Gear Review: Merrick Backcounty Treats

A few months ago, I came home from work to find a package on the front porch. I excitedly tore into it and discovered that it wasn’t for me, it was for Sprocket!

He’d received Wild Prairie Real Chicken Jerky,  Wild Prairie Real Chicken Sausage Cuts, and Great Plains Real Steak Patties. The lucky dog was drooling immediately after I opened the first bag.

While all of the treats were enjoyed by Sprocket I think his favorite were the chicken jerky strips. I can’t say that I blame him, they smelled like meat and the ingredient list is impressive (“mixed tocopherols” are often found in human nutritional supplements; Vitamin E is a tocopherol). They’re grain-free which I appreciate since his food (also Merrick Backcountry) is as well.

Lest I give all the credit to the jerky, the sausage cuts and the steak patties were hits as well! I think I’d say the steak patties were his second favorite but the sausage cuts get him running to the kitchen for a treat all the same.

I don’t give SP treats very often but when I do, I try to choose things that fit in with his grain free diet and these Merrick treats fit the bill! While I putting together this review I found out that there is also a Wild Catch Salmon Jerky variety that I bet Sprocket is dying to try.

Merrick Backcountry treats were provided to 3Up Adventures by Merrick Pet Care. All opinions are my interpretation of Sprocket’s thoughts.

Review: Zuke’s Hip Action Dog Treats

While we were at Outdoor Retailer, we learned about Zuke’s dog treats. Made in the USA and based out of Durango, Zuke’s uses human grade ingredients in their treats. Reading through the pages detailing the philosophy of Zuke’s, I found myself nodding in agreement. “Adventures in life and love are all around, just follow your dog’s lead and open your eyes to opportunities. Our favorite adventures are those that start as nothing, like when a jog in the park turns into an all-out frolic in the creek.” Yup, Sprocket definitely agrees! And they pay their employees to not drive to work, how cool is that?

Sprocket with Zuke's Hip Treats

Since Labs are predisposed to hip displasia, we worry about Sprocket’s long term mobility sometimes. Zuke’s makes a treat for that! Packed with glucosamine and chondroitin plus eggshell membrane (which is packed with nutrients that support joint health) Hip Treats are made for dogs just like Sprocket.

Zukes Hip Action

Furthermore, he finds them absolutely delicious. (Actually, he knows the phrase “Hip Treats” now.)

And if the video wasn’t enough to convince you, I give you “Hover Dog”:

Hover Dog

Scamp Shakedown, Part 2

In the morning, we got a pretty slow start. I took some pictures, we drank coffee, Sylvia made us pancakes, and we packed up camp before heading out for a hike around the valley.

When we arrived back at camp, we all loaded back into the Jeep and headed for Ajo. Along the way, Forrest stopped to test the Scamp on some more angles to get a better idea of its capabilities.

Scamp Shakedown, Part 1

Last week, we took the Scamp out for it’s first camping adventure. We’d slept in it in town a couple of nights but with the new axle set up in place, it was time to take it out in the desert for a bit of a test run. Sylvia and her dog Blue joined us for the adventure and toasting to good times in the Scamp.

We headed out to a secret desert location. I rode in the Scamp to watch how our packing job held up to a rocky road while Forrest, Sylvia, and the dogs rode in the jeep. At our perfect little camp, we took the opportunity to just relax after a hectic week of buying & moving into the Scamp, selling the van, and taking care of projects.

I decided to attempt making skillet pizza for dinner. The pizzas turned out yummy but the recipe needs a bit of refining before I share it here. It was nice to discover that at least three people can quite comfortably eat in the Scamp. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many Scamp “dinner parties.”

Superstitions Backpacking

Sprocket I had the opportunity to go backpacking with Maryanne and her dog Kiva (her husband Seth even joined us for some of the fun). We headed up the the Superstition Mountains and hiked throughout La Barge Canyon, Boulder Canyon, and out the Second Water Trail. It was a wonderfully relaxing trip: there was tons of talking, some hiking, a touch of swimming (well, a lot on Sprocket’s part), and even some whiskey drinking.

The area had been pretty drenched in rain the weekend prior which meant that there was lots of water in the creeks and in waterholes along the trail. Sprocket, of course, was delighted.

Our first campsite was in La Barge Canyon between Geronimo Head and Battleship. It was a beautiful location but by far the best part was getting to catch up with Maryanne (a close second was watching the dogs play). The sunset light on the rocks went really well with the comfort of conversation with an old friend, a sipper of Jameson, and some dog cuddles.

The next morning, we awoke to frost on the ground. Rather than wait for the sun to reach us in the bottom of the canyon, we scrambled up to the base of some rocks to bask in the sun. Once we walked into camp, Seth was there waiting to start our adventures for the day.

We hiked over into Boulder Canyon, set up camp, and prepared day packs for a hike into a box canyon. It was a lovely hike on a way trail that skirted the southern base of Battleship and then descended into the mouth of the box. When we reached the large pool, we all took turns jumping into the water. It was freezing but totally worth it.

Back at camp, we started a fire, cooked dinner, and relaxed under the stars. Just after midnight, some clouds rolled in to keep us much warmer than we’d been the night before so in the morning we just were not in any hurry to move. We restarted the fire, ate our breakfast, and started back to First Water Trailhead at about 11 so that we could make it back to Maryanne and Seth’s for pizza, beer, and Superbowl!

We’ve come a long way from biology class twelve years ago:

How To: Cleaning Dog Hair out of Car Carpet

Sprocket comes everywhere with us. That means that there’s black dog hair everywhere. At first, I really just tried to vacuum his hair out of the car and it just never really worked. The magic of Google turned me on to this nifty trick.

You start out with carpet that looks like this, even after its been vacuumed:

Grab your handy dandy weapon that is likely already located under your sink:

Rub the rubber glove along the carpet. The hair will move out of the carpet pile and collect into a pile that will vacuum out.

And just like that, you’ll have nice clean carpet!

Ruffwear Grip Trex

A few weeks ago, I was tweeting with Heather about dog booties and mentioned we’d put a Ruffwear set on our wedding registry. I thought it was pretty cool to get a tweet back from Ruffwear asking when our big day was. When I received an email from their marketing department that said they wanted to be the ones to send us a set of boots I was  totally astounded!

They sent them in red to match his pack!

When the package arrived in the mail, we couldn’t wait to test them out. Sprocket wasn’t so sure to start but he warmed up:

Sprocket finally got a chance to try wearing them for about four miles last weekend. I should have put them back on when we were playing around in the rocks but for just walking down the trail he didn’t seem to mind at all! (Nor did the boots seem to spin around like they did when we were taking the video…I must have been too gentle when I put them on the first time!)

Thank you so much Ruffwear! Sprocket is excited to put these to good use; he’ll be especially happy to have these when we get to Moab in a couple weeks, his poor paws took some cacti abuse last year!