Chico: A Young Lab’s Adventure in the Wind River Range

By Phil Monahan

Perk, Laurie, and Chico high in Wyoming’s Wind Rivers.

Perk, Laurie, and Chico high in Wyoming’s Wind Rivers. All photos courtesy Perk Perkins

Orvis CEO Perk Perkins recently went on a week-long hike into the Wind River Mountains of central Wyoming, along with his wife, Laurie, and their 18-month-old Black Lab, Chico. They took to the trail outside the town of Dubois, guided by George Hunker of Sweetwater Fishing Expeditions. Before they left, Perk wrote:

At 18 months, Chico (a Wildrose Lab) has been hunting, fishing, rafting, canoeing, and car-camping—but this is his first backpacking trip. Laurie is quite the athlete with three 100-milers and the Marathon des Sables under her jogbra. Her trail-mates are a little less diligent about our conditioning. This last week, she put Chico and me under a rigorous training regimen for the trip ahead, most of which will be spent between 9,000-12,000 feet. (I hope to catch my first Golden trout). Chico seems very pleased with his new Ruffwear backpack, though has not grown accustomed to how “beamy” he is with his doggy-panniers.

Here’s a great set of photos from their journey, where Chico had a spectacular time.

Before the trip, Chico got used to wearing his pack.

Before the trip, Chico got used to wearing his pack.

Chico takes a break during a practice hike.

Chico takes a break during a practice hike.

Laurie helps Chico get ready to hit the trail for the multi-day journey.

Laurie helps Chico get ready to hit the trail for the multi-day journey.

The terrain was sometimes challenging, but Chico handled it better than the humans.

The terrain was sometimes challenging, but Chico handled it better than the humans.

Chico and Laurie a break during an afternoon of fishing.

Chico and Laurie a break during an afternoon of fishing.

Things were cozy inside the tent at night.

Things were cozy inside the tent at night.

Taking a break in a gorgeous mountain meadow.

Taking a break in a gorgeous mountain meadow.

Perk scans the water for trout as Chico waits patiently.

Perk scans the water for trout as Chico waits patiently.

The gorgeous, wild golden trout were worth the long hikes above 9,000 feet.

The gorgeous, wild golden trout were worth the long hikes above 9,000 feet.

Releasing a golden at the base of a huge cliff.

Releasing a golden at the base of a huge cliff.

 

Sometimes, you need to rest, especially at high altitude.

Sometimes, you need to rest, especially at high altitude.

Chico enjoyed the occasional splash session in the many lakes and streams.

Chico enjoyed the occasional splash session in the many lakes and streams.

Heading back to civilization in style. . . .

Heading back to civilization in style. . . .

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