Posted July 19, 2021 in Special Features

It’s commonly thought that the expression “Dog Days of Summer” refers to the hottest time of the year. If true, that would have been during June’s heat wave. The expression actually derives from ancient observations of Sirius, the Dog Star, and its annual rising in the morning during summer. It is the brightest star, second only to the sun. The Old Farmers Almanac places Dog Days at 40 days from July 3 to August 11. Both observations just happen to coincide with (typically) the hottest time of the year.

What if you actually have dogs and you want to enjoy the hotter days of summer? Here are a few suggestions – just remember to bring water for yourself and your canine companions. Observe common courtesy – leash up where required and always clean up after your dog.

Off-leash Dog Parks. A great way to start the day and work off some energy before it gets too hot. Check out DogPaw Off Leash Parks to see if there is one near you.

Early morning hikes in the Columbia Gorge.  The western part of the Gorge can provide a nice respite from the heat. Both sides of the Columbia River have excellent hiking trails and outdoor vistas. One nearby hike is Cape Horn Trail just off Highway 14. It starts out a bit steep, then levels off to a nice hike up to Nancy Russell Overlook with panoramic views of the Gorge.

Two helpful references are Best Hikes with Dogs Western Washington by Dan Nelson and Best Hikes with Dogs by Ellen Morris Bishop. Although the second is focused on Oregon, there are several areas that are easily accessible within a one-day drive from Vancouver.

Go Jump in a Lake! (Or River or Beach.) You don’t have to be a water dog to enjoy water sports in our area. The Lewis, Washougal, and Columbia Rivers all offer places to swim with your dogs. Many county lakes also allow swimming. Be on the look out for algae bloom – it can be toxic to humans and dogs. Check with local authorities and look for posted warnings before entering the water. Finally, check out the beaches on the Long Beach Peninsula.  In just over two hours you will find miles of off-leash fun right on the ocean. It will not only cool off your pups, but also wear them out for the trip home!

Or Just Stay Home. If you can’t make it to one of those destinations, you can always resort to the backyard kiddie pool. Trust us, even before you can get the water in, it will be a hit with the Dog Days of Summer!


Want to learn how? Contact us.

Or start your search for a home in nature here.

Bernie Stea & Debb Janes

Columbian “& Outdoors” Feature Writers