Tails from the Trail: Patrick Meiering, Zuke’s Founder

Tails from the Trail: Patrick Meiering, Zuke’s Founder

In October 1995, Zuke’s founder, Patrick and his dog, Zuke, set out on a hike on Elbert Creek Trail in Durango, Colorado. Fall is one of the best seasons in Durango — the leaves have turned yellow, orange and red and the temperatures are perfect. The trek to Castle Rock overlook via Elbert Creek is one of the steeper hikes in the area. Zuke and Patrick wound their way up the trail under the yellow glow of the aspen groves, and topped out on the summit of a cliff with a view of the entire Animas River Valley. At 10,450 feet, Castle Rock provides one of the most iconic views in Durango. During this hike, Patrick noticed that his typically energetic chocolate Lab had become fatigued. Patrick gave him some of his energy bar as he wondered why a similar nutritious boost didn’t exist for dogs, and the idea for Zuke’s Power Bones was born. More than 20 years later, Zuke’s is still running on the idea that the best adventures are shared with our four-legged buddies.Patrick and Zuke

Patrick, Trek, Ellie and Charlie Hike Elbert Creek Trail, Durango, Colorado

Patrick retraced his steps on the Elbert Creek Trail with his dogs Trek, Ellie and Charlie while reminiscing about the monumental hike that set the course for Zuke’s natural pet treats and supplements.

The Elbert Creek trailhead is located north of Durango in an area locally referred to as “The Needles,” due to its expansive views of the jagged Needle Mountains subrange of the mighty San Juan Mountains. Primarily used by mountain bikers (keeping dogs leashed is encouraged but not required), the main trail connects to a lightly used path that heads up to Castle Rock. This 4.5-mile round-trip hike has an elevation gain of nearly 1,700 feet and offers one of the best views of Durango.

Castle Rock

Elbert Creek Trail sign

Patrick, Charlie and Ellie

About 3 miles in, an old log cabin offers a perfect spot for a break and treat time!

Treat time!

The spur for Castle Rock overlook leads well above the cabin to the right. It meanders uphill through a meadow (which is covered in wildflowers in late summer) and after a brief-yet-strenuous final ascent, reveals a spectacular view of the Animas River Valley.

Patrick and Ellie

Patrick and Charlie

Patrick and Trek

Patrick and Charlie at the Castle Rock overlookPatrick and Charlie at the Castle Rock overlook