A couple weeks ago, I headed back East for Stacia and Andrea’s wedding (you might remember seeing their engagement photos here on the blog and on Amanda’s blog). Susan, who wrote about dating and rock climbing while I was in Jordan, was kind enough to pick me up at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire and drive me to Sunday River, Maine for the wedding. I tried to take her on her first county highpoint hike to Sandwich Mountain but we were foiled by high water in the creek. Instead, we had a lovely, leisurely hike chatting and getting to know each other in person!
Hiking with Sprocket is one of my favorite things to do: he’s a good listener but doesn’t argue, is willing to go anywhere, and gives me a bit of company on the trail. After we hiked Signal Peak a few weeks ago, I bragged a little bit on Twitter about my awesome hiking pup and Adam responded with a book recommendation: Following Atticus.
Honestly, I wasn’t all that interested in reading about a little tiny pocket dog climbing mountains. Dogs aren’t supposed to be purse sized! Amazon had the Kindle edition on sale for $1.99 though so I decided to give it a try (it’s back to regular price, $5.74, now).
The story starts with Ryan becoming a pet owner. He and his first dog, Max, bond and Ryan begins to develop a sense of how a dog and his owner can help each other. After Max’s death, he adopts Atticus, a miniature schnauzer.
Along the lines, Tom was introduced to hiking New Hampshire’s 4,000′ mountains by one of his brothers. Overweight and out of shape, following Atticus to the mountaintop inspired him. Before he knew it, he and Atticus climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000′ peaks in a summer.
Futher inspired by a friend’s strength as she battled cancer, Ryan decided to scale the 4,000′ peaks again. In the winter. Twice. The money raised by their attempt would benefit The Jimmy Fund. After their near triump, came the inevitable dog-book crying. F just gave me the “here-she-goes-again” look as I slithered to the floor to pet my own pup.
Fortunately, the book didn’t end there. Instead, Ryan and Tom headed to the mountains again to re-attempt their winter goal: this time to raise money for Angell Memorial Medical Center, the MSPCA’s veterinary clinic.
Following Atticus is exactly what you would expect: a heartwarming story about a dog and his human learning how truly wonderful and inspiring the outdoors can be. This story made me cry, made me smile, and made me happy to have such a loving, wonderful dog in my own life.
F and I were awake and on the road by seven. This gave us plenty of time to play our way over to Vermont. I think it was my easiest navigation day because the road from Bates to Bethel (near Sunday River Ski Area) is well ingrained in my memory! It felt so good to be driving through New England again. We both had a good time driving through the pretty countryside punctuated with “towns” founded in the 1700s. We decided to take Vermont 15 to Burlington instead of taking the Interstate. I think it was a great choice, it was really pretty and I got to taste some wine at Boyden Valley Winery. Their reds and whites were pretty good, the cranberry wine was refreshing (Forrest liked it too!), while we were less than impressed with the dessert and ice wines.
We headed over to South Hero Island on Lake Champlain and made a brief stop at C.i.D.E.R. to say hello to Lee, Forrest’s elementary school teacher, before going to their house. At the house, we relaxed and let Sprocket get to know their dogs Gracie and Ava. Jim and I took Ava and Sprocket up to Knight Point State Park on the lake to let them run around and swim a bit. Sprocket, as always, loved it! He got to get wet then chase his new friend through the woods!
Lee was home when we got back and we all loaded up and went to Shore Acres for dinner. The food was quite gourmet and very yummy but the view was incredible! We had a great time catching up and talking about all sorts of things. Back at the house we all had some computer time (I almost caught up for all you blog readers out there) before heading to bed.
Sprocket had us both up at six and before we knew it we had the jeep ready to go and were on the road bound for a Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Solidly supplied with coffee, iced coffee, and doughnuts we cruised to Boston for lunch with Brendan. We arrived at the Sunset Cafe without too much hassle and really enjoyed perusing the serious beer list. It was a lot of fun to catch up with Brendan–especially because he could relax after having finished his last final for his first year of law school!
Navigating out of Boston was a cinch and before we knew it we were cruising through Portland. We met up with Jean and her roommates who gave Sprocket lots of love and volunteered to watch him while we got dinner at Commons. It was so odd to be back there and I was pretty shocked to realize how many people I still knew. After dinner, we headed over to the new dorm to visit with Q for a bit then headed back over to village. After Sprocket got some more love it was time to crash after a long day of driving.