Heavy Heart

It with heavy heart that I will re-enter the trail without Andi. 

We started on 16 April at The SNP entrance. Together we completed 8 miles the first day and 13 miles the second day. 

Day 3, we started the day with a fast place. We stopped at a picnic area for water and to play ball. As we were playing I noticed something red under her armpit. Closer inspection reveal a pretty deep gash, same with the other side. Her pack had been digging into her. 

Those of you who know me well know that my first priority is Andi’s well being, so having missed this during my nightly check of her was devisating!

I’m frustrated in that I have other packs from the same company that Andi has used many time before (bigger and heavier packs) with no issues. 

To make matters worse, the fire in SNP had spread, closing down the section of the trail we were at. 

For those of you thinking to yourself, “why didn’t she know about the fire.”  I did, but news from the morning indicated that the trail was still open and we were not in harms way. 

Anyway, after calling the rangers station and receiving instructions to turn back to Waynesboro, Andi and I hitched a hide with the kind couple. I got us a room at a local motel.

 Andi crashed all day. As I watched her sleep, I realized I had not prepared her enough for this. Even with all our 9 months of Texas hiking and camping and exercising! The terrain is much different and the temperatures were unusually hotter than normal for this time of year.  She was doing fine but I couldn’t help but wonder if she would continue to do well. 

I knew the best thing for now was to make contact with friends and family and get Andi to a location where she could recover. 

Day 6, Andi is with Joanne, my good friends sister, in Port Tabacco MD. She will be heading up to my friend Dawn in NH at the end of this month. I am with my Mother in law getting ready to head to Linden VA to re enter the trail. 

This is by far one of the hardest things I’m about to do. Worse than being shot at by the taliban! Andi has been by my side for 3.5 years. She has helped me through many trying moments. I realize there are many who don’t understand how I feel or who may think I’m silly…

I knew there would be speed bumps during this journey but I didn’t know they would appear so quickly! This whole journey was about healing for me and Andi, together!

I’m going to do this! I hope to have Andi back on the trail with me later, even if for only section hikes. 

I don’t know when I will do another entry or even if I will do any more entries. I just want to invisibley hike, at least for now. 

Thank you to the nice Denmark couple who gave Andi and me a ride back to Waynesboro. Thank you JoAnne for keeping Andi and getting to Dawn! Thank you Dawn taking Andi into your home for the next few months! Thank you Mom and Dad for your support and getting me on the trail…twice. Bob and Jacqui for now holding on to many boxes of dog food! Thank you Steve for being understanding and supportive! Thank you Jake and Matt for the Pep talk to continue on this journey wo Andi by my side. 


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Comments 6

  • Cherre Bybee : Apr 21st

    Thank you for taking such good care of your partner. My heart cries when I hear an animal partner is having trouble and their human partner stays on the trail anyway. Best of luck with your hike, I’ll be watching for your next post.

  • Barbara Andrews : Apr 21st

    My heart is heavy knowing what you are going through. I wish I was there to be by your side or help out more. Sending virtual hugs and love. I’m just a phone call away. If you need me you know I would drive to the end of the world.

  • Chris : Apr 28th


    It was great meeting you at the Sam Moore shelter and I wish you luck with your hike! I hope to see an update on Andi. If you get a chance on a zero day check out Steve Walker on youtube, he is the hiker I told you about that I am following and you might enjoy his perspective.


  • Irvin Valle (COACH IRV) : May 4th

    I a sorry to hear that Andi is unable to continue with you for now. I have been following your hike with interest as my wife and I are training now for our 2018 thru hike with both of our dogs always by our side. I hope Andi heals quickly and returns to keep you company on the trail. I am sure Andi misses you as much as you miss him. Good luck and keep us posted…

  • Teresa Fransik : May 24th

    So sorry to read about Andi. Hope she healed well and is doing ok. You keep going! You can do this…..Good luck!


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