Monday, June 26, 2017

A Tribute to a companion and friend June 26, 2017

      This last week my family's world was turned upside down when we were confronted with the death of our beloved Mini Schnauzer, Nevada. We were lucky enough to have him in our lives for 8 years and over those years he gave us a lot of joy. Nevada was with us for every step of the way including the birth of our son, moving from Nevada to Arizona, and the birth of our daughter. I want to share some of my favorite memories of him through the years.

After we got Nevada in 2009 at a shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first order of business was to give him a name. A few were thrown around by my wife however none of them stuck. I remember saying that he is silver like the silver state so we should name him Nevada. At first my wife thought I was joking, but soon the name would stick and our dog would be known as Nevada and his nickname would be Silver State.

        In 2012 Tara took a science course that required two trips to Northwestern Nevada that summer. The first trip was to Carson City where we camped with friends at a KOA in town. While Tara was at class, Nevada and I went hiking up at Lake Tahoe. The longest hike we took was out of the Spooner Lake Trailhead along the Tahoe Crest Trail. We hiked 10 miles round trip with an extended lunch break five miles in. At the end of the hike Nevada was tired so I tied him to a tree while I packed the car. Soon a couple stopped by worried that I was going to leave him at the trailhead. I assured them that he was part of the family even going so far as to wrap my arms around him.

                               Nevada at our lunch spot

      Later in that Summer we traveled to  Reno, Nevada, for phase two of Tara's science classes. The first part of the trip we spent a few nights in the city. Reno was experiencing a heat wave and day time temperatures were near or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I did a couple of hikes with Nevada near Mount Rose and visited a number of museums downtown. After the initial first couple of days Tara and her class relocated to Lassen National Park. National Parks do not allow dogs so I decided to return to camp on the southern part of Lake Tahoe near the Desolation Wilderness. I soon discovered that many parts of Tahoe have ordinances against dogs so I realized the Desolation is where we would be hiking.

                                      Camping at Tahoe

     Nevada and I did some fantastic hikes in the wilderness. The first hike I did with him was to Aloha Lakes. This hike is about 14 miles round trip and takes visitors to six plus alpine lakes. It is also along the Pacific Crest Trail which starts on the Mexican border and ends on the Canadian border. I remember stopping at a couple of the lakes for a break. Nevada even put his feet in the water. By around 12:30 we arrived at Aloha Lakes where I ate a sandwich and he ate treats along with some beef jerky. Around four miles from the trailhead Nevada got very tired and lay down in the center of the trail. I tried to prod him to come with me but he would not move. The next four miles I alternated carrying Nevada and having him walk a few feet. Needless to say we were both very tired at the end of the hike. The next day we hiked a short hike to Cascade Falls. For our last hike and day in the Tahoe Area I chose a six mile loop that took us by two lakes Granite and Eagle Lake. The weather was fantastic that day and we ate lunch and spent a significant amount of time at Granite Lake. The trail from Eagle Lake was steep and had a lot of loose rock making it necessary for me to carry Nevada through some tough sections.

                                                      Nevada in the Desolation Wilderness at Aloha Lakes

                                      At Granite Lake

       The final hiking memory I want to share is backpacking in the Goshute Mountains of Eastern Nevada. The Goshute Mountains are near West Wendover, Nevada, and from the top a visitor can see 11+ mountain ranges. Also during the fall raptors fly through the area on their annual migration south. Nevada and I day hiked this a number of times and backpacked it in 2013 before leaving for Arizona. I remember on that trip we made it to the camping spot mid afternoon and we waited a couple of hours for the sun to get low in the sky. Near sunset we hiked the short trail to the very top. I remember how he sat right next to me as the sunset. Later on in the tent Nevada nipped and growled at me when he was eating dinner and I got in his way.

                                  Nevada sitting in shade in the Goshute Mountains

     Most of all it will be the everyday memories that will stay with me. For example, every morning you sat plastered next to me while I drank my morning coffee and read the newspaper or a book. For years we shared three walks throughout the day many of which lasted over an hour. I will also remember how you would flip my hand or somebody else's when you wanted attention. The last week Nevada was alive, he even outsmarted our "Nevada gate"moving a few cushions and squeezing his way through a small hole. You were so proud of your self sitting on the couch when we returned home. In the end Nevada, you left us with many memories both big and small.

                                        The family at Calico, California