Pepper and I are just a couple of rather ordinary hiking mutts. I
look around at the other Grid finishers and wonder how we belong here;
they have done so much; they have had such exciting outdoors
adventures. When all is said and done, Pepper and I have said and
done very little in comparison. But 90% of hiking is just getting out
on the trails regularly, and that we managed to do these past 5 years
It has been a blast; all of it. As much fun as it was to finish the
Grid; we will miss it more.
We would never have done the Grid without the knowing and unknowing
assistance of fellow hikers. Pepper may be the mighty tough little
dog, but neither he nor I could hike as much as we did without having
trails packed and reports filed. But we would like to thank in
particular the following:
1. Ed for making the Grid into such a fun way to hike all the peaks,
in all the months, in different weather. I think we know these
mountains and trails pretty well by now, and we love them all in their
own way, including Owls Head.
2. Georg, Per & Cinnilla, for their splendid companionship on the
trails and introducing us to still more wonderful hikers. Pepper
thinks these guys deserve an award for the best trail treats and
another for their thoughtful contributions especially on our finishing
hike. Pepper's certificate is as much a sign of their thoughtfulness
as it is of his achievement..
3. Jeremy for encouraging me to come to the Ashland B&V and FOT,
inspiring us to go for the Grid, creating the New England Trail
Conditions Site which helped us plan our hikes and keep track of
others, and more.
4. The Ashland Booze &Vittles regulars for sharing their friendship
and enthusiasm for hiking in the White Mountains every month, and on
the trails. It's really nice to carry a little bit of community into
the woods and mountains, and to have a place to share one's passion
for the same. What a great group.
5. The trail maintainers and crews. We rarely get a chance to thank
these wonderful volunteers on our hikes. Like a good umpire they are
often least noticed when they've done great work, but anyone who hikes
a lot knows their importance.
6. Drs. Michael and Stuart Gordon. I stopped hiking 4Ks in 2006 and
did none in 2007. Pepper hadn't hiked a single 4K either. I thought
we might never do one together. I was ready to hike an out with no
back. Mike diagnosed the problem, severe anemia, and Dr. Stuart
identified the culprit, gluten. In April 2008 Pepper and I were
cleared to hike 4Ks. Every hike since then has been a gift.
7. Shorty and Shadow, my first two mini schnauzer hiking buddies.
Shadow did a lot of work with me whacking through the woods, but he
only hiked a few trails. Shorty loved the trails; he was built to
hike. It's because of him that I really started hiking 4Ks. He
finished his 4K list with me months before coming down with diabetes;
sadly never to hike again. Although they both passed away far too
early, they still hike with us. I see them in Pepper and Pepper
surely feels them in me. They will be forever young.
Thank you all. Pepper gives you four paws up with a tail wag.