Recent Events


I was going to resume my normal posting cycle.

And then I decided to throw my phone (and thus all the pictures from our recent adventures) into Smarts Brook instead.

So that was kind of a bummer.

We’ve had recent adventures, though!

Like, some friends and I (and no dogs) hiked a traverse of the Sandwich range. It clocked in at 17.3 miles and, if I recall correctly, ~5100′ of elevation gain. This was a rugged hike, yo. We went up the North Tripyramid Slide…

Looking down a portion of the slide, which gains 1200′ in half a mile.

…and tagged North, Middle, and South Tripyramid before continuing on the gorgeous, peaceful, mossy Kate Sleeper trail (over both Sleepers) to Whiteface and Passaconaway. I was with a fit, fast group, but we were all feeling it earlier than we (at least, I!) expected and turning away from the trail home to go up to the Passaconaway summit was psychologically tough. I would do the slide and/or Kate Sleeper again in a hot minute! But next time I want to do a big-mile dayhike traverse, I think I’ll revisit the Bonds instead.

We finished up that hike later in the day than expected and I zoomed home for just 90 minutes of sleep before throwing the dogs in the car at midnight and returning north to meet Paws on Peaks for a sunrise trek above treeline, which Krista describes here.

Lilo abandons me for yet another hiking body.

Although she was kind enough to elide the total meltdown that I had after deciding that I wasn’t up for trying to get Lilo back down the lovely but narrow and slippery Edmund’s Path at a time when other hikers would likely be ascending, potentially with dogs of their own. I mention it here because I think it’s important to be honest about the moments that don’t go as smoothly as one might like (though I appreciate not being ratted out, and being given room to tell my own story!). A number of frustrations, both reasonable and not, came to a head at a time when I was already quite short on emotional bandwidth and it’s a special kind of misery to be desperately unhappy in such a beautiful place with such superlative company. But there I was.

But I hear it’s a survival skill to be able to appreciate beauty in the midst of misery.

And then it was over, eventually, after we talked and I ate something and Titus regrew his brain, and the rest of the hike (and all of the hike, really) was a marvel, and that’s important, too.

And we ran up Pierce for Titus’s 4,000-footer #2!

And that brings us, if not quite to now, then closer, anyway!


Experience Is What You Get After You Need It

I learned (am still learning!) so, so many things from having two reactive dogs in a row. But the most game-changing of them all was this: there is no behavior more important than simply having the dog engaged.

Making his own mat — and making sure that I notice!

I’m really happy with Titus’s puppy class. We graduate from Level 1 next week and are signed up for Level 2 starting mid-August. The instructors are great, the facility is lovely, and it’s been excellent for both of us. Motivation to practice! Appropriate and useful distractions! Actual feedback on my handling skills and opportunity to ask questions/debug issues and get input that I haven’t already tried!

(I feel like that last shouldn’t be a rare thing in a class, but it’s something that I’ve struggled to find. I drive almost an hour each way to this facility; this is why.)

But of all the class’s many fine qualities, the one that I value the absolute most is that not once have I gotten even the slightest bit of side-eye for totally bailing (often very briefly, but occasionally not) on the exercise at hand in favor of just rewarding attention and engagement, happy and calm.

Attention! And — well. Working on calm. Also pictured: Amanda’s Arya.

I was (am) never, ever going to apologize for doing so. I learned from Lilo (and from the places where I fell short with Casey) that these are the priorities that work for me. And I learned from Tucker the horse that sometimes you have to say, “Fuck it; I’m doing what’s right for my animal.” And Titus, bless him, reinforces this decision-making consistently.

I take a lot of pride in being a good student, though, and in the past I’ve felt a lot of conflict about going my own way right there in the middle of, you know, studenting. It’s not something that instructors (of all stripes; this is not at all dog-people-specific) take well. And it can be a little scary in its own right, in lots of ways. It’s a big responsibility. A necessary responsibility, I think! But big.

Must figure out how to communicate to the puppy-class instructor how much I appreciate being so freely given the space in which to move.


Been Napping


Sorry about the disappearing act! Sunday adventuring and Monday night obedience class have wreaked havoc on my blogging schedule. Still here and reading, though, and will get back in the swing of things (possible with a shift in publication days) this week.