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.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Atticus Mentioned In Latest Edition Of "The 4,000-Footers Of The White Mountains"

Three summers ago Atticus and I threw ourselves into climbing each of the 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains and finished the list in 11 weeks.

On one of the earlier hikes we were joined by three of my brothers: Eddie, David and Jeff. A friend lent me her A-frame so the all four of us (and Atticus) could spend the night together. The next morning we arose, drove up to Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill for breakfast and then over to Mt. Waumbek. We summited together on a very uncomfortable day, the air so hot and thick it felt like we were trying to breathe soup.

The night before we hiked, we all went out to eat and then returned to the A-frame. We talked and read. My brother Eddie picked up my copy of Steve Smith and Mike Dickerman’s 4,000-Footers of the White Mountains and was leafing through it. When he came to the “Feats and Oddities” section in the back of the book he joked, “We’ll be seeing your name in this section in a few years, Tom.”

It was all in good fun. He was joking about my ability to obsess over goals and chase after dreams.

Little did any of us know how prophetic Ed was in his comments. The second edition of the Smith and Dickerman book came out this past weekend. Sure enough, in the “Feats and Oddities” section, my name is listed, for having accompanied Atticus to the top of 81 4,000-footers in the winter of 2006 – 2007. Atticus makes it because he’s one of two dogs to have hiked them all in winter, joining Brutus, who not only was the first to hike all 48 in winter. Brutus was also the first dog to hike them in one winter.

I find pleasure in something the authors point out: Brutus is a Newfoundland (around 160 lbs); and Atticus is a Miniature Schnauzer weighing 20 lbs. They pretty much cover both ends of the spectrum and further prove that all shapes and sizes can hike, even in winter. And that’s true of people and dogs.

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