It’s hard to believe it has been six months since I sat down to write of my adventures. Time certainly can move fast. Forgive me, I got kind-of distracted.
This summer, while on a fact finding mission to the local animal shelter I found more than facts. I had been considering adopting a dog for many years, but for some reason or another I would give up on the notion and place it in the back of my mind. This year I set my sights on having a new adventure buddy by my side. I researched daily to determine what breed (s) I should consider for my lifestyle. I had these perfect visions of a dog with the physical ability and stamina to tackle the rugged Adirondack Mountain trails and the attentiveness and responsiveness to ride along well in my kayak. I knew I might have been asking a lot of a pup I intended to find at an animal shelter, but a man can dream.
On my first visit to the shelter I already found the right dog for me. All of my tedious research went out the window when I first laid eyes on Gus. I never expected that the dog I would eventually adopt would be a ten month old, mostly white, long haired, beagle-spaniel mix that the woman at the shelter kindly referred to as “a wimp”.
This “wimp” and I got right to action. The day I took him home we went out for a few miles in the woods along Lake Champlain. A few days later we hit our first Adirondack Mountain trail to the summits of Cascade and Porter. Cascade and Porter mountains are the easiest of the High peaks to reach so I thought they would be perfect for my new wimp dog.
It was clear to me very quickly that my wimp was no wimp at all. His vertical leap is quite remarkable. He took to the trails as if he were meant to be there. Had I made the perfect decision? Did I find myself a trail warrior? We have taken a few other hikes of varying difficulty since our first summit. Gus has become an ADK 3 of 46, one Adirondack Fire Tower challenge, and a few smaller summits. With summertime being my least favorite season for hiking, we needed to focus more on the more difficult task of kayaking.
Of course I had these grand hopes that Gus would take to the water the same as he did to the trails. I researched again to find out all of the methods others had used with their own dogs. He and I had not yet mastered any commands. We would go outside and sit for long stretches of time together with the kayak on dry land. He did well enough that I felt we should make a go at the water.
Strapped into his life-preserver we headed out with a few others as watchers. He hopped right into the boat. Stood calmly, and we shoved off. It was incredible! We were doing it! Gus and I were gliding along smoothly, I was elated! it felt like I had truly made all of the correct decisions. My wimp dog was a hiker AND a kayaker. He was…… SPLASH! gone.
What felt like many minutes together in the kayak was closer to only one minute. It wasn’t long before our first outing turned into what I expected it would be. He swam to one of the other kayaks and forced himself on board soaking my friend in the process.
So kayaking took a bit more time than hiking, but we have done many more miles together, swapped for a larger tandem kayak, and now we’ve got the rhythm of a perfectly synced rowing team.
It’s been six months already since Gus and I came together, and six months since I have written a blog post. Turns out a pup his age is full of energy that requires the bulk of my time. Hopefully soon I will be able to make some time to write about all of the adventures I have taken since I last wrote. Fortunately, Gus has been able to join me on most of these trips as well.