Feel Good Friday: A dose of inspiration from the mountains
We hoped that Brody's piece would inspire some of you to submit writing for Feel Good Friday, and sure enough, Mr. Adam Broderick contacted us this week hoping to share his story. After reading his submission, we happily obliged.
The ultimate backcountry partner — by Adam Broderick
Given the backcountry terrain is moderate and the day’s agenda will allow for it, my dog tags along with me when I ski. Actually, I should probably phrase that differently, because he does much more than tag along. He typically runs around wreaking havoc on all the little woodland creatures, and in the long run ends up with one heck of a workout. When I skin uphill he's at my heels. Now and again he'll roam several hundred yards away, following the scent of a week-old fox track. But I’m always aware of his proximity because his voice echoes all around me. Before I get carried away talking about how great he is, let me explain why my dog is the best backcountry partner I could ask for.
First of all, he’s never hung over. No matter what, he will never bail on me. In fact, he’s always ready to go before I am and he nags at me to hurry all the way until we reach the trailhead. He’d be out the door before sunrise everyday if he could. It’s great motivation, as long as I can look at it optimistically and hold in my frustrations while he’s whining and buzzing in my ear. I swear, he’s telepathic. He can sense a trailhead from over a mile away, and proceeds to squeal in excitement until I park and finally release him from car-captivity.
Rowdy tests the ice.
My dog never sports a confidence-halo. He knows his limits, and won’t jump without proper foresight. On the other hand, his foresight differs a bit from mine. He’ll wander out onto a cornice that to him seems fine, but he wouldn’t have the first clue how to diagnose the snowpack’s stability. This is why the conditions have to be ideal and the line I intend to shred has to be dog friendly. And when a partner bails or I go solo for one reason or another, the line I ride had better be dog-friendly! I shouldn’t be doing anything gnarly without a partner.
When we’re out there, we’re out there. I usually don’t mind my dog running around barking like a banshee in heat. I guess it ensures my solitude, because no wildlife would dream of coming near. We’ll see birds overhead, but unless he’s heeling and quiet we rarely encounter many critters. This is beneficial over the summers, as I don’t worry too much about bears; I can even sleep near my food if I have a dog camping with me. But that’s another story. Back to my theory that my dog is the ultimate backcountry sidekick.
My dog is psyched no matter what line he ends up with. Usually that line is straight down the hill in my direction, and I’ve got to envy his courage in that regard. Courage as well as stamina, because he’s got to leap with every step through deep snow, and that just adds to the exercise he already got on the ascent. He must exert twenty times the energy I do, and I try to find inspiration in that. I can also say anything to him without judgment. I like to sing, and I ramble and have short conversations with him. He’s a great listener and tends to agree with most everything that I have to say. It’s quite pleasant.
As long as I don't need to be dug out or rescued—and knock on wood that I won't ever find myself in such a scenario—it's hard to deny my dog makes for the ultimate co-pilot. When the ride or the approach is too gnarly (i.e. too steep, deep, or avy-prone) he stays behind and would never think to give me grief about ditching him. He only looks forward, never back. He will out-hike anyone and does so without an ego. He'll never bitch about conditions, be it pow, corn or rain. Rowdy is forever stoked.
Check out last week's edition of Feel Good Friday, where Colby James West and James Woodsy do the Shuffle in the streets of Budapest.
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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, the Boston Bruins and Norway. He's the Online Editor here at Freeskier.