Hoagie the Intrepid Trail Dog

Hoagie Vs A Split Rail Fence  Photo Credit Kat Andrew

Hoagie loves life! Image by: Kat Andrew

Oh, hi there. Let me introduce myself. My name is Hoagie. I’m a 7-year-old black Labrador, hound mix and I live with some great outdoorsy people in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We do lots of fun stuff in the woods and this year has been especially good.

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Hoagie loves mapping! Image by: Matt Allenbaugh

This spring my person and I got to do a bunch of mapping and GPS work on the trails at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve. According to my person, Carvins Cove is the second largest municipal park in the country. There sure are a lot of trails and we got to hike every mile of them. I love mapping work, it’s my favorite thing!

I also helped my person train for a 30-hour relay race this spring. We got to do a lot of running together. I’m much faster than my person so I set the pace. It’s a good workout for me too. I run ahead and scout the trail, then run back to check on my person and sometimes I even have to chase away pesky squirrels. I probably run twice as far as he does on our training runs. But that’s ok, because I love trail running. It’s my favorite thing!

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Hoagie and Kat Andrew in Shenandoah National Park. Image by: Matt Allenbaugh

My people and I go backpacking together several times a year. This winter and then again in spring and early summer we did trips on the Appalachian Trail and in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

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Hoagie and Matt working hard. Image by: Kat Andrew

My person is a Ridgerunner on the Appalachian Trail and sometimes I get to go to work with him. He says that we are protecting the trail from yahoos and helping people make better decisions. I think my person makes a good decision every time he takes me hiking. My person told me that our goal is to do a 120-mile section of Appalachian Trail in Virginia so that I can earn a patch from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club for my pack.

Did I tell you about my pack? It’s great! It’s green, has shiny reflectors on it and I get to carry all my own gear. My people give me lots of gear to carry too. 

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Hoagie loves his pack. Image by: Kat Andrew

Like my bowl, my water bottle, dog food, sleeping pad and my coats. I have three different coats for different seasons. In the winter my people make me wear my big puffy blue coat at night to sleep in so I stay warm, even though I would rather be in one of their sleeping bags. Sometimes my people even let me carry a beer or two for them. My people sure do like it when I carry their beer in my pack. They seem to like it even more when I carry the empty cans for them. I love my pack, it’s my favorite thing!

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Hoagie loves swimming. Image by: Kat Andrew

My person doesn’t take me hiking as often in the summer. He says that it’s too hot and there are too many rattlesnakes. In the summer, we walk to the river by our house to swim. My people throw rocks into the big pool under the greenway bridge and I chase after them. They must not understand that rocks sink and swimming after them is hard work. Sometimes we do this for a long time and people stop on the bridge and watch. I love swimming, It’s my favorite thing!

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But seriously. Hoagie REALLY loves swimming. Image by: Kat Andrew

Not everything was really fun this year though. In May my older brother Fairbanks, we called him Banks, passed away. He was my buddy, the happiest dog I’ve ever met and always smiling. I’d lived with him since my people first brought me home from the animal shelter. 

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Banks. RIP, sweet dog. Image by Kat Andrew

He was nice to me and let me sit on him when it was thundering outside and I was scared, and he let me sit on him in the backseat on long car rides and he didn’t even mind when I stole his toys and chewed them up. He was fifteen years old and taught me a lot about life. I really miss my brother. My person says that every time we see a pretty sunset it means that Banks is smiling at us.

Late this summer my people dropped me off at my friend Ginger’s house and then left me there for over three weeks while they hiked the John Muir Trail. Can you believe that? My people go hiking for three weeks and I didn’t get to go. Geez, the nerve of my people! Well I better let you go, there are some squirrels in the yard I have to deal with. Until next time, happy trails.

Hoagie the Intrepid Trail Dog is a backpacker, river swimmer, squirrel chaser, trail runner and connoisseur of tennis balls. He lives with his person, Oboz Ambassador Matt Allenbaugh in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. His person occasionally posts pictures of Hoagie’s adventures on Instagram @mattallenbaugh.

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