tick checks at the end of the walk. Ticks can be picked up anywhere but are prevalent in bush areas. Tick season is now in the Eastern states, so it is essential you do a tick check after every adventure.
You can see our full review of the EzyDog Convert Harness and Saddlebags in our Product Reviews here.
We had a fantastic dog adventure on the weekend bushwalking in the You Yangs! Tell us about your adventures and share your thoughts in the comments below!
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