Pick-up Dogs How Two Rescue Dogs Save the West from Being Won

Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness with dogs

Probably one of the last weekends for an elevation hike without snowshoes or other snow gear. The dogs and I, with our trusty mentor David, headed up over the Baker Dam, making our way to the Watson Lakes/Anderson Butte trailhead in the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness.

The mosquitoes and flies lingered despite all evidence that might indicate a snow in the highlands is just on the horizon. We sped ahead of a large group with children and circumnavigated one of the Watson lakes, climbing through muddy chutes and getting lost with all of the different trail options carved by those who had passed before us this season. I almost broke my leg sliding down a mud chute full of gnarled roots. Instead, I cut open my thumb. The dogs swam in the lake, which was reflecting the mountains around us like a mirror. We picked out a huge chasm on the horizon and tried to make our way there, ignoring all the ruts and slippery spots in what might have passed for the main trail. Up a snowy peak and we would look down upon the huge, mysterious chasm that called us, but up ahead was a black bear not much larger than Marcos. 100 pounds at the most.

We played it on the safe side and turned around. It was harder to make our way back than to make it out to uncharted territory. We stopped and had lunch on a ledge and saw what we thought was Mt. Baker decapitated by clouds. I almost broke my leg in one of those muddy avalanche chutes. We couldn’t find the trail, confused by all the other ruts left by other hikers. On our way back to the parking lot, we met a few EMS personnel with walkie-talkies and carrying large first aid packs. Another group had a stretcher propelled by a wagon wheel. Somebody broke an ankle behind us. I was glad that it wasn’t me, yet I could feel their pain and how close it was to being me. I can’t miss any hike. It couldn’t have been me.

Pick-Up Dogs is an adventure road trip story about the healing powers of dogs. Click here to buy the book

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