First Adventureweiner Camping Trip – Deception Pass

P1020786OFor those of you who don’t know, I organize the biggest Dachshund activity club in Seattle – the Adventureweiner Club. Our activities include hiking, dog park play dates, local pet events and the like. Now we can add “camping” to our list.

I organized a camping trip to Deception Pass State Park, located a couple of hours north of Seattle. This was my first experience with this type of event so I went into it with my eyes wide open but in total information gathering and learning mode. I could see potential problems with getting a lot of Doxies together in a public campground because they tend to bark more in packs. I kept the group number low. About 10 people came with 13 Dachshunds total.

Before checking into our camp site we hiked around Rosario Head on the north side of the pass. After we set up camp we hiked on the beach and did a small parade through our campground loop. The goal was to tire out the dogs to reduce any potential issues.



The camping trip was fun overall but I certainly learned some things to consider next time I organize a group camping trip.

  1. Call the campground before you go with a big group to verify how many tents are allowed and will fit on the site. The website led me to believe that 8 tents would fit between the two sites we had reserved but when we arrived there were only 4 good spots and 2 marginal ones.
  2. Don’t pick a campsite in a high traffic area. Our site was about 3 feet from the road and on a busy corner. This meant that people were walking and kids were riding their bikes past us all of the time…which led to “intruder” barking pretty frequently. This particular campground is VERY popular and crowded. Reservations start to fill up a year in advance. Next time I will remember to make a reservation early so we can pick a campsite a little more out of the way or just find a campsite that is less crowded.
  3. When camping in a large group, potluck-style meals are great. Everyone can chip in, you only need to set up one or two stoves and everyone can eat at the same time instead of waiting for their turn to make their food.
  4. Remember that not everyone on the trip may be comfortable with alcohol. If alcohol is allowed in the campground there are two ways to approach the issue respctfully. Either make it a dry camp or make it known that alcohol is allowed but only in moderation. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, they won’t be allowed to attend future camping trips (make that known up-front too).
  5. If you are the organizer, sleep in your own tent. Because of the space issue I shared a tent with my friend. That would have been ok but every time she got up, or our dogs moved around, the crinkly floor or tent zipper woke me up. Good sleep is extra important for the event organizer. It’s also nice to have your own space to retreat too.
  6. Bring earplugs. As the group organizer I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing them myself. I feel a responsibility to monitor what goes on with our group at all times to head-off any potential problems…and that includes in the middle of the night. However, I would suggest ear plugs to other people in our group so that they can make sure they get a good nights sleep. Besides potential issues with our own group, there were hundreds of potentially obnoxious campers, screaming children and barking dogs at the campground. The morning us much more pleasant if everyone is rested.


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    • Jessica Rhae says

      It was my first time coordinating a group camping trip. I am planning on making it an annual thing for us….with these lessons learned of course :) We hike, do monthly walk in our local park (up to 70 Doxies attend) and do other fun things too.

  1. Kolchak, Felix & Jodi says

    Looks like a fun trip! My idea of camping is staying at a cabin with no wi/fi, though, so I doubt I’ll ever use these tips. You didn’t even mention that S’mores are totally necessary for a successful camping trip!
    Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted…Fetch Friday: Pass Me a Slider EditionMy Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      There WERE smores to be had. Two of the guys were my age and were smores virgins. Imagine that. We did have use of our cell phones (Facebook) here. I tired to refrain :)

  2. Coralee and Finn says

    What a great trip! We went camping last week with only one dog, and found plenty of issues with dogs and obnoxious campers even though we were off the beaten track. Great tips!
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Monday Mischief: Camping!My Profile

  3. Monica says

    Sounds like fun! I think only one of mine is actually healthy enough and brave enough to do something like that. I bet you made quite an impression on the other campers

    • Jessica Rhae says

      Most of them did think it was a riot. The problem was that a lot of kinds thought it was great too and wanted to pet the dogs. We had to crush their dreams because some of them were not kid friendly :(

  4. says

    This looks like so much fun! And your advice is solid. I would never have thought to bring ear plugs. When we camp with the dogs, we always make sure the tent is near water – a lake or a river. That really wears the dogs out, fetching sticks and swimming.
    Flea recently posted…Funny Bone Monday, 34My Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      It’s hard for me to physically sleep with ear plugs in…but it is hard for me to sleep with loud partiers next door too. Like I said, I didn’t wear them this time because I was the organizer but they have saved me several times before.

    • Jessica Rhae says

      Ha, ha. Yes….I made a lot of mistakes :) I hope these help your organizer and you guys have a great time.

  5. says

    Oh, I just love camping! We love camping in State Parks because they allow dogs and because they do provide great amenities (ok, not all of the parks but most!). But yes…State Parks have a limit to how many tents can be on a campsite so if you are going in a large group, call ahead.

    The last trip we went on we were on a high traffic campsite and my “intruder alert button” got stuck on bark, even though I was exhausted from all the hiking. We do enjoy the “less traveled” side of a campground.

    I bet next time, your group trip will be a blast!! Live and learn, I say…especially when it comes to camping!
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…Food Energetics: Are You a Hot Dog?My Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      I knew there was a limit on tents. There always are in campgrounds (at least Forest Service, National Parks and State Parks in Washington). The problem was that they said the limit was 8 tents between the two sites and when we got there we couldn’t fit 8 tents. What was listed on the website was wrong. I didn’t think to call ahead to make sure their information was accurate. I suspect even if I had called the reservation like would have “confirmed” by checking again on the website (the reservation centers are statewide and do not know camp spots intimately). I would probably try to call next time anyway and then make the assumption that we could fit 2 tents less than they listed. Lesson learned.

      And in most of our State Parks, there is no “less traveled” side of the campground. *sigh* :(

  6. says

    I like that 13 Dachshunds is “keeping the group number low”, lol. We could never do this with a large group because my two would be too overwhelmed by all the people. They’re okay with other dogs, but not too many at once. I respect and admire you for organizing this… it would admittedly stress me way out!
    Alcohol? Oh Lord, I couldn’t manage multiple Dachshunds sober… I can’t imagine adding alcohol to the mix! :)
    Great photos, though! What a beautiful area!
    Pam recently posted…Pet Peeves Monday: Deceptive MarketingMy Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      I have had enough experience with our group to be reasonably sure that all of the Dachshunds get along with each other and pretty much all people. I would not attempt such a feat if I wasn’t pretty sure of that. Still, it is good to keep in mind. We did have a couple of dogs with us we had never met and it could have turned out that they didn’t get along with some of the other dogs in the group.

  7. GizmoGeodog says

    I’ve organized campouts for geocachers where dogs attended, but never one exclusively for a dog group…I’d say choice of campground is probably the key thing…Going off-season here really helps…everything is jammed in Summer., but with our generally mild winters it’s not bad to camp in January or February and the campgrounds are usually pretty empty then
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Let’s Talk Poop plus a FetchEarth GiveawayMy Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      There is no real “off season” here for our State Parks. It is typical to have to make a reservation at least 6 months in advance and even when there are last-minute camp spots available, there are only a few. We have such mild temperatures that tourists come year-round. There is definitely more appropriate campgrounds for barky dogs though :) It’s just going to take some work to find them.

      • GizmoGeodog says

        Likely you don’t have anything like these, but our water resources are controlled by water management districts that own hundreds of thousands of acres of land…almost all of it open for recreation…they have some of the most beautiful campsites, usually not too busy and always free…it’s a great system
        GizmoGeodog recently posted…Let’s Talk Poop plus a FetchEarth GiveawayMy Profile

        • Jessica Rhae says

          Interestingly enough, we don’t have watershed management districts. That kind of thing was a discussion a few years ago in the water quality management community….mostly in respect to the control of mosquito and West Nile Virus. We have one huge watershed area here that protects our drinking water supply. They are VERY particular about what happens on that land. There MAY be some campsites though. I have an amazing campground in mind for next year but may need to get more resourceful in the future if we want to move around the State.

  8. says

    Wow, you’re brave. But it sounds like a great trip. And you learned a lot of tips for the future.

    Could you use a couple more suggestions? When we go camping, we take a drive around to find the best campsites for the future. We write them down so we can reserve them next time.

    We also like camping during the shoulder season because it’s quieter. October might be a big nippy for short haired dogs. But even September is quieter than July.

    I hope you decide to do it again. It sounds like a lot of fun. Honey and I would love to be honorary Adventure Weiners. :)
    Pamela recently posted…Smile – Good for the Dog; Good for YouMy Profile

    • Jessica Rhae says

      Those are good suggestions Pamela.

      Unfortunately, at this campground there are no “better spots”. The campground is very popular, very crowded and the sites are all crammed close together. All sites as this campground are designated poor in privacy and high in traffic. I have drove around to pick better campsites before but it’s not an option at this campground.

      As I told Gizmo, there is no shoulder season for our State Parks really. Most of our campgrounds aren’t open mid-winter and reservations fill up 6 – 8 months in advance even in shoulder season. We get a lot of tourists here who bring RVs so they don’t mind the chillier weather.

      I know the perfect camp spot of us next year. That will give me two years to find another if we decide that we want to go to a new place the next time.

  9. says

    What a fun idea, glad your event turned out good! I enjoy camping, but after taking both Sawyer and Bentley one time I decided it is better to just take one dog. Sawyer loves to go camping so he wins the lottery every time! And, yes, the barking instinct is something to deal with :) I can’t wait to hear about your next camp out!
    Beth recently posted…A Very Relaxed Saturday MorningMy Profile

  10. Elizabeth says

    Well at least you took away a lot of useful tips for the next time! Sounds like your camping trips could develop into a great yearly event. I love that area – David lived just a few miles from Deception Pass when I first met him, so we spent a lot of time in that area early in our relationship. :)
    Elizabeth recently posted…Annual Carmel Dachshund Picnic!My Profile

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