Ever wondered what it’s like to hike with a Cat on the trail? My name is Mel Elam and I hike with my Cat, Floki.

I rescued Floki at four months old from a local shelter. It was clear from the very beginning she was unlike any cat I have ever known. After an experience on the trail that left me wishing I had a hiking companion but at the same time not being able to have a dog, I remember staring at Floki one morning and thinking, “Why not?”

Credit: Melissa Elam

After not being able find much information about taking cats hiking, I relied on my own experience with my original hiking partner, Leia, my Chocolate Lab who I retired from the trails at age 11 but was able to spend her last lucid moments on one at 15.

I purchased a pet harness and lead from our local pet store and tried it out that night. After some encouragement and lots of patience, Floki was a natural.

While on the trail Floki is always attached to me, always harnessed and secured to my pack with a carabiner during more technical ascents and descents. She loves to trail run and hike on her own but can either sit on my shoulders and my pack or ride inside with her upper body out. She has the freedom to be able to climb up or down whenever she’d like. We hike in all weather and in all four seasons. Like a typical canine companion she has a jacket for inclement weather and a down jacket she wears in the bitter cold. For meals, I typically feed her wet food while we are out, so she is receiving fluids as well as nourishment to help keep her hydrated in case she is not drinking from the water crossings.

Credit: Melissa Elam

To date, Floki and I have climbed over 120 mountains. She finished her NH 48 4,000 foot Mountains in nine months and has also completed half of “The Devils Path.” One of the hardest hiking trails on the east coast located in New York’s Catskills as well as “The Mahoosuc Notch,” the hardest mile of the Appalachian Trail.  We are currently working on the “Terrifying 25” and “52 WAV” and are almost halfway finished with both.

On Saturday, July 16th, Floki and I will be participating in Seek The Peak, Mount Washington Observatory’s annual fundraiser. This will be Floki’s 4th Summit of Mount Washington.  Hiking with Floki has been an incredible journey and I can’t wait to see where this adventure goes.

Floki and Mel will be leading a hike at this weekend’s Seek the Peak Expo—Follow along with @adventureswithflokicat, and help her hit her MWOBS fundraising goal here