Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Day In The Life Of a Hiking Dog

 During every hike we embark on together there is a moment of enlightenment for me. There are so many great lessons we can learn from our dogs if only we make the effort to open our eyes and see. This day provided me with a greater understanding of what I have already come to know. This being, our lives are not meant to be lived in a cloud. We are meant to explore and wander with the light of happiness and friendship shining vividly. Never hesitate to find your way out of that grey, and into that shine. 
(click on photos to enlarge)

On every hike Cullen has such a need to lead, and I am more than accepting towards his eagerness. This gives me the ability to keep a close eye on him. 

However, there are several times during our trips where he will voyage off out of my sight, but as soon I a turn the corner he is always sitting looking down towards me waiting patiently. It is such a gift to have a hiking partner whose abilities are much greater, but has the patience to sit and wait. 

Strike a pose!.The mountain you see here is Mt. Lincoln. One of the three peaks we reached that day. I love it when the expression on his face says it all! 

As we continued our trek through the Pemigewasset Wilderness we reached a pair of old forgotten hiking boots. The pair of boots have become nothing more than mold and rotten grass, which must have given off an unpleasant scent because Cull wanted nothing to do with them. 

The last half a mile or so until Mt. Lafayette's summit is well above treeline, and as we decided to take a break we also decided to take a quick photo. The building you see below us is Greenleaf Hut. The smell of the food being cooked was almost unbearable to take. Dogs are not allowed in the huts, so we had to just pass by. However, not before Cullen tried his best to find his way in, but the lady at the front wasn't having any of it :)

On almost every summit Cullen finds his way to a spot where he likes to take a moment to rest and gaze. As I was unloading my gear I saw him looking out over the Franconia Ridge. It was almost as if he was assessing the journey ahead. Sizing up the hike over to Mt. Lincoln; the peak you see in the distance.

The view we had during our lunch break was worth a million words. Although, Cullen didn't seem to enjoy it as much as I did. We sat together for a short moment and then he was off in search of new friends and their food! 

Cullen once again takes the lead as we began to make our way to Mt. Lincoln, across one of the most spectacular ridges the country offers. 

The views were priceless in every direction. Especially when Cullen looks as adorable as this! 

And although most of the time he has the lead, there are moments where a particular scent, view, or object will detract him from the quest ahead, and there is some catching up to do. 

There is a feeling of great joy when you realize we were made for these mountains as they were made for us.  The man who took this picture claimed to be not as brave as Cull. Stating to us there was no way he was stepping out onto this cliff.

The view now from Mt. Lincoln to Lafayette. The summit we just hiked from.

As we reached the summit air craft flew right over our heads. The only way I got Cullen to see it was to ask him if he saw the bird, for he knows what the word "bird" means and has no clue what a plane is.

"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was PEACE." --Milan Kundera

A little detour we took was to a place called Shining Rock. I didn't have a tough time figuring out why. 

As we descended a trail called Falling Waters, we passed by several glistening waterfalls and swimming holes. We found a spot right in front of a waterfall where we decided to take a quick nap. Nothing beats these kinds of moments.

Even at the end of an all day hike Cullen still leads the way, and still takes a moment to appreciate the beauty all forests have to offer. Throughout my days spent with him there have been many valuable lessons I've come to understand. 

Just before departing for home I always make sure he is all buckled up and safe for the drive ahead. Also, I provide enough blankets to rest comfortably. He loves sleeping with a piece of my clothing so there is always a sweater of mine for him to rest upon.

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