Twinway Day – Snow and Temps in the high 80 ranges!

We had reached the Morning of Day 3 on our Six Day Pemigewasset Wilderness Traverse

I slept so well at Gyot I hadn’t really done much to evaluate the environs. Dad was awake and had his full breakfast
before I got up to walk over and get my own breakfast from him. I was one tired pup last night! Geyot is a three
walled cabin effectively with the front open through a small porch. It has half ladder stairs leading up to the
platform and a double level sleeping platform. The temperatures were still so warm I’d slept atop my sleeping bag. I
moved well enough to get breakfast but when relieve time came I did not want to put weight on my back right paw. I’m
not sure I rememberred climbing the ladder stairs but with a sore paw it was less fun going down them. Several folks
noted my limp and joined Dad as
they checked me out pretty well and found my pad injury. They weren’t sure if my leg was hurt as well. My ears were
pretty bug bitten and my stomach area was a little raw from the blend of bug bites and a little chafing. Where’s the
doggy form of Body Glide?!? No doubt this was my least favorite morning of the trip. Sure I was proud of the work I’d
done the day before and I was excited about the adventure but at just this moment there was a little bit too much of
the unpleasant aspects of challenge.

We were due to head out but stopped to evaluate all the real options of tending my needs because one thing this great
group was stressing was that I was a full member of the group and needed full consideration for how to proceed. We
thought about whether to stay out at the Shelter for a bonus day and let me recover a bit while the group might have
done an optional West Bond hike without me and Dad. The trouble is that Geyot is the furthest point you can be from
civilization of any sort. It was the worst case scenario to potentially need an evac)uation) from this point. They
talked about a litter, my free walking and ultimately decided to test out my boots and see how I responded. When I
wear these boots my feet just feel odd and that’s true at home when I wear them for salt protection in winter. In fact
all the Guide Dogs who wear them get “springy paw Syndrome” until we adjust. Dad thought that letting me choose what I
wanted was best and if that meant walking out a bit it would enable us to be a little closer for an evacuation if
necessary. I walked with Brent and Dad in boots and harness and my tail was wagging furiously because I was excited to
head out – almost as if I knew this was ultimately the way to start getting closer to home. When we reached the .154
mile to the trail junction I was clearly eager and ready to go. Dad and Brent gave a double check with me and we
decided to head out towards Gale Head Hut across the Twinway.

Coming down Bond the night before, I had found the trail snow to be surprising and a different challenge but it felt
good on my underside. The heat was again ramping up today so again it felt good and I began to master this monorail
work. Winter hikers pack down the middle of the trail and as such it can remain in place for much longer stretches
than the rest of the areas. If I can Guide Dad to the slightly more solid crest he can walk really well since footing
isn’t as big a challenge. Snow is a consistent and level foot place for him and thus even if he post-holes or slides
it’s still much gentler on him than the rock-strewn chaos of the White Mountain typical trail. This also means we can
generally make better time and this was true again. I did post-hole a bit with Dad and his slides had to be mitigated
so he wouldn’t slide towards me and my rough paw nor would he slide with his left foot on the right side as that was
an assured fall for him as we tested a few times. Something about both feet and his hiking stick sliding to the right
which left him unable to levitate the center of gravity now hanging left. Fortunately falling on the three foot deep
snow areas like this usually just made him laugh and gave me an opportunity to give him a quick loving lick of concern.

The group still made much better time than we did and they employed a new plan of letting us have some travel time
ahead so that they spent less time hiking slow in heavy packs. Brent had kept Dad’s pack considerably lighter and Dad
was having a much better day so the traverse went well but still slower than a sighted hiker. As such the group was
able to continue ahead and even do a quick side trail to summit Mt. Geyot. They were back at the intersection when we
reached it and we had our first extended break with a little lunch. I laid down and rested my paw at every stop. I
was definitely tired from all the mental work of three days hiking, multiple types of terrain and my bad paw. The
Ruff-wear boots were fantastic though and I was definitely wishing they had put them on me early yesterday. Dad really
gave me more water opportunities and I was drinking pretty steadily in the heat. I sort of wished I could have put on
a bandanna like Dad. He kept his coverred with snow to cool him in the hot temperatures. It really is strange having
hot and humid near 90 and three feet of snow!

Brent checked back as walking with Dad and various folks took turns leading us in the progress. Justin took an early
turn and he did well. Several others also took part in the lesson of less information is more information settled over
folks. After all I was doing the job! The trail did get very steep and I had to work to continually find the right
pathways for us. It wasn’t quite like the last stretch of yesterday’s saddle but it was close and some of the
smoothness of today was my boots, the frequent snow cover and Dad frankly being more on his game today. He even had
time to get some Alpine Nature lessons from Sherpa like the flowerring Diapennsia (however you spell it!) which only
grows in two places in the world: the arctic and the White Mountains.

We hit the summit of South Twin and I was pretty tired so went straight to my nap. There was a meal involved and
Sherpa gave Dad a great recounting of the mountains all around as he knows the White Mountains so very well. We have a
video of this but it’s not quite ready for youtube yet. Tracy has an archaic computer and it really isn’t ready for
the edit prime time necessary. When the Teva Grant arrives for being Life Agents (!) we intend to fix this problem and
get you better access to my video world immediately. In the meantime thanks for the patience. South Twin was very
windy and the video will show that…or I guess the audio really. Still it kept us bug free along with Aimee’s natural
repellent which she had shared with my ears – thank you Aimee! Kyle actually took a few videos of this trip and I’ll
include the snow walk and South Twin vista as soon as I’m able – thanks Kyle!

This was a pretty long day as well and being tired and sore wasn’t my ideal but I was still eager to lead and my tail
wagging only slowed a bit. I definitely still favorred my paw at every opportunity though and it was helped in part by
Sarah helping me out of the boots to let them dry out on the summit that I felt a little refreshed in the downward
climb from South Twin. We did pretty well until we hit the point where Brent and Sherpa in advnace had thoughty they
might want to Harness Dad for safety. They decided he was doing well enough today that they wanted to just feel him
out but with a human guide. I tried to supress my derisive snort and Kyle and I teamed up to follow Dad being led by
Brent and Sherpa. There were a considerable amount of tough points including this massive boulder crack that was
hidden to the side. When Dad would call me to join them I’d head down with Kyle while occasionally not finding the
easy route and having to get Guidance to make my job easier. Freedom from my job had definitely let me walk easier and
while stopping to wait I would lay down or lift my paw to get a break as it was stinging. I know by later discussions
that folks were worried I’d lost a little of my power leap on that paw. We’d learn the next day for sure it was just
he pad but they were being very cautious with me and so Dad finished the long and challenging trek with Sherpa. Near
the end of this trek it became clear Dad was pretty mentally tired but he never got close to the Tuesday exhaustion.
When the group had gone ahead to find the hut and settle, all water supplies got dangerously low again which is just a
challenge of the slow pace. When Justin and Sarah arrived from Gale Head Hut with refreshed water it was a major boost
for everyone including me. Sarah asked to take Dad’s pack but he was feeling accomplished and pushed onward letting
Sarah make the offer to others. This class had a lot of folks helping each other and that’s pretty impressive. me – I
wanted to get to a warm and comfy bed and get a long sleep. Thanks to Sherpa managing some real tough sections with
Dad we did reach the hut and not nearly as late as the day before.

Gale Head hut is a full building with running water, bathrooms (non-flush) and propane power! We all ate and Courtney
the cook partner had even gotten a head start on Dad’s MRE meal. I went straight to bed and Dad slid me under the four
high bunk beds so that I’d be out of the way. Normally I want to lay with him but sleep and rest were way too high on
my list of needs. I heard them all out laughing and recounting accomplishments but I also heard them all express more
concern for me. They unanimously decided I needed a day off to rest the paw and my general weariness. I wasn’t going
to argue and fell deeply asleep. I woke when Dad came to bed and gave me a quality cuddle and thanks for all my
efforts. My tail thumped twice and that was the best I would manage until morning. Morning would bring good news
about my overall health but that’s tomorrow’s tale of the tail. In the meanwhile, we were officially half way through
the trip and miraculously still on schedule. We were in a comfy hut with tables, a caretaker and all sorts of minor
comforts. We had hiked for 15 and 12 hours back to back and there was nobody questioning how much I love my job or my
Dad. There was no question at how well I did my job either and I was one proud pup!

Take a peak at some of my snowy work

Until Tomorrow …

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