Quinn Power Surge

Hard to believe our six day sojourn is nearly at an end but that’s the reality. Day five was Friday and it was also
the start of Memorial Day weekend. I’d had a solid day of rest and it would show in my enthusiasm and energy. Dad
woke first and had vastly pre-packed everything possible to move out quickly. Given that this was our second morning
in the same place I had the routine down and took Dad to ensure Quinn feed and relieve happened first and fast. He ate
with Brent and they got all their stuff together with the plan being to have Sherpa and Dad head out early with a human
Guide while Kyle and Courtney managed me. TJ would follow Dad as support for their efforts. Now Sherpa is a pretty
amazing guy in several ways and one of these is that he not only runs ultra marathons (yep 100 miles!) but he also
knows the Pemi better than anyone on the trip. He woke that morning with all the nervous energy of a race day and his
concentration high. The plan was I’d get more rest and we’d see how I managed the trail on my own while Sherpa would
lead Dad as far as possible down the mountain trail. Humans tend to wear out a little mentally from the Guide work in
part because it isn’t their life’s work as it is for me and in part because they do not have enough practice at what to
attend for Dad and so tend to not have developed communication systems with him for managing the various challenges.
We set out early and quickly Kyle and Courtney decided I was a little more relaxed when not constantly trying to look
ahead at Dad. I’d stay with Courtney while Kyle worked ahead and then called me to him. She’d catch up and we’d
repeat this leap frogging approach. It was actually pretty fun and with my boots on for protection I was full of
energy and enthusiasm bounding down the trails like I had eaten a power bar or seven!

Meanwhile I have to admit and Dad confirmed that Sherpa hit the ‘zone’ of leading and was amazingly managing all the
work of guiding Dad. So much so that Dad pulled out his recorder and tried to let it run in his pocket capturing the
work. The rustling noise is a little too loud for me to include hear but maybe we’ll clean it up some day and get it
to you all for a listen. Maybe also we’ll convince Sherpa to write his report on the experience (hello out there
Sherpa?). It was precise and efficient and they made great time down the trail which was a little challenging at
points but overall not so bad. I don’t like the admission but for the first hour Dad was probably in better hands for
that part of the journey. They were burning some mental energy in the process but I could tell it was fun for both of
them. I still didn’t like not leading Dad and I was eager and ready to get to him. The second hour they slowed up a
bit as the concentration eased and a few tweaks were happening along the path. Dad put a good roll onto his ankle but
apparently it was more of a toughening as the swelling was slight and he seemed to get stronger from it. I think I
would have been at least equal to the second hour of work and by the third hour those two had their willpower into the
trip but they were not as effective and it was time to call as stop and let the real professional, me, take back over.
They had of course reached the Gayle River crossing by this third hour and the whole crew took a rest for lunch and a
little relaxation. I got my boots off again, thanks Sarah! and it was a great energy level in the group. We had made
better time than anticipated and ultimately had a logging road style trail left for the five mile or so journey out to
the trailhead. There was an old logging camp not far away and we had options to set up a bivvy so the group discussed
options and many folks got some quality water time to cool off. With the van picking us up early the next morning we
could camp here having had a very successful three hours or we could forge ahead to the end and have finished our
hiking. Folks were so fresh, me included we opted for the latter and it was absolutely my turn. Sherpa was burned out
from leading Dad and I was a bundle of energy which everyone agreed meant I could take over leading Dad as I preferred.
First however there was a stream crossing!

Crossing a stream, even a short piece like the Gayle River Crossing is hard for me because I can’t rock hop to show dad
how to stepping stone it unless they are close and wide. Similarly if we walk through the water together I cannot see
below the current to understand the proper footing for him. So the system here was to let Dad use a pair of trekking
poles and have someone direct him while he probed with the hiking poles and his feet. I sat and watched nervously but
Sarah talked him through it very well. The water noise can interfere as you’ll hear/see but they managed it very
smoothly and it’s a video worth checking out:

Water shoes traded in for hiking shoes it was my turn to lead and given the ok I surged ahead at highest speed for
Guide work and with nobody in front of me. After all the trail was obvious and I was eager to show I could do
everything Sherpa did and more. This means as was sadly pointed out to me, that I was doing it too quickly and not
entirely attentive to Dad’s safety. Heck if Sherpa could bounce him around a bit and get praise, why not me!?! Brent
also put a veto on my leading and setting pace so Courtney got the nod and took the lead. I was still a little eager
and wanted to pass her but Dad gave me the check in to be slower and we went as fast as Courtney would allow. I was
pretty well on my game having even learned that in some of the narrow places where I need Dad to follow me, I could
also opt to put him in the narrow place and four paw it over the obstacle myself. Normally I save energy and we single
file the approach but I was enthused. Courtney did have to help Dad with a few short water crossings on stepping
stones and she shined while I patiently evaded all the water and mud I could avoid.

This was a long but very gratifying hike and the water supply was kept high for all of us. Dad is totally sold on his
EMS Camel Bag and will never hike without it again. I like that this frees up more Nalgeen water for me. We emerged
out the trail without any complications and it was just a great feeling day. I got dinner first and the others soon
followed sharing experimental leftovers in a great cookfest to which Kyle and Jenny are awarded the prize for their
various creations. Justin had been the most creative cook over the long haul and his no-stick pans were put to use on
this day, his Birthday!, to help create some of the feasts. With the help of a Dartmouth crew we found a back
campsight to use as ours, setup fully and had some quality debriefing, sharing and round table work. Amusingly the
night became the coldest of our entire trip and I actually used the sleeping bag properly sleeping with just my nose
out for most of the night. Eventually too warm I crawled out early in the morning but that means I’d be sharing the
details of the final day and that must await tomorrow’s report.

In the real tomorrow (June 5) I have the Walk for NHAB in the morning and Dad is hosting a Bardic in the evening which
means my final blog report on the Pemi trip may slip into the Sunday time frame but you have all the quality meat of
our hiking trip. I’ll warp it up with what we learned, reflections and plans for future hikes. The sum of Friday was
I didn’t like not leading Dad early even though Sherpa excelled. I was eager and showed how much I love the work and
the woods – perhaps too eager but I set to work properly once reminded…well maybe a few times. We accomplished the
most distance of the day and it really left both Dad and I wishing we had managed a little more hiking. All this is
much easier to say since my paw was fully healed by the time of this writing. Still I welcome any sympathizers to
sponsor me for the NHAB walk tomorrow:
http://nhab10walk.kintera.org/quinn

Thanks for listening, I hope you’ve learned and enjoyed a bit. Drop me an email to:
Quinn@2020visionquest.org
or give me a comment here which we approve as quickly as possible and once approved you can always comment freely from
that account.

Be Well!
The! Mighty Quinn

2 Comments

  1. RichC says:

    Great write-up! Thanks for the wonderful descriptions of the entire hike!

  2. Paula Ravaioli says:

    Hi Randy and The Mighty One. I’m so loving reading your hiking diary and am so proud of the way both of you have done on this challenging trip. You both amaze me tremendously. Stay well and thanks so much for the feel-like-I’m-right-there descriptions.

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