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

On the Fourth Day he Rested?

Justin was the first one up on this morning which is really surprising since he was the least morning person in the
group. My fate had been determined by the caring group and Dad who had decided I was going to get a day of rest at
Gale Head Hut. A large group would make their way up Garfield and back while Dad, Aimee and Courtney remained with me
and took a needed break. They were concerned about my chafe but mostly my leg. As you can see in yesterday’s snow
video, I wasn’t limping while working but by the end of the day my paw was sore even with the boot protector.

Back to Justin though. The night before we had raced just ahead of a potential thunderstorm and late night folks
watched through a bank of windows as the storm crackled in the valley below us. Justin, however, was up early and
sitting on the outside porch relishing in the beauty of an early morning. He said moments like that can make a trip in
and of themselves. Dad and I were the next to rise and Dad took me out for breakfast on his own since without a bear
hang being necessary he could tend my food on his own. He then brought me to the ledge, or rather I brought him, where
Brent had shown us to relieve me the night before. Even with my stiff leg a bit gimpy I could still lead him just fine
and we got to appreciate a little of the moment which had captivated the earlier riser. The only damper for me was the
weedwhacking sound of a wind gauge that was there as part of the Gale Head weather observatory. It sure seems like
that might be better placed a little away from the hut but I guess preserve more wilderness by keeping the cabin and
other man-made aspects all together.

I went straight back to nap mode while Dad had breakfast with everyone else. They were packing very light day packs
and fanny packs for which Dad even donated his brain (the pack version folks!) to T.J. to help out. With light loads
they hoped to make much better time and would be back by 3 so that a Gale Head Summit would be possible if folks were
inspired.

The Hut Caretaker headed out to give a talk at another hut some distance away and she told us a temporary replacement
would be in for the night. She might, however, catch us on the trail the next day when she returned. She’d been gone
about an hour when the alarm of all alarms began to ring in the Hut. A quick check for fire as we all made an exit and
we were sure nothing of risk was in process. From the outside front we evaluated and ultimately decided to explore
cautiously within to see if we could determine what was happening. Dad had cell signal from Loon Mountain (barely and
inconsistent mind you) and so he began calling to get AMC folks to ask what to do. It was comical when they assumed he
was the caretaker and gave him instructions only to explain he was just a lodger. They gave him more instructions and
as he relayed the visual details to the sighted the person suggested he should just do it. There was a long silence
when Dad explained about his blindness. Can you imagine being a Hut Supervisor trying to evaluate the risk to the hut
knowing they have sensitive sensors that need to be reset but discovering you wereh ousing a blind man up on a tough
mountain trail? Reset worked and there were no more incidents but it gave an hour of distraction as well as giving me
the option to quickly tweet an update to the world.

I was, however, on mandatory R&R which I didn’t mind. I kept some tabs on Dad but I stayed laying down and he didn’t
work me except for water and relieve times. Dad had some bonding conversations about life that comes from the sharing
the three of them had done on the hike. They talked about my impact, concerns and likely plans for what would come
next as a result of this day. This day instead of going over Garfield and to the tent site up there which was the
original plan, the trip was being cut off and we would likely make our way down the Gayle River trail and ultimately
emerge early Saturday in the Twin Mountain area without doing Liberty Springs and the Franconia Ridge. I think Dad was
feeling guilty about the impact of our presence on the group. There was certainly a big benefit for the course and for
us to have learned a lot of the things we learned in the first few days. There was also some impact to the trip in not
getting them (or us) the full Pemigewasset loop. The question is what was the ratio of benefit to detriment
andultimately that’s something the class would have to determine individually. Nobody begrudged me or us for the
decision though there was impact for certain. I think the effective reason for Dad’s concern was two factors. Firstly
he knew that if he had put my boots on sooner the biggest part of our challenge would have been eliminated. He
verified that throughout the day with thorough examinations of my legs to determine that the only thing really wrong
for me was that very sore pad that I didn’t like pressing into the ground when I didn’t have to do such. Aimee’s bug
repellent had also made the difference but that too should likely have come sooner too and will on all future hikes.
The second factor was just how rough Dad was on the second day when we travelled up Bondcliff. That was abnormally
challenging for him and while he pushed on fairly well, the fact is it did slow his already slow pace. His prior and
subsequent days were probably more of an indication but that particular day had set back expectations and added to the
exhaustion of the entire group. Whether we would have managed the time schedule up Garfield or not is unclear but
given the earlier terrain the answer is probably yes, just with equal slowness and extended weariness for all involved.
There were many worthwhile aspects to be had out there afterwards and those were gone but there was still a quality day
of travel out the Gayle River trail. Gale Head Hut is nestled up around 3600 feet so there was plenty of climb down
still ahead.

I took the rest and when the full group returned we did many of the activities previously skipped due to the late
nights and long travel of prior days. We had a history lesson from Sherpa on how the White Mountains went from “Savage
Lands” to the vacation resort of the Grand Hotel era. A Painter was the primary influence believe it or not and we all
painted a symbolic impressionistic bit of canvas while he spoke. Dad’s was…’interesting’ and perhaps Aimee will give
it back so we can take a picture and put it up here for explanation someday. It was perhaps most influenced by the
full tale of Guy Watterman and that sadness is for the researchers amongst you. Me – I rested and felt stronger and
better steadily. I still got my increased rations even without the work and I didn’t mind one bit.

Our second stay for my benefit was sponsored by Sherpa who applied some UNH funds from a speaker to help supplement
the cost. Dad agreed to cover the smaller remaining share as thanks for everyone putting me first in their thoughts.
Brent of course did pay for it with us needing to tend that reimbursement after the trip. We could have set out a bit
and found a Bivy site but the rest was higher quality at the hut and off-season prices (by one day) made it worthwhile.

We headed to bed early and I slept fantastically while Dad listened to a book on the 48 by Steve Smith of the Mountain
Wanderrer. It described the following day’s trail in detail and Dad got a second night of quality sleep which would
prepare us for the morrow’s push. I probably could have gone on and been fine but this was the safer choice for me and
now we were sure I could get myself out and probably Guide Dad…as you’ll learn in tomorrow’s tale!

Mighty Q!

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 …

The Hardest Day for Dad – My Second Most Impressive Performance…

Most of us woke at 5 a.m. with Dad giving the wake-up call. Unfortunately he hadn’t slept so much because it was very
warm inside his sleeping bag and he lacked my fur coat bug protection allowing me to sleep atop my own sleeping bag.
Over-heat or chewed by bugs, Dad chose the mostly over-heating non-sleeping option. Earlier in the morning I heard him
reflecting that the day prior had been the five year anniversary of Ostend passing away unexpectedly and I think he was
fighting a bit of melancholy so here’s a link to Ostend for all of you:
http://www.patriotzip.com/ostend.htm

Brent was the first up and immediately got going which is something the rest of us would learn to do in the future. As
such he was able to help Dad and others get things going to be more effective. Bear hangs gatherred we met at the cook
site and had a jovial albeit sleepy breakfast. Camp was fully broken, water loaded and by 8:15 we were on the trail
which was a little later than ideal. I had my first larger than normal breakfast as Dad upped my food shares for the
trip since we were going to burn so many more calories than normal. He also told me I would get water early and often
in this hot weather.

Things started off well enough with us making decent time for the speed of Dad. The trail was more narrow and began to
slowly rise up as we approached one of the 4K peaks: Bondcliff. The spot was working fine so folks could track us at
home. One common mistake during early and inexperienced hikes is to take breaks which last too long. We fell into
this trap as breaks got too close to 20 minutes too long. The heat was swelterring and Dad was soaked and tired sooner
than preferable. He was also doggedly determined (!) and continued to work. We did encounter a few blowdowns which
called for the saw to make the path manageable and those were just bonus breaks for those not on trail clean-up duty.

We encounterred several small stream crossings which were handled by Brent who really wanted to be sure of Dad’s safety
on the rock stepping version of these. I was asked to sit and stay and looked on disapprovingly as Dad was put into
the trust of others. I admit rock hopping isn’t quite Guide range work but I still have my union contract for Dad
worrying! Fortunately I have to admit Brent has high levels of experience in this industry for a reason and he
developed a working and safe system. So much so he even let Justin take a turn at one point after we had started some
of the more steep sections. Justin actually had a tougher crossing but handled it very well and Dad was soon safe on
the other side calling me to hurl myself through the stream to get to my post at his side.

Now most of you know Dad isn’t just a blind man, he has some damage to his cerabellum which causes a near constant
Vertigo he’s learned to manage. The Nystagmus in his eyes is sort of scary at times and you can always get a good read
for how much it’s impacting him by those eyes. So when a rock eventually and unsurprisingly tweaked his right ankle
the ginger work made it easy for pack shift to cause him to work even harder. As the trail grew worse I tended my job
with some pretty tremendous devotion if I do say so myself – and I do! He was working too hard and both Brent and I
knew it. Actually I suspect the whole class knew it because when you hike with a slow guy you all get to hike slow
typically. They were tremendously supportive and positive and to his credit Dad just kept working away. The Camel bag
was his lifeblood as he took sips of water near constantly to power him through the effort. Brent even suggested a
little redistribution of the pack contents to some others and Dad resisted the notion as we approached the heavy run of
‘stairs’ which transition to the higher points of Bondcliff. Dad set upon them with my guidance and an amazingly
supportive group of also hard working companions.

Surprisingly we passed a few groups coming down from the summit and folks said it was fun to see their surprise when
they realized the job I was doing on the hike! Some of that is they knew full well the challenge of this route and
while it’s not unmanageable, it is a lot of work and moreso given the heat, humidity, bug assault and pack weights.
Speaking of Bug Assault I was fighting the buggers away from my ears and lips near constantly. Amy had a great natural
solution later for me but Dad better finish his research into the best protective alternative for me in the future.
Matt says “Pet Guard” is a gel we might want to consider and I’m in favor of any solution. Now I won’t complain too
much as poor Courtney had 93 bites just on one side of her neck and we have the pictures to prove it (shudder)! She
didn’t complain about it either and I have to say she is one of my many heroes on this trip.

At the top of the staircase we loaded up on water for the last time until Geyot Shelter which means summit Bondcliff,
cross the saddle and summit Bond and then drop down to the shelter. We were behind schedule in part due to Dad’s slow
pace and in part due to our overly long breaks. Dad’s exhaustion wasn’t helping and he really was pushing through a
physical and mental wall in driving himself forward. I’d be proud of him and in fact am but I think he already knows
it was a quality accomplishment. He’s done harder hikes and pushed harder at things before but given the collaboration
of challenges at this point, he said it was his hardest day though not yet his hardest moments on the day.

The trail got narrow and that’s where my small size and low maneuverability helped me Guide Dad with as much speed and
accuracy as possible for the conditions. When we hit a blow down that needed clearing Dad dropped to the ground and
took a hard rest until it was clear. At this point Brent made a right call which Dad didn’t like but which he also
wisely accepted as necessary. The group redistributed much of Dad’s pack weight to make it easier going for him. I’ll
thank the whole lot who loaded up on bits and pieces to make it work and kudos to Dad for accepting it. The best props
go to Brent for his style which lets people push when appropriate, grow and learn when appropriate but ultimately makes
the right mandatory decision for the group when that is required. That’s a hiking leader’s role.

The rest of the journey to the “Hillary Step” was definitely hard still but we had a mndset of pulling together and
making it happen. We fully understood the reality of the challenge and were pushing on with more purpose. They roped
Dad for the climbing of the short Hillary step and while perhaps over-kill it was in part a test of what might be
necessary. It was handled and we shot up from there to the top of Bond cliff for much celebration. It was 3:15
already (or so) and that means I got dinner while they all got lunch. We took pictures, shot video and celebrated the
amazing views all around us. The views were easily worth the work as the 360 degree panorama was amazing on this
cloudless day. Special thanks to Sarah who gave Dad a scenic tour while Kyle did some film work and
I…well…honestly…slept a much needed and very restful sleep in the first shade of the afternoon!

This time on the top rejuvinated us tremendously. Strength of spirit counts for a lot and I think everyone had their
spirits touched by the accomplishment, the view and a wind finally strong enough to thwart those steroidal Bondcliff
Bugs which seemed immune to all winds below 20 mph!

I followed Brent into the descent of one long Saddle between the two peaks. We were now headed down and over before a
rise up to Mt. Bond. I was making great time, we were all enthusiastic and the below video again shot by Kyle on the
Teva Flip Cam highlights some of the way we work through this tough terrain. It’s a longer video but has some great
scenes and you can tell the wind was pretty impressive here as well:

It seemed sort of storybook here and Dad later recounted this as one of his favorite times on the entire hike. He’d
gotten past his wall and while he was still working doggedly (t.m.!) the reward of the first climb and the pride of
accomplishment were able to drive him onward. His pride in my work was pretty spectacular and all agreed at this point
that my ability was pretty essential to the success. That’s why it is sort of sad Dad missed the opportunity to note
the rocks which had dominated our travel for some time. He was packing my Ruff-wear boots which could have saved me a
little discomfort. My bads and nails are strong but a mountain is simply stronger. It was probably on this saddle
somewhere that I cut the pad of my back right leg and broke a nail on my front paw which cut to the Quick and bled a
very little bit. I was too intent on my work and so didn’t let it be obvious but the timing really suggests to them
this is where it took place.

Roughly half way through the up portion of the saddle it was some terrain that I really couldn’t fully guide Dad.
Brent took over the Guiding and much to his dismay Dad cracked his knee pretty good. at least he made enough noise
about the boulder and knee connection that it seemed pretty good. It’s the only real sore spot remaining from the trip
but ultimately just a good solid bruise. They treckked on through the challenging areas with Aimee and Sarah each
getting a solid shift of leading Dad. Everyone was working hard and a couple of folks took packs to the top and came
back to retrieve a few packs from others. This was the group helping each other to ensure everyone could reach the
summit because due to the pace and a choice of weight reasons to not have filled the last camel pack (105 ounces) at
the last fill point; the group was unreasonably low on water. We made the Summit of Bond in considerable exhaustion
and it was very late. I took over the work and led Dad towards the Geyot shelter with Brent while others went ahead
and got the Shelter ready as well as refilling water. There was lower celebration on the summit and as an amazing full
moon rose to light the night, we headed down the often snowy trail from Bond. It was just under 1 mile and we made
reasonably good time again with me back leading Dad. Everyone donned headlamps, except Dad, and Jenny marvelled that
effectively for Dad nothing had changed. We were all wiped and mentally I was pretty tapped as we neared a 15 hour
total hike time this day. Nature gave us a pretty incredible boost along this route for standing in the snowy trail
with a bright full moon we also had the pleasure of seeing South Twin glowing pink and we all paused to share the
spectacle with Dad. The Sun had set for all of us but was still refracting atop South Twin to make this impressive
view! THere’s something to be said that so incredibly tired and tapped we could appreciate such a moment in such a
remote location. Not long after this Kyle and Sherpa arrived with fresh water bottles to the rescue and we all drank
deeply, me included!

When we hit the offshoot trail for the Shelter it was steep, very challenging and the light was even a little too low
for me. Sherpa tried to let me use his head lamp but ultimately we just let him lead the final stages. Dad was in
plod mode which didn’t help and I don’t prefer to lead him when he’s not mentally sharp enough to be fully attentive.
I followed along and at the Shelter I immediately went to lay on my sleeping bag and pass out for the night. It was
the soundest sleep I ever had. I don’t think I heard anyone running their stoves, eating their MRE and other meals or
talking about the plans for Wednesday. I am after all Adventure Dawg and would be ready but I needed sleep. Dad came
to bed after midnight and he got the most sleep of the trip until this point. A deep exhausted sleep complete with
cramps on all his stablizer muscles for which Brent, sherpa and Aimee ensured he drank a bottle of water with a Gator
Aid supplement added. What a day! What an accomplishment! We were only 1/3 of the way through our journey.

Tune in tomorrow for more!

Turning Back time to Recreate Our Adventures

I brought Dad back safely from the Pemigewasset Wilderness though it wasn’t always easy. In order to recreate some of
the marvel of our journey I’m going to turn back time and write an entry every day for the next six days to recreate
what we did during our trip. While there are many pictures, sound files and videos which you can go check out
steadily; I’m going to take this day by day to keep the posts shorter. For those of you eager to see a bit more, check
out our spot adventure at:
http://bit.ly/c5v8Hw
(please understand it’s still in some state of development and that this was just a test run)

Monday we arrived at UNH after a night at the Sherpa estate which is also home to “Buttercup’ who is not a Princess
Bride so much as a kitty with an exceedingly shy nature. Neither Dad nor I had slept too long and we were tired but
the excitement of the trip carried the day. Kyle and Sarah were trip leaders and supplies were being doled out, packs
rechecked and a film crew of Scott and Scott took a few interviews about the experience ahead.

Matt showed up with the 15 Passenger van and we all loaded up and headed to Lincoln Woods and our entry into the
Wilderness. Dad’s pack was too heavy despite several attempts to whittle down a bit. I was of course willing to eat a
few extra rations but this did not occur. We ate our lunch during a briefing meeting and the heat continued to rise
above all expectations. My coat had been one of the items sacrificed but my sleeping bag was there so I knew I could
get warm and dry every night as needed – though I was skeptical that would be necessary at this point.

The group created a flag with each member writing what they hoped to give to the group and what they hoped to get from
the group. This would be carried by various people all through the trip and hung at campsites and summits.

Dad failed in his first attempt to start the Spot and though we took time to quickly pose as a class on the Suspension
Bridge entrance, we had to get to work as we were running just a trifle behind schedule. Dad’s first steps with the
full pack were a little awkward as narrow stairs and a higher center of gravity didn’t suit him but he settled into it
well with the pack resting solidly on his hips rather than his shoulders. The old railroad bed trail is pretty smooth
and I was able to keep Dad at a high rate of speed weaving as necessary around the rocks, over to whichever side of the
bed of rail road ties was necessary for optimum work. It was a five mile hike into the woods and eventually the trail
became more trail like and I really had to show off my skills. It didn’t take long for folks to notice and Brent told
Dad along the way he now realized it would have been a mistake to leave me behind. I was proud though Dad was
evaluating whether Brent said this as motivation or in earnest.

Everyone was strong despite the heavy packs and while some kinks were being worked into the muscle memory of this kind
of hiking, I really felt great and took in all the scents a Wilderness can hold. My tail wagging approach to this kind
of work did not go without notice as my spirits were as high as the rest of the crew.

We reached our camp pretty much on time and after a search found the lightest bugs nearer to the river, we found a
Bivvy site for our tarps, cook location and Dad, Courtney and Sarah began the bear hang search. An empty Nalgene
bottle may get thrown through a tree branch but when hung up it has not enough weight to do the job. All three took
times climbing a bit to perform the rescue and ultimately the Ladies rescued while I supervised and kept Dad out of the
way. Later a group effort would provide the final official bear hangs capable of hanging the nearly 300 pounds of food
for the start of the trip!

I got my food a little late but we had all found comfortable perches around the sounds of the rushing East Branch of
the Pemigewasset River from which the Wilderness receives its name. An enormous glacial boulder had been dropped very
near to our campsite and several folks waded out to have a picture with it. Dad sat close to it on a mossy perch to
fill up all the water bottles and have us ready for the next day’s very hard schedule. Kyle helped Dad and I find a
suitable place for me to relieve and a cathole was produced by Dad even though Brent believes I get a break from the
LNT by virtue of my wild nature.

I was pretty tired so while the group did their debrief and activities until after 11 p.m., I napped pleasantly. By
the time we officially hit the bedrools under the exposed and open tarps, I was delighted to lay on my sleeping bag and
curl up against Brent and his inflatable pad. After all, Brent had confirmed a very positive and clear appreciation
for how valuable I was on this trail so far! Dad was way over-heating and didn’t sleep so well that night. So when he
gave the agreed upon 5 a.m. wake up call we were all a little tired and ready for day two: Bondcliff. That is of
course a post for tomorrow.

You should, however, ask Dad about the fantastic Card he got from Sarah’s activity. Until then I’m still resting and
recoverring. Tomorrow’s post will have the real adventure as our trip became a mountain assault of epic detail!

Mighty Quinn
P.s. Dad will have his Teva blog up very soon as well and that will hold some great video options of me working the
mountain!

Prepping for my Most Challenging Hike to Date…

Sorry to disappoint the Quinn fans out there but I’ve taken control of the keyboard for this particular post. What a
Marvelous May I’ve experienced through this 2010 journey. This is the final post before we head out with the UNH KIN
551 Backpacking course to make our Journey through the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This really is an incredible
opportunity and I’ve already experienced so much yet know full well the majority of the experience is ahead in the next
week or so.. As such I already want to give the highly appreciative thanks to Professor Brent Bell, T.A. Sherpa John
and my entire class: Amy, Courtney, Jenny, Justin, Kyle, Sarah, and T.J. Also a quick thanks to the Leadership
contributions of partial T.A. Becky who has now left us for the greener fields of Graduation. What is this course
about? Brent is an old college friend of mine and when he heard about my renewed interest in hiking now with the
blindness as an aspect of that hiking plan, he became inspired that we might have a chance to benefit each other
significantly. He and Sherpa talked about their KIN 551 class which trains students to not only fully appreciate the
Backpacking world of the NH White Mountain Wilderness but also to become leaders in the Wilderness Awareness and Hiking
world. Including for the class the challenges and problem resolution necessary to manage my joining them on the
Pemigewasset Wilderness Traverse would expand their horizons considerably. Similarly I would get a great educational
boost to my own understanding of the Back Packing and Hiking world with the addition of all this problem solving and
exploration. I’ve already received far more than anticipated and we haven’t hit the hike while I’m hopeful and
optimistic given Brent’s review that we have in fact placed a positive experience into the class as well.

I’m a big believer in Community and I admit entering this that in consideration of the age differences I might not
feel entirely at home within the class of generally considerably younger UNH students. As an excellent testament to
the quality of folks in this class, I never felt that generational distance and I completely felt a part of the
community we are building. The Shakedown weekend certainly strengthened this tremendously and I would suspect the Hike
itself will be a tremendous impact upon our community development. Unsurprisingly we are all learning and growing from
our experiences and exposure with each other. I’m pleased my learning is no less from any of my preconceived
expectations as an older ‘student.’

So the plan has undergone some review and particularly about the involvement of Quinn. As readers here know, we did
evacuate him from the “Shakedown” weekend which was a rainy and cold experience you can read about in a previous post.
This had some concern for how we would manage him in the worst of possible weather experiences which might arrive in
the Pemi trip. That remains a possibility even late in May with the weather in the 80s here in Nashua the last few
days. In fact our trail reports absolutely and clearly talk about the snow in some places and monorail of snow in a
few places as well. The weather report long range looks promising but we understand that has enough variability,
especially within the White Mountains, to not presume anything. Brent donated an old and no longer used sleeping bag
to the cause and Tracy cut it down and sewed it up to make a Quinn sized bag which I’ll be carrying with me. This will
ensure when necessary and certainly at night he has a source of getting warm and dry. We know hiking he’ll be warm
it’s for the times when weather or evening brings us to quiet resting times int he cold for which we must ensure he’s
got his warmth. We also added his Ruffwear dog hiking ‘boots’ to the mix for any times the ground cover is potentially
rough for his paws. These are sized perfectly to him and while likely used infrequently the Vibra soles should give
him protection and traction when necessary.

Another significant concern is the hike frequently puts into the Lincoln Woods Trail with a stream crossing involving
waist deep wading. Quinn doesn’t much like water but as a dog he is an avid swimmer (“I only Dog Paddle” for the
Princess Bride fans out there) and could certainly cross on his own. Still fast streams in the spring can lead to some
dangers and rather than overly involve the class in tricks for crossing him we’ve decided to ensure he crosses on the
bridge regardless of weather the group of us as a whole will wade the icy waters of the Pemigewasset River. We’ll have
some minor stream crossings later into the hike and he’ll have his chance in a safer environ to show off those skills
while we can remain sure of his well being. It is my hope that if the class crosses so will I but all of that can be
addressed when we encounter them.

Quinn can lead me very well in the woods as many have learned and there’s even a video up here:

Now six long days means I will carry a lot of additional weight and responsibility for Quinn food and care. I’m
feeling physically ready for this and similarly confident in his skills. The fact is as we learned on the Welch
Dickie, Osceola and even Pack Monadnock trips, there are occasionally some terrains where I better manage the short
stretch using both hands and feet and thus no Guide Dog. As we handle these situations we will improve our skill at
discerning when this occurs. This consideration gave us pause to evaluate whether Quinn was right for this trip and
honestly it was a serious consideration, even an expectation for a bit, not to bring him. Personally I’m confident in
his safety and his skills even as I acknowledge there is added impact for this approach of which not all is positive.
The net is sufficiently positive to me that I believe in this choice and I think we’ll have a very clear understanding
of the reality by the end of the trip. I will say that when the class discussion led to the solid perspective of the
overall group to bring him, I was very pleased. This isn’t an issue of accessibility rights, this was an issue of
making the right choice for Quinn, me and the entire class. I hope to have very good news on the return about that
very decision. One thing clearly understood is that each person who might have led me or still might in parts will
have a significant challenge with me as we learn communication systems and put our mutual focus to the many challenges
a Wilderness like this can provide without sight.

I also want to give an added thanks to Brent and Sherpa because we put in some extra work for developing systems to
help me manage the worst imagined challenges of downhill drop offs. We have a rappel system which will hopefully give us
just enough extra confidence and safety to alleviate Carrie, the 2020 Hiking Leader, and others realistic concerns
about the hardest parts. I really believe we do not plan to fail, we fail to plan and this will be one assurance of us
choosing to plan fully and test it. Thanks for the extra time!

Sunday I head to Sherpa’s home for a night of final preparation. We arrive at UNH early on Monday and head out as a
group to the Lincoln Woods. We hit the trails and do the Counter-clockwise loop which takes us up a series of trails.
Each day is planned by a different pair (usually two) of students who manage all the details of the day. We know all
our stopping points and have carefully planned out all the challenges from water sources and evacuation routes to trail
hazards, nature nuggets and some activities to help us appreciate the group and the experience more fully. Some time
on the following Saturday we’ll emerge in the Franconia region having likely traversed roughly 40 miles and a host of
peaks which could include as many as 14 of the 4000 footers. It will likely be a few less than that and as evidence
for the challenge recall that last year’s group doing this same trip accomplished zero of the peaks as ferocious
weather had them below tree line constantly and battling to manage warmth and comfort. As a blind guy it’s all about
my footing and this makes me slow so I may impact the overall group speed and thus distances. My hardest challenges
are all the down sides when inability to plan the next steps cause extra cuation. Quinn is a major help in this and
that will be obvious in the video as well as the upcoming reports but it still keeps me slow and we’ll be prepared to
adjust our work as that requires. Fortunately my endurance is decent and we are all eager to experience what we are
fairly certain is the first Guide Dog led traverse of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

So this is a training mission for the 2020 Vision Quest work still ahead as we fully launch our Charity in a very short
time. We are finalizing the details of our Fiscal Sponsorship agreement which will transform us from a NH Non-Profit
(501 organization to a 501-C3 organization which means all donations are an IRS tax Deduction. I”m so very proud of
the team assembled to help make this project real and hopefully valuable to a very significant set of challenges. I
hope you will consider taking a look at our site:
www.2020visionquest.org

So that all said just a moment to recap May. It began with a Teva announcement that we would become the present Teva
Life Agent. This fantastic program will help us manage the fiscal challenges of the 2020 Vision Quest founding as well
as letting us share the attention we can bring to Teva and similarly which they will bring to our project. It’s a step
in letting us reach out to inspire some people and hopefully bring other inspirational messages to the community we
build in the process. It enhances our ability to reach out to the many schools and hopefully educate children not just
with the aspects of my life which come from my Blindness experience, Guide Dog Teamwork and Adversity Inspired
accomplishments but also the most important message of all which is that through believing in the Ability we all have
to establish goals, Identify the challenges for those goals and set about problem resolution, we all likely hold the
keys to accomplishing so much more than we might believe if we view the world as too daunting to sufficiently challenge
ourselves at reaching the dreams we might otherwise create. It’s a “Can Do” message with which I eagerly hope to
challenge many people and especially the students within my reach. I certainly benefit from a constant stream of
inspirations as I’ve learned well how to see the inspiration in so many people and experiences. I know there’s some
hard times ahead and I am also fully aware of the euphoric impact of setting upon the path of a journey I want in my
life.

I do not suggest to anyone that hiking or Martial Arts or any of a number of my pursuits are right for them. I suggest
that people should find interests which are healthy and right for them and pursue the means to reach those interests
and the many goals they can set with an active and determined mind. I do believe there are many folks for whom my
various interests may be of interest and I hope that may rekindle some passion for such. In the meanwhile I continue
to do what I do because I love the rich experiences in my life. I continue to find ways to share it going forward on
the premise that if it helps reach or inspire anyone I’ve done something even more meaningful to me!

So that was just as May began and on the first day itself I climbed Welch Dickie and made one of the largest decisions
of my life in proposing to Tracy. I have no hesitation in this choice and without question it is the best part of the
May experience. Thank you Tracy and I love you!

Engagement news aside, I still remain exceedingly grateful and proud of the Second Degree Black Belt and the community
of Martial Artists who helped me achieve it in a journey of growth and development. There is also certainly the great
news at the results of a victory against the discrimination which had prevented Quinn and I from normal restaurant
interaction even though I’ve been refused two other times in the last three months as well. Still I live in a world
which has far more open doors and enhanced education/awareness to all things. I’ve got a strong showing of friends in
diverse interests all very supportive of my life and love for that life. I’ve got a marvelous Guide Dog who is taking
me on steps not managed by other Guides and all because he loves me and loves our experiences of adventure. We
jokingly call him Adventure Dawg as a result of his approach to our shared lives. I know this that with him I feel
independent and free to take on these challenges and harness the full pride of accomplishment. When I get help from
others I’m always tremendously appreciative for their support though admittedly it never carries the same feeling of
independence, confidence and elation. Whether that is sensible or not, it is my present reality and as this is really
his blog it’s no surprise I end with praise for the Mighty One. As the video from above says: “I have a ridiculous
Guide Dog.”

Thank you Quinn and to all out there reading this, Be well!

Randy
& the Mighty Quinn
www.zipdogblog.com

Litiginous Quinn

I had the ultimately good fortune to spend four hours up in Concord with both Dad and Tracy this week. We were there
being represented by James Fox of the Disability Rights Center. As some of you may know the NH Department of Human
Services had given probably cause and was hosting a concillatory pre-hearing for the issue of the Grand Buffett denying
me access to their restaurant on July 5, 2007. They had suggested on that swelterring hot day that Dad simply put me
in the car – fortunately Dad knows better though sadly dogs are left in cars in hot weather way too often still :(

Anyhow Dad had requested that the Grand Buffett should pay for training to ensure their employees and establishment
fully understood the laws involved and could hopefully thereby prevent such discrimination ever again. This is done
typically by Kathy Gips:
http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/neada/site/staff_kathy

The host had claimed he had health services approval to not allow Service Animals and would not acknowledge the A.D.A.
which federally mandates my access. He would not take any actin to acknowledge the laws on the card Dad carries nor to
call any of the agencies involved. Instead after much pressure and acknowledging Dad would still file a report, the
Grand Buffett ‘allowed’ us to sit n the bar and have others get food from the other room. This was at the time a
smoking bar which didn’t please Grammy but we wanted proof of our presence and so ate there despite the entire
unpleasant aspect of the experience.

Having declined Dad’s request in advance all of us sat in a conference room in Concord to prepare for the reality of a
hearing. Given their stance Dad increased his request at the hearing to include a $1000.00 donation to NHAB as a Good
Faith demonstration they understand the challenge faced by the blind community with such access violations. Had it
gone to a hearing there would have been the option for up to $10,000.00 in a fine, $10,000 in award to Dad for “Pain
and SUfferring” from the experience and of course the standard “Cease and Desist” for the discrimination as well as
Educational training. The great news is that the owner acknowledged the impropriety of the employee who no longer
works there, agreed to all the concillatory terms and will have a plan for follow up with the state to ensure all the
things happen within a timeline set on that date. It was a great victory!

Clouding that victory is the recollection that in our Avenue Q trip we did get denied service by a taxi until Dad
determinedly explained the law and the risk to the driver’s license should he fail to accept us. Similarly in our
weekend trip to Colebrook, Tracy and Dad were turned down from the Mohawk Cottages because the woman managing claimed
to not know the law and not want us there either way. When pressed she cited allergy concerns while holding her long
haired cat who I was appropriately ignoring. We will follow up there later but didn’t push that evening as we had a
priority schedule that didn’t need the challenge that night.

Last Friday, May 7, Dad and I took his Second Degree Black Belt test together. My part was to lay on his sparring gear
and food/water supplies while he worked hard on the floor with the other folks testing for various Black Belts, mostly
first degree. When it came time for the run it was my time to shine as Dad put me in harness and let me lead him on
the run. When he took his first degree he used a person to guide him as Ostend and he hadn’t developed the running
option which I can do with Dad. We were awesome and flawless along the route and gave support as well as received
support from our community of Belt Candidates. I admit that sitting in the field in the shade while Dad worked was the
easier part but folks were absolutely amazed at my Discipline. If only Dad would have let me run water out to him. He
did at least make sure I got mine and my relieve! Do check out our various pages and if you get to youtube you can
even see Dad’s Board Break which wasn’t so bad!

I did get my first trip to Dad’s second hometown of Colebrook, NH. We went up to celebrate the Birthday of one Tracy
“Mom” GOyette as adverised on my Twitter account. Beaver Brook Falls was still beautiful, the Balsams, Table Rock and
all of Dixville notch were nice but it was snowing our entire trip and on May 9 that’s just strange. We did get to
meet Gail Nugent, Scott her son and many other folk on our journey north. I even got to see the farm where Dad spent
some key growing up years. It was a relaxing trip if a bit boring since the high winds and snow kept us from making
the hike up there. A return trip will be required.
Speaking of hikes, while I don’t usually like boots, there are some mountains which require it and here’s some quality
boots (Thanks Sabrina!) and other fun dog hiking
options:
http://www.ruffwear.com/

They have a lot of cool things on their site including this pup friendly hiking map for the Northeast:
http://dogblog.ruffwear.net/2010/05/04/dog-friendly-trails-interactive-map/

Last quick note is that we did an interview with Tracy Caruso of WZID (Manchester) and it will air tomorrow (Sunday)
Morning. Check us out as we announce Beatle-Juice for next Friday. In fact, why not call NHAB or the Palace theater
and come out and join us for this great Beatles band which also is raising money for NHAB.

Oh…really the last thing, if you are thinking about that last notion of raising money for NHAB, the June 5 Blind
Awareness Walk is rapidly approaching and I definitely need more people on my team and sponsorring us. Please check
out our link if you can/want to help!
http://nhab10walk.kintera.org/quinn

Wuff!
Mighty Quinn

Springing into the Hiking Season!

Things are pretty active around the homestead here and I’m going to catch you up on a multi-day tour that was pretty
impressive. So Saturday before last we loaded into the car and headed otu to Pack Monadnock to shoot some pictures and
video. Unfortunately there was an accident on route 101 and we high-tailed it back to Mine’s Falls park to do the
work. Dad’s GPS system for the blind was a bit spotty because sadly the company has announced their intent to
terminate the product which will eventually impact service fully as Wayfinder Access fails him. I guess we better
start looking seriously for a workable blind accessible GPS solution soon.

Sunday we hosted a BBQ at the house and invited the folks working the 2020 Vision Quest project to just enjoy some
social time. I got to play considerable with Zach and Bella in the tennis ball arena while mostly just enjoying the
folks sitting out and soaking up the spring. It was a good segue for our being announced on Monday as the newest Teva
Life agent and they certainly did some homework in their press release which has a lot of interesting links and details
about both Dad, *ME* and the 2020 Vision Quest:
http://www.pitchengine.com/free-release.php?id=60140

Ultimately though I hope you all get to the Teva page to see our acceptance video and many other details as we get
ready to start sharing our blogs, podcasts, video and more with them out there!

So Tuesday we launched our new web page thanks to some great work by some good friends and we really would love to have
some feedback so how about taking a peek at Phase 1 now released:
www.2020visionquest.org
We are still awaiting some contractual work with NHAB to hopefully finalize the 501-C-3 status which will really
make us fully launch though in the meanwhile there’s some good things going on up there and we could use feedback to
help us shape our plans for the future even further.

Wednesday Dad had his second degree Black Belt pretest. He worked hard and was pretty satisfied. It’s now completely
official that this Friday he’ll be heading into his all day test with me. He already told me I get to lead him on the
run durin gthe test and I’m ready for that for sure.

Thursday morning we did our usual trek into downtown for Karate and Dad stayed for some MMA wrestling work in which he
didn’t fare as well as he’d prefer. Iw atch with concern but keep to my stay in the sunny corner of the Dojo which is
my home.

Friday was a visit from the ladies as John brought up the rarely seen Kira and Lady for some quality play time. We
made a couple of walk routes but nothing extreme. I will say it’s very tempting to relieve when other dogs are doing
this on the walk. Sure Dad and John are bag carrying members of the good citizenship dog walkers but I still know it’
snot the right thing in harness – sigh.

Saturday we were up and out early with me loaded into the back of Tracy’s Orange View and Jenifer riding with us. We
were off to the Welch Dickie Mountains up in Thornton, NH. Packs were loaded with water, food and gear for our journey
and I was pretty excited. We did test out our spot adventures and if you wish to see the Google topo-map journey drop
me a comment or an email and I’ll send you the lik as I’ve loaded up this post with links already. This is a great
loop and it has all sorts of terrain from stream crossings, steep slab scrambles, canyon crawls, steps and oh those
beautiful ledges. We took plenty of pictures and you can probably check them out on our various pages. We even shot a
little video but the highlight of the day if not my super leap over a canyon and onto a slab had to be Dad’s podcast
atop Mt. Welch. The sun parted as he began and while perched precariously for some atop an edge, Dad asked Tracy to
marry him. She said yes emphatically and did not push him off the ledge! It was exciting enough I let slide the lack
of tug-o-war for the summit and made up for it when we crested Dickie’s summit later. Down is always the hardest for
Dad and I generally will show him when it is a step he can manage normally. I stop at the edge and wait for his hiking
pole to tap it then I jump down on the hup-up if it’s easy. If I hestitate or whine he has to sit and step slowly for
the proper management of the next steps. What’s next is always a factor for him since while his pole or hands can
tell him much about the next step, he always has to plan that a step keeps him balanced over tht next step only because
what comes after could be many things for him and there’s no margin for error stepping forward – only back. Now I had
to keep him extra safe for Tracy as well since I absolutely want to be the ring bearer again as I was for Chris and
Kat.

It was an amazing hike and I wagged my tail so hard the entire time that the winds on Mt. Washington elevated to 95
this week. I was amazingly attentive to Dad and most on the hike will never look at my work quite the same – much as
predicted previously. Does this earn me my way into the Pemi trip? No way – that is decided on the merits of the Pemi
trip on their own with Dad’s safety, my safety and the trip success with minimal variables as essential parts of the
equation. I’m thinking it likely I’m out for that trip which means Dad will certainly have a much harder time being
led even though the humans may not think so. It means Dad will have a bit less feeling of independence and it
absolutely means his pace is slower for much of it. I think he’ll take a few more knocks overall but I’m willing to
accept it might be the right decision for overall reasons. I don’t like it and I want to always be tending his care as
was also evident on this last hike but I’ll accept Dad’s decisions. At least if I stay at home there is a guarantee of
being warm and dry most of the time.

Exciting times with much more still ahead as the tale and tail wags on!

Mighty Quinn

http://tevalifeagents.com/2010/04/26/944/

Teva News!

Hey all,

I will certainly write more extensively tomorrow but for now here’s some pretty fine news!

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Teva Life Agent good fortune all around!

Quinn
and the Fortunate Blind Guy

Modi Memorial and Shakedown and Out for the Mighty Quinn

I’m a dry and well rested Quinn eager for a little activity as today looks to be better weather finally. It’s Patriot
Day which always lifts Dad’s spirits a bit but it’s also the 10 year anniversary of his saying Farewell to Modi. On
April 19 in 2000, Dad said goodbye to his then primary pal and he’s got a web page with some details here:
http://www.patriotzip.com/Zipshome/Modi/modi.htm

and also a bit on the Ostend page at:
http://www….patriotzip.com/ostend.htm

Dad returned last night a little weary and one of the uplifting details we got to share with him was that the Modi
Lilac bush was in full greenery after the weekend of rain.

So let’s talk about this weekend of rain thing. Firstly it was the UNH shakedown weekend which meant we were going to
test our Wilderness preparedness for the Pemi traverse. All gear loaded and packed Dad and I headed out at 10:00 a.m.
with the infamous Sherpa John:
http://www.sherpajohn.blogspot.com/

He is likely to have photographs and possibly a story at some point but in the meanwhile, he’s got an interesting read
and his kindness in picking us up was only a small sign of his quality. He was pretty marvelous during the coursework
and this weekend…the part of it to which I can attest.

At noon, we had a gathering point at NH Hall in Durham where the class picked up final supplies and made the car pool
expedition out to Mendum’s Pond:
http://campusrec.unh.edu/index.cfm?id=85080655-ABC8-6866-55F698305C9557DE

I was pretty eager for adventure but rain falling on us steadily wasn’t my ideal. At Jen’s behest Dad had opted to
bring my “Dover Coat” which has water resistant nylon outer shell and a quick drying synthetic inner fleece. She was
awesome for the suggestion but as we’ll learn this would not be enough. I was glad to see all the folks from the class
and I have some favorites who seem particularly dog oriented to me like Kyle and Amy. Dad’s explained to me this is
part of the UNH KIN 551 coursework of which we are now an integral part. So we stood in the rain for roughly an hour
as we all got our things together and they did some briefing and teamwork things like the Sherpa pipe-cleaner beads. I
like this notion though I’m sad I didn’t get one, Dad told me I deserved all his beads several times over though so
that’s a little bit of a bonus. Basically everyone had ten beads and every time someone else did something
particularly noteworthy a bead was given to show appreciation. It was an interesting interactive dynamic but the
weather definitely got the better of it to some extent. It was raining but not too cold and before long we took a hike
with part of it on the trail and then an off trail hike to a ridge line where more standing around and conversing took
place. There’s no doubt I liked the walking and was proud of handling Dad through those woods. There’s similarly no
doubt I don’t like standing around in the rain and soon I was pretty well soaked despite the coat. We had a
presentation on LNT which is an essential first step in the process. Every student had worked on an educational
portion of our learning and Leave no Trace is an important part. The presentation was fine enough but still…sitting
or lying in the rain getting more and more wet is not a Quinn ideal. Learning Dad would have to dig a ‘cat hole’ for
me to relieve wasn’t thrilling either but that’s the reality in the camping world. Armed with this information the
group picked locations for camping, cooking and bear hangs. Normally a quick enough process the novice approach meant
a little time wanderring with less than ideal results. They got better but not this night.

I then stayed to the side while the group erected a pair of tarp ‘tents which would be our sleeping quarters for the
night. There was a lot of uncertainty and knot practice through this process and even the untrained camping eye of the
Mighty Quinn knew we were in a little bit of trouble. Guide Lines couldn’t readily reach the best support and the
ridge line was level and not tight enough. This would be a problem later. Some attempts to fix and then an acceptance
of the work took place but it was a longer than needed process…all with us steadily in the rain. The good news is my
dinner did get worked into this during the Bear Hang presentation. We had to wander a good distance away for me to eat
and relieve but I was happy enough and the mission was accomplished with some help for Dad as usual. Content with
Dinner I was a little rejuvinated before we sat around for the cooking and eating of everyone else, some slight tent
adjustment and then more courses and team building. The temperature also began to drop and while it didn’t snow on us
there was snow mixed into it outside of the trees. Brrrrr. When Quinn’s dry themselves they like to curl up, turn on
the heat engine and fluff the fur. This leads to warming and drying…unless we are still in the rain. So my coat
helped a little on core dryness but it also inhibits bur fluffing and drying. I was not at my best though I did curl
up with Courtney and that helped. We were all sitting under the cook tarp for this and that helped a little but the
ground was still wet and I was still unhappy. By 10 p.m. when we headed to bed and I found the true state of our tent
I was concerned. Dad had a sleeping pad which he mostly shared with me but the ridge line dripped water steadily on
all of us but in the middle particularly. One end higher helps alleviate this to drip outside the tent and more
tautness helps all of it. The fact it was so low it hit me at a stand also meant ever stand let contact water seep
onto me and everything near me…yuk!

Dad tried fleece pants for a base for me and his super water’proof’ coat over me. Wet from below and above was too
much and I even tried to share the mummy bag with some success at making myself a bit better but still mostly
miserable. It was a long night and neither Dad nor I slept as we tried to fight off the cold for me. He promised me
that by morning he’d have a solution but it was an unpleasant night which was true pretty much for everyone in both
tarp tents.

Early the next morning, Dad solo handled my trip for my relieve and then shortly afterwards we met Courtney out and
about. She helped us find a spot for Dad to tend his business and then very late we got to my breakfast because all my
food was subject to the bear hang principles as well. Sure I don’t want bears in our tents but I don’t like breakfast
so late either and I didn’t want to drink much water when already cold and wet but Dad says that was part of my problem
since I was burning water in trying to warm up. Still raining we packed up minimally and made a trek to a Pavillion
where dryness was found for the first time. It wasn’t warm but it was better and my shaking subsided as the group
talked about how to handle me. Everything from suggestions like warm water for me, better tent fixings and of course my
going home. Dad had undertaken side discussions with Tracy by text and Sherpa and Becky as the TA leaders.
Ultimately it was clear that to ensure my best safety and comfort Dad needed to get me home. The new question though
was would Dad stay behind. There was a lot more involved in that than may seem obvious and it would have a significant
impact on all aspects of the class as a result of whatever decision was made. To some extent this is all beyond my dog
responsibilities but I did understand when Dad decided he would stay. Everyone was pretty cold, wet, tired and
miserable that morning and probably many folks might have liked the easy out to return to comfort. Dad stayed and he
says it made a tremendous difference in his own experiences as well as those of the group. I missed him but I really
needed warmth and dryness. Tracy took good care of me and I only moped at the door a little…after warming up fully
in my own doggy beds. I got some good play which I needed and ultimately had some time to reflect. When Dad came home
on Sunday I was elated to see him even in his wet and dirty state. He said the group had really grown from the first
experience and applied a lot more skills and focus on making all arrangements better for the next night. He slept
mostly dry(er?) and well plus had great support from the entire class on all things. From the Hungarian Dance, to
trust falls; water purification to stream crossings, Lightning, self-care, Orienteering, Creepy Crawlies, history and
more team sharing and building events were all part of the experience. Leadership development inside the group and
bonds of friendship and trust for the bigger experience ahead at the end of May. He should probably blog but we have a
busy day off to NHAB for an Advocacy Meeting at noon before really addressing the 2020 Vision Quest work ahead for him.
We have already begun considerations for whether the Pemi is right for me. Could Dad do it without me? At what cost?
Could we prepare better to ensure my full comfort? We have thoughts on each and a lot of decisions to be made by the
end of this month and early next month.

For now though, the Boston Marathon is being run on Patriot Day and I’m back with my Dad. The weather looks to be
beautiful and there’s some time for emotional reflection on one of my predecessor’s passing. Dad often says Modi
taught him a lot on how to be a better Dad for me and overall I’d say Modi did a great job because I am well tended and
loved.

Be Well!
Mighty Quinn
Shook Out at the Shake down