Missing Muddy Boots
I failed to mention in my last post that my mom came up to meet me in Monson and took Lily home for a little break. I feel a little bit like a hypocrite because I wrote that whole post on Canine Companionship on the Trail, and now I’ve sent her home for some time off. I remember reading another blog post where the author wrote, “you’re either selfish for bringing your dog or you’re selfish for leaving him or her behind.” This is the truth. It’s a lot to ask of a dog to hike the trail, and it’s a lot to ask of a dog to sit at home and wait for you. Lily will be doing a little bit of both.
There are many factors that went into making this decision. Generally, caring for and worrying about Lily was taking up a fair share of my energy. On my second to last day in the Wilderness, two NOBOs told me that they saw a dog die on the trail earlier this year from exhaustion. I spent the rest of that day and the following one obsessing over taking breaks for Lily and trying to get her to drink water (which she didn’t want to do in the rain). I do think she was fine, but I was spending too much time and effort worrying about it. Another big factor was the upcoming terrain. It’s not that Lily can’t do it, but on long days I noticed that her will to bound over the rocks diminished. Southern Maine and the Whites are notorious for rocky ascents and descents. Therefore, I made the call to send her home for a break and run a trial period on my own.
The past week has been both harder and easier. There are many things I haven’t had to worry about, but I miss her every second of every day. I cried the entire six miles that I hiked out of Monson that afternoon after saying goodbye. I constantly debate when to have her rejoin me, which brings me to…
Lily will definitely be coming out to be on the trail with me some more. People suggest after the Whites, but by that time I may be ready to push 20-30 mile days, and she won’t be in that kind of shape. I’m thinking that I will have her come back after Wildcat because I’ve heard that’s a pretty rough couple of peaks. We will see, but Muddy Boots shall return! Until then, I’ll always be thinking about her and calling to check in on her.
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