Our hike up Mt. Carrigain was much more fulfilling and beautiful compared to much of the others. Not only because of the crisp gushing rivers, the panoramic views from the fire tower, or Washington’s regal snow capped summit. With our trek up this peak we had a guest who means more to me than any of these mountains; Cullen’s mom (my fiancée) accompanied us up this impressive mount. What I saw during this hike was a little dog bringing happiness, inspiration, and fun to others. Cullen has a way of leading me to moments that last a lifetime, and to the people that help make these memories worthwhile.
As we strived for the summit, we came upon the ridge just before the final climb to the very ice-coated peak. This is where we met two amazing souls, Ellen and Sharon. Although we met several people during our time on the Signal Ridge Trail, these two women gave off such admirable energy. They were more than impressed with Cullen’s hiking achievements; however, I was more impressed with hearing what they had to say. I loved hearing about their senior dogs, Ellen’s Spaniel and Sharon’s toy poodle, and how they only wished they could experience the mountains with their best friends. These two ladies were more than a pleasure to meet, and it would be great to cross paths with them again.
Sarah hardly graces us with her presence on our mountain adventures, but today was different. Today I saw willingness in her that I hadn’t yet seen. Lately, she has be taken back, as I have, with the support and following of Cullen’s Travels, so I believe she wanted to experience the intense friendship that is shared on our hikes, while at the same time bask in the peace and isolation the summit air offers. Sitting atop Mt. Carrigain the view was more precious and gratifying than it has ever been. Seeing her smile at the pinnacle eliminated the priceless beauty these views already had to offer. I experienced a feeling I hadn’t yet shared with her. A feeling indescribable in words, but I felt as though everything else in that moment of time no longer mattered; time was non-existent. All that counted was the insurmountable love I have for her and Cullen, and that is something neither time nor distraction will ever take away.
Throughout our hike, every time we would exchange the lead with fellow hikers, I witnessed such joy in their faces at the site of Cullen. Almost everyone would put their hiking goals on pause, and aim their attention at a small reddish tan Min Pin. A sight most of them admitted they wouldn’t expect to see, but a sight that is worth the witnessing. Cullen will soon be the smallest dog to ever accomplish hiking these 48 peaks, and this is something all fellow hikers admire.
There is no doubt in my mind the pleasures I have on these adventures would never have been if not for Cull dog. Meeting Ellen and Sharon and hearing all about the great things they had to share would have been a conversation never had, seeing Sarah conquer one of the largest and more challenging summits NH has to offer would have been a journey not yet taken, and seeing the happiness of our fellow hikers as they stopped to meet Cullen would be absent, and they would just pass us by as they did the few before. Cullen is a dog that has brought more to life than just the expected. He has guided me to the unanticipated pleasures the world has tucked away; unmasking my blinded eyes so that I can observe the truest kind of happiness. This is something I will always be grateful for. Cullen’s presence on these hikes will forever make for happy trails.
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail"