RMD Ambassador, Kristen, Roaming the Rockies

dog and woman sitting on a mountain
Calgary, Alberta
Instagram: @bentley_yyc
By: Kristen C

If the spirit of adventure were a person, you’d meet Kristen. That adventurist pursuit is her passion for the outdoors, the mountains and her pup, Bentley! This is her story.

Living in Calgary and getting to the Rockies any chance we can, my 3-year-old rescue pup, Bentley and I are a match made in mountain heaven. Bentley was a rescue from Mexico, and when I adopted him at just over a year old, he was scared, underweight, reactive and incredibly fearful.

I began hiking frequently as a way to help Bentley develop some confidence, for us to form a stronger relationship and to tire him of his endless energy. His demeanour changed when he was hiking. He became softer, calm and more at ease.

Why do we thrive on mountain air? The mountains are the simplest way to refill a tired soul or a weary heart. Every hike, just like every setback in life is mind over matter. It is one foot in front of the other. Over and over. Again and Again. 

When we reach the summit, for a short while, nothing else in life matters to us. Not the past, not the future, just that precious moment. It is where we can sit in solitude together. It is where we can breathe deeply to recharge and feel on top of the world, away from chaos and confusion.

dog and woman climbing a mountain summit

The mountains invite you to come as you are; tired, restless, happy, sad, grateful or unfulfilled, and as you stand at the top of a mountain, it powerfully reminds you that the universe is far greater than you are.

Q: What is your favourite hike?
One that I find myself doing with the dogs over and over again is Prairie Mountain! It is close to home and a great workout with a beautiful summit. 
Q: What do you pack with you on a hike?

Having good gear is key! We always bring our RMD hands-free leash, harness and poop bags! Lots of water, a first aid kit, snacks, bear spray and extra layers depending on the conditions.

Q: What breed of dog is Bentley?

Bentley is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, German Shepherd, Collie mix.

Q: What is Bentley's personality like?
Bentley is an incredibly affectionate and loving dog! He is adventurous and loves to explore. He is incredibly intelligent and equally as independent and stubborn :)
dog in the rocky mountains
Q: Besides hiking, what other activities does Bentley enjoy?

Bentley loves going for off-leash walks near the river, sniffing all the smells and exploring nature. He also has lots of fun at training and agility classes, enjoys going for a stand-up paddleboard ride and playing chase or wrestling with his baby sister, Mabel.

Q: What does your perfect day in the mountains entail?
My perfect day consists of some great hiking weather and temperatures, a tiresome and challenging hike with some water nearby so the pups can have some off-leash playtime. It would end with a cozy movie and lots of puppy snuggles!
woman and dog selfie
Q: What haven't you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
Something that is on my bucket list for sure is the 52 hike challenge. 52 hikes in 52 weeks!
Q: What has hiking taught you?

Bentley and I have both learned to trust each other, to never give up on one another and provide each other with a familiar comfort knowing the other is near. I feel fearless when I hike with Bentley by my side.

Regardless of what life puts in our path, we are a team. We are kindred spirits and he is truly my best friend. Hiking with Bentley has inspired me to push limits and reminded me to never give up.

Q: On weekends you're a mountain adventurer, what is your day job?
I am a teacher and teach an amazing group of Grade 3 students.