A Five Mile Walk in the Woods – One Mile Straight up!

Let us be clear first and foremost that I am not some form of Guiding Eyes Goat! That said some of you might have
heard about our project on WBZ TV
http://wbztv.com/local/blind.hiker.washington.2.1769438.html

or the Nashua telegraph:
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/786379-196/dog-helps-blind-man-scale-the-heights.html

The telegraph gave us front page above the fold coverage which is simply incredible! They also included some great
video of me working to guide Dad up the Wompac trail and that is worth the watch if you can spare the time to see our
teamwork in action!

So all the forecasting aside we also had WMUR Weather (thanks Kevin) giving us the steadfast reports of what to expect
even though Dad double checked daily on the Mount Washington Observatory Summit reports. We were going to climb the
fierce and fatal Washington but at least it would be July 4. Oh yes, did you hear it snowed up there on July 1?!?!!

We have our 2020 vision quest project and I’m really pretty proud of my frequent top billing. Google Analytics say I’m
not top dog over there so maybe you should all go check out my tail at:
www.2020visionquest.org
It is true that I’ve made a single blog post there and intend to write another but you guys still loyal over here will
get my first report.

The heat wave was heading for a collision course as we escaped on Friday morning to trek North Past the Pemigewassit
Wilderness, through the Franconia Notch and then due east after Twin Mountain so we could reach the western edge of
Mount Washington. We stopped slightly short as the AMC Highland Center was our destination. We were their guests for
the night in exchange for Dad giving an hour long presentation on our Hiking Experiences and goals. Tracy had some of
our video work to showcase my talent and support his talk. The place was vibrant with hiking and I was getting excited
even before we started. People during the presentation really marveled at my ability and there were many quality
questions on our messages. Best of all we had escaped the heat wave though it was coming to the area.

Saturday July 3 was my relax day and so we only took a ride out to the trailhead for Rippley Falls where I had to Guide
dad up a stretch of narrow ledge to a river gorge with a very tough descent. There he tossed on his new TevaItunda
Water shoes and waded into the stream without me. I looked on disapprovingly as he appreciated the work of hiking with
his pack full and testing the weight. It was over 40 pounds and probably closer to 50 but we’d worked pretty well up
through the trail. Even I will admit it was pleasant enough for 100 foot water hurling itself down the mountainside at
unsuspecting dogs!

After the hike back and a short shuttle back to the Highland Center we toured the grounds and basked in Adirondack
chairs surrounded by mountain scents and scenery on a cool and perfect day. Soon our crew of friends arrived and there
were meetings for hiking, documentary work and general socializing. Really a pretty good night despite my not getting
any play and a sneaking suspicion my boots were not far away.

Sunday it began full swing as we all trekked out to the base of this path called the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. it’s been
in use since 1915 and yet they still haven’t made it very wide or very clear. They did make it very steep! There was
no delay, my boots were put onto my feet early and while I didn’t like it much I know that it protects my pads if we
hit sharp rock. So the first 2.1 miles is just deep old woods and really pretty exciting. I led Dad well enough but
there were some crazy rocks all over and since we had a different crew there was some learning in how they might
advance warn me to warn Dad. Usually I just handle it all but there are times when a new person comes into the mix and
shares pertinent information. Each trail type can be different and it took some work to adjust. We had some cool
moments like the Air Force and Army soldiers carrying the flag down from the summit. I know a little bout the Service
Industry albeit Service Animal but I still appreciate the notion of those who work for the benefit of others and the
soldiers count very high there!

Anyhow, this was Mount Washington and it was going to get very challenging right after we reached the gem pool. This
was a nifty small cascade into a broad pool that I wanted to use as a swimming hole to cool off because the heat had
started to arrive and my boots might also get lost in the water. I was foiled in the attempt but I did get to alert
them that my front left paw had a claw sticking out of the boot just enough to get twisted. Kara noticed and a little
work later had me tucked back in better but now it squeezed right on the sore spot. I worked through this as we
climbed an lot of stairs. Led Zeppelin’s song has nothing on this stretch! The nice thing is that it cooled, the hard
thing is Dad tends to miss the small steps as we go up because they are out of line or too small for his size 14 foot.
As such I end up having to wait for him to take a lot of three foot high steps and he gets tired doing this. We did
really well though and as we got to our first overlook and he took a break I was still ready to go. We hit the Avocado
cascades and I was still ready to go. After we that the section of hand and foot scrambles I wanted a break to rest my
paw and besides we had so many stream crossings that my long wet and irritated foot was not the problem, the slippery
bottom of the Ruffware was the issue on hard scrambles. I need a second pair to ensure I can have a dry boot ready to
go at all times!

One thing I guess I have to address is that when Dad puts me in a sit and stay while he climbs up something on hands
and feet, I not only worry for him but I’m eager to race to his side. I don’t tend to worry so much about the route as
just charging straight line to him with my conquer any mountain approach. Dave really observed this and we put me into
a heal with Tracy when it was scramble that I couldn’t lead Dad.

I did lead him the final rounds to the Lake of the Clouds Hut and got those danged boots off my feet gloriously!
People checked in quickly and I got a much needed nap after 8 hours of pretty steady Guide work up the toughest
mountain I’d yet undertaken…well most of the way. Kara had led Dad a bit and she did pretty well. I watched her
learn and was reasonably comfortable though I did still give her a few dirty looks of course.

Dad checked out my paw which was ok and told me I would be staying with Tracy while he did a very short trip for a
couple hours up to the summit of Mt. Monroe. I had a good meal and so was ready for this break if he didn’t need me.
I might not have been happy with anyone other than Tracy but it was good. When I’ve worked that hard I like to make up
for the amount of work with a double dose of sleep and that’s what I did. I slept until Dad returned and then greeted
him properly. I then slept through dinner, team meetings, the cold windy sunset viewing though admittedly that was
worth a bit of my attention and ultimately I even slept through the fireworks of an entire state far beneath us and
over the wide landscape. I even slept through the night which Dad hasn’t done for a bit too long now. I’m sure my
sleeping bag helped as I was snug and comfy warm up at the Lake of the Clouds.

The next morning I put on 2 hours and 45 minutes of near perfect work up terrain like we’ve never seen. It was rock
strewn wasteland for all of it. We were above the tree line and seemingly above everything as I just kept showing Dad
the deep crevices, the loose rocks, the right steps, the knee breaking rocks in narrow passes. All the while doing
some of my best work. All with boots on my back paws but none on my front because that was better than pressure on the
hurt claw that didn’t touch the ground anyhow. When we hit the summit to a gravel path I was ready to race everyone to
the pin I had so much energy from the spirit in the entire group. It was pretty amazing. I know Bill Irwin and his
Guide Orient did this journey though not up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail. Still I had done something incredible and we
were atop the highest peak in all of New England. Home of the worst weather wasn’t so bad on this day but the terrain
was every bit as challenging as promised and I was ready for more!

That’s my abridged trip report. You want more detail? Watch for my blog post on the 2020 site. You got my excitement
first though and I’m one happy and talented pup!

Mighty Quinn
PS – Paw and claw are just fine!

4 Comments

  1. Paula Ravaioli says:

    I AM TRULY AMAZED – CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TWO OF YOU – just an amazing accomplishment.

  2. Beth says:

    Hi -I found your blog on a list of blind bloggers. I am blind, too, and keep a blog about what I call “the adventures of a woman and her Seeing Eye dog.” Bgut yikes, my adventures are nowhere near as exciting as yours!
    http://www.bethfinke.wordpress.com

    Good luck on all future pursuits —

  3. @KSL says:

    Lola and I would love to join you sometime. Do you have favorite, though maybe a little less intense, trails that you can share with us dog-people. Are there any groups that work with children and their guides in New Hampshire?

  4. […] “Saturday July 3 was my relax day and so we only took a ride out to the trailhead for Rippley Falls where I had to Guide dad up a stretch of narrow ledge to a river gorge with a very tough descent. There he tossed on his new TevaItunda Water shoes and waded into the stream without me. I looked on disapprovingly as he appreciated the work of hiking with his pack full and testing the weight. It was over 40 pounds and probably closer to 50 but we’d worked pretty well up through the trail. Even I will admit it was pleasant enough for 100 foot water hurling itself down the mountainside at unsuspecting dogs!” Read the full post it’s amazing! […]

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