I'm a huge dog person. Always have been. Always will be. Named my agency after our black lab, Pepper. Love hanging out with our two current pooches, Mick and Rooney. But, for all my contact with canines over the years, I never thought I'd have a dog to thank for leading me to the summit of one very tough mountain peak.
Last weekend, 'Repman, Jr,' his buddy, Mark, and I attempted to climb 14,197 ft Mt. Belford in Buena Vista, Colorado. We'd been warned we might encounter snow and ice near the summit, but nothing prepared us for the whiteout conditions we hit about 2,000 feet below the peak. It was too intense and, since we were climbing without our friend and guide, Stafford Davis (a victim of altitude sickness), we decided to turn around.
We were bummed. But, with the snow howling and the wind intensifying, it was the smart, sensible thing to do. And, then, after about 500 feet of descent, we spied a couple and their dog happily making their way towards us.
They were locals who knew the mountain well. They told us the snow would let up (it never did, btw) and to just follow their dog, Mo (short for Mohave. They'd found him abandoned in the Mohave Desert and rescued him).
So, with more than a little trepidation, we shrugged our shoulders, retraced our steps and followed Mo, which wasn't easy. Mo adored climbing in the snow. He'd bound ahead of us at Mach speed and then stop and roll around in the two-foot snow drifts. The pooch really lifted our spirits, gave us a canine compass to follow and, sure enough, after a few more grueling hours, led us to the peak.