UPDATE, 22 October 2008

David and Chiva are taking a break from the Tour de Dog but are sure to plan another ride in the near future. A sincere thank you to all of you who helped David and Chiva in countless ways. The Tour de Dog would not be possible without your support. THANK YOU!

View a Photo Documentary of Tour de Dog by Jason Houge

Tour de Dog is past states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Whitney Conclusion

In less than 48 hours Chiva and I were back on Whitney for Round 2. After stuffing my belongings into a large bear-proof container and locking my bicycle to a tree at the trailhead, we set off for the summit.

I was feeling prepared and confident, and Chiva appeared to be as well. We quickly marched from the trailhead (8,300ft) to Trail Camp (12,000ft) in under four hours. It was now 1:00pm, and I felt so good that I was even considering camping on the summit. After seeing the waist-high snow again, I opted to make camp and to finish the climb the following day.

When we muscled our way to Trail Crest (elevation 13,700ft) the next morning, an impossible to miss sign stated: “Welcome to Sequoia National Park. Pets and firearms are not permitted.” We only had 2.5 miles and 800 vertical feet remaining, but we were no longer within the dog tolerating boundaries of Inyo National Forest. What was I to do? I had sought special permission to hike this last leg with Chiva only to be denied by Sequoia National Park employees who told me Chiva was not a “service dog” and therefore not permitted to summit Mt. Whitney. I had also biked over 1,500 miles to get to this point, and I was determined to not let anyone or anything prevent Chiva and me from bagging the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. As LL Cool J likes to say, I was ready to knock her out.

The decision was a difficult one, but I decided to press forward. We both were feeling so energized that we could have jogged that last stretch. Only a few hundred yards past the sign in bone chilling wind and knee high snow, I halted the attempt. At this point, I was hit with the realization that it really did not matter if we were to summit Mt. Whitney. It was as if the great Mother Whitney was telling me to relax and to stop because we had earned her complete respect. She knew what we were capable of doing and was proud that we had come back for a second attempt. The sensation was so powerful that it convinced me to indeed turnaround. Our work on Whitney was done, and I was at peace with the conclusion.

So after descending the mountain, Chiva and I biked back into Owens Valley and Lone Pine (ele. 3,727ft). My attention has now shifted to the dog-friendly Boundary Peak and the Silver State.

Couple of notes:

· Even though I made it further on the second attempt, I was happy that Sarah experienced the solitude and the winter wonderland landscape of the first climb.
· In only 48 hours, the trail was remarkably different. Snow was melting at an incredible rate. Compare this picture at Outpost Camp with the picture below it from Sarah's post:

· Although Sarah was not with Chiva and me, we were certainly not alone. Many weekend hikers had come to give Whitney their best shot.


Gemini Babe said...


The birthday girl:D
Marie Miranda

ms mellon said...

Great photos, thanks for sharing. It speaks well for you that having come so far, you could recognize when you DIDN'T need to go farther. Yep, it sounds like the mountain was speaking to you. I've been wondering if the snow bothers Chiva's feet - did she need snow booties?

Jeremy said...

A busy week at work and I've lost touch with what's important - the Tour De Dog! And everything it stands for...
Well done both of you, awesome stuff and really amazing.

I wish I knew someone that could publicise this and spread the word!

Keep it up, good luck, many many good wishes.

Nate Smith said...

The pic of Chiva from behind, by the water, is just awesome. You should have that one blown up and framed.

Awesome progress!

Laura said...

How about posting a picture of Sarah?

Great job Dave and Chiva! Steve in Seattle.

Laura said...

"laura" is really Steve and Laura in Seattle. OOPS!