Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kinsmans Cancelled Due To Good Weather...

So much for the Kinsmans. So much for any mountain today. Today's hike was called because of beautiful weather. Go figure.

While the rest of New England was celebrating today's stunningly high January temperatures, we fell into doom and gloom as the trails became a post-holing mess, even with snowshoes on. You step, you sink. In Atticus's case, he steps, he sinks and then he gets wet. Not good.

So there was no mountaintop today. Nothing. Tomorrow's weather doesn't look any better. As I wrote earlier we're off to Newburyport. Both of us need haircuts and my leg needs the good hands and manipulation of my chiropractor, Tom McFadden. We'll stay over in Newburyport tomorrow night, let the temperature drop down to 20 degrees up here, and then drive north early Thursday morning to take a shot at Whiteface & Passaconaway.

I cannot tell you how frustrating this winter has been thus far. It's difficult to find a rhythm with too much snow, too much cold, too much melting, too much leg pain. That's exactly why hiking in winter is a challenge, you just never know what will be thrown at you. I suppose it wouldn't be quite so frustrating if we had a good number of peaks under our belts, but we've not even started rolling yet.

And for the thousandth time, hiking with a dog is different than hiking without one and hiking with a little dog is different than hiking with a big dog in winter. Every time I become frustrated over the conditions we've faced thus far all I have to do is look to my side and see that Atticus is safe and happy. He's not into counting peaks, that's my job. His only job is to get to the top of each peak safely so that he can enjoy it as he always seems to. My job is to make sure he's taken care of.