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.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

One Peak & $300

Today we set out to do my least favorite winter climb: up East Osceola from the Kancagamus Highway, then the mile over to Osceola, then all the way back to the Kanc. The hike is only 7.6 miles but the climb up East Osceola is one of the steepest in the White Mountains (according to the AMC White Mountain Guide) and my memory. The climb was tough. Yesterday's rain made the butt-slid trail into a sheet of ice. This is typically one of Atticus's most difficult winter climbs and today was no different. We were doing fine and climbed across the icy rock slide that typically scares the wits out of me. Once there we stopped for a break, to let me legs stop shaking and get Atti a treat from my pack. My chest strap holds my camera case in place. When I took off my pack my camera slid off the strap and bounced onto the icy slide and then just flew down and wasn't about to stop. Who knows where it ended up. Oh well, it's $300. We made the summit of East Osceola, then halfway to Osceola we came to the famed "chimney" and the bypass. Both were extremely icy. It was here Atticus did something he rarely does, he refused to go. I tried some gentle coaxing but that didn't work. To answer the question: Does Atticus have a say in all this? Yes, he does. When he decided not to go up the bypass we turned around and went back. That means if we hope to finish both rounds we'll have to come back over these peaks twice more because the only other way to Osceola is closed in the winter. I look at it this way, I may be out $300 (I'm on my way to Staples right now to get another camera) but at least I've continued to build on the trust Atticus and I share. I'd rather have both, but if I can only have one I'll take the trust of my best friend. Camera's come and go, but friends are rare indeed.