Friday, July 22, 2011

Holder Ridge 951' (Taylor Mt. Forest)

After losing my faithful partner last week and the same day his replacement joining the household I was emotionally spent. For me the best way to combat a heavy heart is to find comfort in my routine. With the kids out of school Monday is my family hike day and I thought it a good way to break in the new pup. The kids wanted to head up to the "princess towers" on Squak Mt., but that plan was foiled by the locked gate at the park. I am guessing the closure is a cost cutting move which makes me laugh since they just added all kinds of new signage drawing attention to the park. Maybe that money would have been better spent on actually keeping the park open. I have wanted to explore the Taylor Mt. for some time so I thought this a better option. We parked at the area just past the underpass of Hy. 18.

   I leashed Bosco and had to laugh at my oldest since she insisted on bringing her pink scooter. My guess is that she now has the first ascent of Holder Ridge via pink scooter. We followed the trail crossed the road and then went up the Holder Ridge Trail. The trail is still muddy with the recent rainy weather and there is quite a bit of foliage to contend with. I wouldn't want to do this after a rain unless you like getting wet. We wound our way up to the ridgeline, even catching a glimpse of the Columbia Tower. The kids enjoyed the regional views of the houses and farms in the area. I was tempted to let the dog off the leash but with two kids along and really not knowing what he would do I thought the better of it. After cresting the ridge we had a M&M break before continuing on the trail. The trail descends and then meets the junction with the Holder Knob trail. I really wanted to have the kids continue but I thought that might be asking too much for their little legs. We instead followed the connector trail to the gated logging road and had a nice mile long amble back to the car.

  After a wonderful day out I turned my thoughts to the next day. Originally I had hoped to take the dog out for something a bit more substantial. I knew he wouldn't be up for a normal day of mine but I thought he could muster a pared down day. That night I could tell his feet were a bit sore from the day so I bagged taking him the next day. When I awoke I just couldn't inspire myself to head out. The thought of heading out solo and without a dog just didn't seem appealing. While most of my days in the hill are without human companionship I have rarely gone out without a dog. It just wouldn't have felt right. I am hopeful with a few more outings Bosco will be able to join the ranks of the stellar climbing dogs that I have owned. I guess only time will tell.

   The dog has certainly been a blessing with the dealing with sudden and unexpected loss of the family dog. While it only has given me minimal comfort it has been a great distraction for the rest of the family. I am thankful for this because it has enabled me to deal with the loss without having to be concerned with the how the rest of the family is dealing with it. It seems so surreal for me to think about the way things have unfolded.  Wasn't it just 2 weeks ago when Tanner managed to unlock himself from his crate, open the hotel door and somehow make it down 3 floors and out 2 sets of double doors in an effort to find his family? Wasn't it 3 weeks ago that Tanner made his way along the lake because I wouldn't let him in the boat full of children I was giving a tour of the lake. Wasn't it Tanner who then swam the entire length of the lake to make his way home. I have to laugh now when the kids of the lake ask "where's the dog who swam across the lake". Wasn't it Tanner who is on my desktop screen saver looking over the edge of Kachess Ridge on Last month's climb of Little Kachess, looking as fit as ever. How does a dog so strong of heart just expire from heart issues?  It seems like a pattern is developing in  my life, losing two family dogs within a short period of time and now I have lost all 3 of my climbing dogs at the age of 10 suddenly and unexpectedly. While all of these have been most painful, the thought of deciding that they can no longer accompany me on my trips into the hills would have been even more difficult. I do find much solace in the fact that Tanner did get his last trip and didn't suffer the fate of watching me go without him. I am sure that this would be the worst possible thing for him.

   Looking forward I hope to get back to my normal routine and with any luck I will have the companionship of Bosco for many years to come. While I am not convinced that he will be able to handle the the rigors of what I do, I am looking forward to finding out.

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