Saturday, January 14, 2023

Goodbye, Colvin...

I always dreaded this day. You were everything I ever wanted in a dog and so much more. Obedient, loyal, protective, endlessly patient, and the most trusting companion imaginable. 
I remember vividly when I didn't think you were trainable. Later on I doubted you'd ever be a good trail dog. You lived up to your namesake -Verplanck Colvin-surveying every corner of the Adirondacks and 38 states. 
You were so well trained -even things I didn't teach you- like waiting for your family at trail intersections. A puppy that couldn't swim, couldn't scramble and absolutely hated the wind and water, you ended up loving the mountains more than I ever thought possible. You were perfectly made to be out there, right down to your weatherproof coat. Anytime I took up a new activity you adapted to be the best X dog I could imagine. Trail dog, crag dog, canyoneering dog, paddling dog, swimming dog, mountain biking dog, traveling dog, and anything else I threw at you. 
There were days I didn't want to be out there that you made it fun for me. Your shepherds lantern got me up mountains when I wanted to just call it a day. I hated trips without you and I always appreciated how grateful you were for everything we did. You were so positive, you were "just" a dog but you made me laugh all the time. 
The thing I loved most, beyond you being my best adventure buddy, was how you just loved being close to us and how much you loved and trusted us. We loved you every bit as much. I'm grateful we found you 13 years ago and most grateful you chose to make me your person. I'll never forget the loyalty, appreciation and love you showed me and everyone else who's lives you touched.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

The End Is Near



Having to make the decision to euthanize your dog before it looks like they are truly ready to go is the hardest decision in the world. But as I think about it, Colvin has always lived for two things, me (and the rest of his family) and the trail. His trail days are officially done as of a week ago. Now it's hard to tell if his apparent desire to live and endure is just an extension of his overwhelming desire to work for me and please me. If it's not and he is still as happy and alive as he appears than I feel like I'm just killing him. But if he's suffering than it's time for him to stop thinking of me, and me to think of his needs first.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

HEET: It's not just for cars! - Fueling an alcohol stove while bikepacking-

HEET it's not just for cars. If you're bikepacking in Vermont or the Adirondacks finding stove fuel might not be easy due to lack of towns, stores and service hours in the Adirondacks and the bucolic nature of Vermont just not having many large towns that you generally plan to bikepack through.  Isobutane (MSR, Snow peak, Jetboil, etc) also are often out of stock even in sprawling metropolitan areas and suburban big box stores. 

It's also tough to cook like a gourmet chef while bikepacking because it's essentially ultralight backpacking. Just add water is about as gourmet as it gets if you aren't eating at a restaurant or -more often usually- a gas station or hopefully fast food. For this reason an alcohol stove makes the most sense. Just one setting: high. Six minutes to boil a half liter. Super compact, light, cheap (you can even make one yourself from a soda can) nothing to break. 

Most importantly (and the reason for this post) is fuel is easy to find at any gas station in America. HEET is always available at gas stations, convenience stores, big box stores, grocery stores, hardware stores. HEET is cheap, burns clean, and it's sold in a size you can manage to use on a route. It only takes 1 minute more to boil 16oz using HEET over denatured alcohol but every Stewarts shop in Vermont and the Adirondacks stocks it. You'll always have a hot meal and coffee or a cuppa.