This page is a work in
Written by The Dog Team
Please note that Daily Log entries are based on a race day,
from 4:15 am to 4:15 am.
The Dog Team slowly began to join Cave Dog in the Adirondacks
starting with Groove Dog on June 13th. In fact, in the last month,
Groove Dog had been keeping a twenty mile a day pace on the 480 mile
Bruce Trail in Ontario and had not been in contact with Cave Dog. He
showed up while Cave Dog was in the middle of a seven day scouting trip
in the southern High Peaks Region. Fortunately, he caught up with
Adog and Base Dog and took up residence in their lean to. Cave Dog
had been training for thirteen months, increasing the intensity at New
Year's; however, in the final weeks, he had been training extremely hard,
to the point of depletion. Groove Dog would begin his well founded
reputation as a great cook as he fed Cave Dog numerous delicious meals,
bringing Cave Dog back to a healthy and strong stride.
Soon Lady Dog and Ed Dog would come from Oregon, Sea Dog from
Maine, and Iron Dog from Pennsylvania. Eventually Rad Dog would
fly in from Cave Dog's home town of Coos Bay, Oregon, Dingo Dog from
New Jersey, and Herb Dog from Vermont. They would join a large local
support crew from Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Wilmington, and Keene of Adog,
Base Dog, Roque Dog, Dacks Dog, Brute Dog, Slo Dog, Ski Dog, Gold Dog,
and Two Dog.
In the final days before the start of the challenge, the support
crew had taken over Base Camp at Adog and Base Dog's home. As always
with such large projects, there were countless errands and details to
cover. Many of The Dog Team were bustling about the town or busy
at Base Camp getting everything ready in time. In addition, there
were many trips to the Albany airport to pick up newly arriving Dog Team
On June 23rd, nearly all of The Dog Team assembled for a marathon
organizational meeting. Cave Dog explained the general tempo,
described the nature of backcountry support, and went over many other
details. The team also spent a long time poring over the maps and
discussing various strategies. Surprisingly, the media had found
The Dog Team early this time. A couple of news crews showed up for
the meeting. For many of The Dog Team, this was the first solid
glimpse of the enormity of the project. Suddenly, there was an increased
energy as the team hustled around finishing up the last details and prepared
for an intense multiday outdoor adventure.
As The Dog Team set off for the initial trailhead of
the competition, they had a five mile hike to the starting point
at the base of Seymour. During this hike, they were set upon
by a torrential downpour and thunderstorm which caused them to carefully
navigate the trail in an attempt to avoid the shin deep mud. Cave
Dog's first set of clothes got wet before even reaching the starting
line. Occasionally the team had to ford a small creek that
was crossing their path. On this hike, one of The Dog Team
members sprained his ankle while stepping from rock to rock in an attempt
to avoid the mud and was having a minor asthma attack. The team
doctor, Rad Dog, was on hand to provide medical attention allowing the
teammate to slowly continue the hike. It was getting late so the
team split up with Sea Dog and Cave Dog pushing for the lean tobefore
it got any later. Along the way the team was able to enjoy the company
of several frogs, deer, and bats that helped keep their minds off the
poor weather conditions. When they got to the Ward Brook Lean
To, the team encountered several volelike creatures that were hanging
out and making Rad Dog sneeze. At one point, these little two inch
animals were jumping around across the path with two foot strides. The
team had a stove, pot, bowls, utensils, but no food. Inventory of
resources found the team with six Powerbars and one organic food bar. However,
the car back at the trailhead was quite well stocked. Cave Dog went
without dinner that night. Luckily, Base Dog and Groove Dog had been
feeding him well earlier that day. Cave Dog finally got to bed at
The next morning, The Dog Team woke Cave Dog up at 4:00 am
and gave him four Powerbars to start the journey. He was off by
4:15 am. Sea Dog, Ed Dog, and Rad Dog shared the remaining two
Cave Dog's first summit, Seymour, was completely
socked in with fog, but the trees and rocks were crisp and vibrant
Unfortunately, all of the brush and trees were dripping
and Cave Dog was completely soaked head to toe by the time he reached
his next reprovision spot atop Donaldson. Eventually the Sewards
would claim yet another complete set of water soaked clothes that
caused a minor run on gear for the next couple reprovisions. At
Donaldson, Groove Dog fixed up a scrumptious high carbo meal of pesto
pasta. The fog was slowly lifting and the views from Donaldson to
the next mountain group, the Santanonis, were spectacular. The rains
of the night before had relieved the air of its moisture that had caused
a strong haze during the previous days. Cave Dog reported that the
view of Long Lake from Emmons was also good. On the descent, Cave
Dog really appreciated the use of Roque Dog's vast trail knowledge
to weave through a bit of new blowdown. The Caulkins Brook trail is
one of Cave Dog's favorite trails and he was riding high as he reached the
trailend, an hour earlier than projections.
Upon reaching the first trailend, The Dog Team
ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and awaited Cave Dog's
return. Rad Dog waited for Roque Dog and Groove Dog. The
three went to Roque Dog's house where Groove and Rad Dogs got more water
for their next leg in the support chain. Radio contact was made
with Iron and Dacks Dogs from Santanoni to Tupper Lake.
Iron and Dacks Dogs started up Santanoni at a fast pace. They
were afraid Cave Dog would beat them even though he had to do the Sewards
first. Iron Dog had never seen the full magnitude of Adirondack
Mud until she experienced this Bradley Pond route. She was thankful
that Dacks Dog loaned her some gaiters. Unfortunately, Iron Dog wrenched
her right hip in the mud. It would not begin to hurt until much
later. They reached the summit of Santanoni at about noon and it
would be a couple hours before Cave Dog arrived. They put up a bug
tent. A slight breeze made it hard to keep the bottom of the bug
tent sealed to the ground and black flies kept getting trapped inside the
bug tent. The black flies were particularly intense and the bug jackets
became a matter of sanity. They tried to read books, but the buzzing
was too distracting and soon enough the scrub trees gave birth to Cave
Cave Dog found the slide on Santanoni to
be dry and a lot of fun. This route, which was discovered
late in Cave Dog's training, is quickly becoming one of Cave Dog's favorites.
Unfortunately, on the steeper sections he could not go fast
enough to keep ahead of the black flies. He was happy to see
Dacks Dog and Iron Dog on the summit of Santanoni where Dacks Dog
then followed him most of the way to Times Square. On Panther,
Cave Dog found songbirds chirping and he also ran across lots of
toads on his way to Couchsachraga just like he had in the Sewards.
Without the customary haze, the views of Allen, where he was heading
next, and the Sewards, where he had just come from, were crisp and clear.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be hiking!
Meanwhile, Iron Dog was trying hard not to swallow black flies
in keeping with her vegetarian diet. Cave Dog flew in, stuffed
some food down, drank heartily, and was off again. Dacks Dog made
the ultimate Dog Team sacrifice: she gave Cave Dog her bug jacket.
On the way down from Santanoni, Cave Dog got caught in a Black
Fly Storm. Cave Dog reported that he felt like the queen bee
in a hive. His white shirt had become darkened with hundreds
of flies crawling around looking for a morsel to suck. He had
desperately tried to stave off the need to go to the bathroom but could
not. Unfortunately, he could not swat fast enough. In fact,
he found himself wiping up more black flies than anything else. In
a span of just a couple minutes, he would have sores in difficult places
that would give him discomfort for the rest of the challenge.
Sea Dog and Ed Dog were doing most of the driving support. It
was during the Santanonis that they really felt like prisoners in the cab
of the truck as they took refuge from the swarms of black flies outside
eager to eat them. While waiting for Cave Dog, they met up with
Adog and Lady Dog at Dacks and Iron Dogs' vehicle. Gear was rearranged
to make up for the wet gear that was hauled out of the Sewards. Forgotten
medication was provided for one of the team and a tasty meal was dropped
This was one of the few times that Lady Dog was able to make
it away from Base Camp. Day and night, she was sporadically getting
feedback from various Dog Team members spread out all around the High
Peaks Region. It is a difficult matter to keep communication flowing
out of the mountains, but it is crucial for a well run team effort and
safety. As information came in, Lady Dog would update the website.
It was a goal of The Dog Team to share their adventures with the
public to give the effort a larger purpose than their own. The Dog
Team had no idea that the general public would have such enthusiasm for
the challenge. In the span of just a few days, the website would get
more than twice as many hits than it had the entire year before.
Cave Dog saw a nice pale orange sunset over the Santanonis
on his way down the slopes of Allen.
Dacks and Iron Dogs headed for the Flowed Lands just after sunset.
Halfway up, Iron Dog's hip, which had been buried in mud in the
Santanonis, was now starting to stiffen and ache. Cave Dog overtook
them at Hanging Spears Falls. They gave him some water and a jacket.
True to form, Cave Dog had a great first day coming well
ahead of the training projections on all of his hikes. In fact,
Cave Dog was outpacing the support team. This caused an unusual
phenomenon where the support crew and others started to attribute superhuman
qualities to Cave Dog, such as, making projections that he would scale
a half dozen peaks in a span of an hour or two. For the rest of
the challenge, these projections would make the support crew wait at
rendezvous spots for as much as twelve hours just to make sure they did
not miss Cave Dog. It could be speculated that this was one of
the most dedicated support crews ever assembled. They were willing
to hike through the night and the storms and wait for long hours in the
midst of dense black and deer flies to ensure that the show goes on.
Originally, Dacks Dog and Iron Dog were going to meet
Cave Dog at the Flowed Lands. Now Rad Dog and Groove Dog
were going to split, one covering the Flowed Lands and the other
to meet at their original rendezvous at the low point between Marshall
and Iroquois. Both preferred the longer hike than to waiting
in the black flies. The only way to settle the matter was a
rock-paper-scissors contest, best two out of three. First round
- both had rock. Next round Rad Dog scissors, Groove Dog rock.
Next, Rad Dog paper, Groove Dog scissors. And so it was decided.
The provisions were divided with Rad Dog taking more weight and
taking the shorter route.
New Friends at the Flowed Lands:
Upon arrival at the Flowed Lands Dam, Rad Dog met the Swaggard
Bunch. Groove Dog had the only water filter pump. Steve,
a soon to be Eagle Scout, kindly pumped more water for Rad Dog.
The Swaggard Bunch from Wisconsin and Ohio offered Midwestern
hospitality, sharing the Flowed Lands Lean To with Rad Dog as he waited
for Cave Dog. Rad Dog set up a bug tent inside the wooden lean
to shelter. The whole crew escaped the black flies and mosquitoes
inside the net while Mary cooked a pasta and sausage dinner, which was
generously shared with Rad Dog. When Cave Dog arrived, the
Swaggard Bunch donated Gatorade and two oranges. The second orange
was eaten by Cave Dog on the top of Marcy. The Swaggard Bunch
are: Joanne, Clayton, Jessica, Elizabeth, Steve, Kurtis, Cindy,
and Mary. Rad Dog was grateful to have a hot meal after the lack
of food at the start. While waiting at the Flowed Lands, Rad Dog also met
a group of Boy Scouts from Tennessee. They had read about Cave
Dog in Outside Magazine and offered moral support.
Meanwhile, Cave Dog was having difficulty keeping the pace up
on Marshall as he passed through the usual time that he would go to
bed. By the time he reached Groove Dog at the height of land
in the pass between Marshall and Iroquois, he was glad to find the
need to wait fifteen minutes for his hot meal to be finished. This
gave him his first of but few naps during the record attempt. Groove
Dog added to his reputation as a wonderful backwoods chef as he fed
Cave Dog tuna casserole. Groove Dog spent the night on the
pass, joining up with the Uphill Lean To support team the next morning.
A Cold Night to Remember:
At this time, a large group of Adog, Base Dog, Gold Dog,
Slo Dog, and Ski Dog had amassed at Marcy Dam. The clear night
had drop the temperatures dramatically. As Cave Dog's slower
time on Marshall had pushed back their rendezvous, they ended up spending
the entire night trying desperately to keep warm.
Iron Dog's hip was beginning to really hurt; so, Iron Dog and
Dacks Dog cached their sleeping bags and tent on the trail up to
the Flowed Lands to lighten their load and make better time. About
half an hour after Cave Dog left, Iron Dog and Dacks Dog arrived
with more supplies. At the Flowed lands, Dacks and Rad Dogs practically
emptied Iron Dog's pack so that she could continue.
Rad, Iron, and Dacks Dogs then continued to the Uphill Lean To arriving
about 3:30 am. Dacks Dog made oatmeal and cocoa. Unfortunately,
now Iron, Dacks, and Rad Dogs had to share one thermorest, one sleeping
bag, and a space blanket inside the bug tent. They shared stories
and jokes and were thankful that the black flies do not partake in night
activities. Only mosquitoes like the darkness. They were also
rejoicing for the warm evening, but that would not last long. As the
night wore on, the temperatures continued to drop. Iron Dog got especially
cold. In the middle of the night, she could feel Dacks Dog shivering,
but never a complainer, Dacks Dog jumped up in her soggy boots and pumped
some water. Iron Dog was impressed at how tough Dacks and Rad Dog
were that night. The group only slept about two hours. Groove
Dog made good time from the pass, joining up at the Uphill Lean To in the
Meanwhile, Cave Dog was rejuvenated by his nap and a full
belly. He picked up the pace and in a just thin shirt, he never
noticed the cold temperatures that the idle support crew was suffering
through. Atop Wright, Cave Dog saw one of the most spectacular
sunrises in his life. It started with a fiery red blaze that lit
up distant clouds like torches and trended to a nice pale pink.
After the rendezvous at Marcy Dam, Ski Dog caught up with
Cave Dog on his way back down Phelps and again on his way back down
Table Top and yet once more on his way down Colden. These mountains
would go by like clockwork like no others in the challenge because
Ski Dog was always there to hand off some more food or clothes. Unfortunately,
the black flies were at it again and Ski Dog had to walk in circles
as she waited at the bottom of each peak. In fact, the provisioning
at the bottom of Table Top had to be done on the move to keep ahead
of the black flies. The views atop the peaks were once again spectacular
The Uphill Lean To team was not able to make contact with
Base Camp and started to make plans on their own according to long range
plans sketched out during the orientation meeting a couple days earlier.
They split up while Iron Dog found a bit of solace in the warmth
of Rad Dog's sleeping bag. She stayed to feed Cave Dog some spaghetti.
Cave Dog told her she looked tired, but she never alluded to her
problems. In a flash he was off again to summit Cliff. Iron
Dog attempted to take a nap in the black flies for she had no mind saving
bug jacket. After reprovisioning him again at the culmination of
Cliff, Iron Dog picked up the heavy group gear and exited through Hanging
Spears Falls. She loved that hike back. All of the tiny falls
and brooks that they had followed the night before were full of life and
beautiful during the day. She found herself at peace and happy. As
she hiked, her hip limbered up and felt better. She picked up the
cached gear and whistled the whole way down.
Iron Dog took the Geo back to Base Camp. It was on empty.
It rattled, shook, and clicked. Rad and Groove Dog had warned
her that the Geo was acting acharacteristically bad. Unfortunately,
they did not have time to do anything about it. She zapped herself
putting a loose spark plug wire back on and added a quart of oil. There
are no gas stations in the southern High Peaks Region. Desperate
to find the nearest gas station, she flagged down some nice and informative
people. As she took off the gas cap, the gas line gasped for air
as if taking a deep sigh of relief. This gas station put her in
unfamiliar territory. However, everyone at the gas station was
nice and accommodating. She was able to follow another customer
until she was back on track. At Base Camp, she took a couple hours
nap and woke up at two in the morning to start her next hike with Roque
At the same time, Dacks Dog, Groove Dog, and Rad Dog hiked up
to Lake Tear of the Clouds, headwater for the Hudson River, and pumped
water. Dacks Dog summitted Skylight while Rad and Groove Dogs
summitted Marcy, the high point for the State of New York. On
the bushwhack from Redfield to Skylight, Cave Dog was heard on the
radio singing "swimming in the trees" to the tune of Singing in
the Rain , which spurred on a whole series of tunes over the walkie
talkies that lightened up the mood.
At the summit, cell phone contact was made. Dingo Dog
had arrived at Little Haystack. He had one of the older radios
that does not have an LCD monitor, making it difficult to set the channel.
Unfortunately, he would wait all day on Little Haystack without
direct communication with Cave Dog. Now in contact with Base Camp,
Groove Dog realized he was not needed at Little Haystack. He then
left Marcy and hiked out at The Garden to pick up support at the Dix
Range. Dacks Dog met Cave Dog on Redfield and Rad Dog was there
On Marcy, Cave Dog ate a small can of King Oscar sardines,
an orange donated by the Swaggard Bunch, pecans, a potato with cheese,
and water. Cave Dog ate inside a bug jacket. After changing
clothes and cleaning glasses, Cave Dog was off to do a long string of peaks
culminating at the northern end of the Great Range's high peaks.
The weather on the first two days was incredible, providing wonderful
views at every opportunity. Now the weather was becoming hazy,
an ominous foretelling of future difficulties. The views from now
on would be of mere figments of mountains and thick clouds. The wet
conditions seemed to reduce the black flies and bring out even more toads.
In fact, Cave Dog would see more toads on this challenge than can
be retold. Meanwhile, Dacks Dog had no rain on Skylight. On
Marcy, the wind was moderate with intermittent rain then sun. Thankfully,
it did not rain while Cave Dog was on the summit. The American Indian
name for Marcy translates to "cloud splitter", which seemed appropriate
The descent from Marcy was hard on Rad Dog's feet.
Dacks Dog met him at Four Corners. Rad Dog's hips,
knees, ankles, and metatarsalphalangeal joints ached with each step.
Dacks Dog took some of Rad Dog's weight from his pack. The
lack of sleep, inconsistent food, and miles hiked were quickly catching
up with Rad Dog. Dacks Dog gave him some GU for quick energy,
but Rad Dog was beyond GU. They reached the Uphill Lean To about
8:00 pm and decided to spend the night and hike out the next morning.
Both took a power sleep and were much fresher in the morning.
Dingo Dog was there at Little Haystack and Sea Dog was able
to get away from the support vehicle during this twenty one mountain
traverse to meet Cave Dog atop Gothics. Everything went well until
Cave Dog left Sea Dog for Sawteeth. Just as the night before, as
the skies darkened, Cave Dog had trouble keeping up the pace. The
route doubling back to Gothics felt intolerably long. Sea Dog claimed
that his bug jacket was a matter of survival as he waited for Cave Dog
to meander through trail and consciousness on his way back. By the
time he reached Sea Dog again atop Gothics, he was having trouble keeping
clear headed and asked Sea Dog to give him a fifteen minute nap. Miraculously,
this short nap gave Cave Dog an intense boost of energy and the quick
succession of peaks in the Great Range were fun and energizing. Much
to Cave Dog's surprise, the new ladder on the north side of Armstrong had
been installed. He did not need to jump down the cliff as he had
during training. The full moon silhouetted the undulating scenery
seen from the Great Range. It was inspiring and fun. Unfortunately,
the good effects of the nap wore off on the descent to the Johns Brook
Lodge were Dingo and Sea Dogs were waiting for him. Cave Dog caught
a quick bite to eat on the porch and headed up for Big Slide.
Cave Dog was having an unusually difficult time following
the trail up Big Slide as it periodically crossed over the brook.
When the sun came up, miraculously Cave Dog's energy rebounded
and the tortures of the night before were forgotten.
The day before, Cave Dog had summitted seventeen peaks. There
were now only eighteen peaks left, albeit longer more spread out peaks
with most of the driving for the challenge. Cave Dog was now feeling
great once more and decided to increase the pace to make an eighteen mountain
push for the finish. This would prove to be a strategic mistake
as the increased impact to his joints and feet were brutalizing. It
was especially unfortunate that he chose Big Slide to start this push.
After the sun lit up the trail, Cave Dog bounded up the second half
of Big Slide and slowly jogged down to The Garden. The many sections
of glacially smoothed, bare, and steeply descending rock on The Brothers
slammed Cave Dog's feet into the toe box of his shoes. This irritated
the soles of his feet and numbed the tips of his toes, which would come back
to haunt him.
A Fresh Dip:
Dacks Dog and Rad Dog hiked out by way of the
Hanging Spears Falls and found a pay phone to contact Base Camp.
The Dix Range was covered, and they were not expected to be needed
for a while. The two took a swim in Chapel Pond to wash off the
mountain mud. Dacks Dog had been out for two nights and Rad Dog
for three. The cool water in Chapel Pond cleaned off the mud
and helped reduce the itch from bug bites too numerous to count. Rad
Dog in particular was a favorite snack for the bugs. He had rather
severe bites on his right ankle that got infected and turned the entire
region a dark purple. After the swim, Dacks Dog and Rad Dog had
a hot meal at a diner in Keene. The warm food tasted great. Each
had a treat of a chocolate milkshake.
From now on, The Dog Team was getting a steady supply of people
thanking The Dog Team for inspiring them and bring some excitement
to the Adirondacks. Nearly all of the hikers recognized Cave
Dog on the trail and were snapping off quick photos as he passed by.
Oftentimes, their excitement could not be contained and they yelled
out in good cheer and encouragement. The website was periodically
being overloaded by hits. Emails of support were beginning to
At The Garden, Cave Dog met Slo Dog who gave him a ride to
the Ausable Club. At the Lake Road, Cave Dog jumped out to do
the long road walk to the Gill Brook Trailhead. As he took off,
he could hear the attendant about a tenth of a mile behind panicking
because Cave Dog had not signed in. Cave Dog was thankful that Slo
Dog went back to solve the problem.
Cave Dog joined up with Iron and Roque Dogs at the headwaters
of Gill Brook. Iron Dog had a wonderful nap on the rocks while
they waited for Cave Dog. Cave Dog did not spend much time as he
continued to push for Colvin and Blake, again doing a slow jog on the
downhills where terrain allowed. By the time he came back to Iron
and Roque Dog's rendezvous spot on his way to Nippletop, Cave Dog was beginning
to realize his mistake of pushing too early. The soles of his feet
were screaming and his knees, especially his right knee, were beginning
to hurt. It was now Iron Dog's turn to notice that Cave Dog was looking
tired. After leaving them, he eased off his gait to a more sustainable
pace, but unwilling to let his pangs slow him down, he would have to push
through pain for the rest of challenge.
On their way out, Roque Dog, who has done nearly three rounds
of the 46 and almost all of the trails in the High Peaks Region, told
Iron Dog that she should see some of the beautiful places this area has
to offer. So they went out by way of Indian Head. There was
a gorgeous view of Sawteeth, Gothics, and Lower Ausable Lake. They
also went down Rainbow Falls, which offered a gentle mist against their
faces as the water fell down a deep wall of rock. It was absolutely
beautiful. She was thankful for Roque Dog's knowledge and love of
the mountains. She was also thankful that her feet were dry the entire
Cave Dog had found that the left side of his tonsils was sore.
There were also several growing spots of dead tissue on his tongue.
As Cave Dog descended off of Dial in light showers,
he made dozens of attempts to reach Groove Dog at the next reprovision
spot. This was the only rendezvous during the challenge that was
not at a clearly definable location; hence, communication was key to
the meeting. They were to meet each other around 3,200 feet elevation
on the trail to Dix. As Cave Dog neared the reprovision spot,
it became clear that either Groove Dog's radio did not work or he was
not there. Being an accomplished hiker and a very dependable friend,
it seemed extremely uncharacteristic of Groove Dog to not be there. Cave
Dog began to hear distant yells. He doubled back on the trail a few
times trying to locate Groove Dog. However, every time he called out
in reply, the ambiguous yelling would stop for a few minutes. In
addition, this peculiar yelling was not conforming to The Dog Team's emergency
signal code. As he began to near the source of commotion, it became
clear it was an owner calling a pet. So, Cave Dog abandoned hope
of finding Groove Dog. It had been a long time since he was reprovisioned
by Iron and Roque Dogs. As Cave Dog reached the delightful slide
on Dix, he was getting hungry. He was not looking forward to the
famished hike over to South Dix to meet up with Dingo Dog. Then busting
out of the trees was Groove Dog with an incredible egg dish loaded with fresh
vegetables. Groove Dog's preeminence as a backcountry chef was reaching
legendary proportions. Atypical for Cave Dog, he decided to take his
third and final fifteen minute trail nap during the daylight in an attempt
to turn around his mood.
As it turned out, during Groove Dog's twelve hour wait for
Cave Dog, he had not heard radio traffic; so, he ascended Dix to see
if he could reach any other Dog Team members. Unfortunately, the
radio fell out of his hands and slipped down deep into the cracks of the
summit rock. He worked hard to try to retrieve the radio but to no
avail. Suddenly, bellowing from under the ground came in Cave Dog's
radio transmission stating that he was descending Nippletop. Groove
Dog abandoned the radio to make sure his fine meal was ready in time. After
Cave Dog passed through, Groove Dog again ascended Dix, this time with
a hand picked L shaped stick. As he was working on retrieving the
radio, a thunderclap blew in and gave Groove Dog a run for his life. The
radio is now part of the rock.
The Dog Team has always been focused around good radio communication.
Not only is good radio communication key to a well run support
crew but it is inherent to safety. Yet, now Cave Dog found himself
on top of Dix without radio contact with Dingo Dog. The lack of
radio communication would prove a focal point for the upcoming interminable
night in the Dixs.
On return to Base Camp, it was discovered that Cave Dog was
not going to finish the Dix Range before dark. Dingo Dog had
given Cave Dog his extra headlamp at Little Haystack the night before.
He had to go directly to South Dix without resupplying at Base
Camp. Now it was approaching dark and he did not have another
headlamp for Cave Dog. Therefore, Rad Dog hiked up the trail
from Elk Lake to the Slide Brook Lean To bringing an extra headlamp and
As Cave Dog summitted Hough, the weather took a dramatic
turn for the worse. Thunderclaps and lightning flashes were becoming
a constant reality. This evening, Cave Dog would eventually spend
a significant amount of time on one foot balled up in lightning position
rocking back forth trying to keep warm and swearing that he was supposed
to have left the lightning back in Colorado. The trail was becoming
particularly slick. On his descent of Hough, Cave Dog slipped and
fell down on a small stump giving him a charley horse on his left thigh
that would give him pangs for the rest of the challenge. At one point,
as Cave Dog was ascending South Dix, an enormous bolt of lightning struck
the top. A chill of adrenaline ran down Cave Dog's spine for Dingo
Dog was supposed to be on top of South Dix and there was no radio communication
to know if he was still alive. Cave Dog began running up South Dix,
yelling out for Dingo Dog. Luckily, it turned out that the lightning
bolt actually struck a secondary knob of South Dix. At the top, Dingo
Dog shot out from around the scrub trees full of life and as animated as
ever. Cave Dog was enormously relieved to see him. Unfortunately,
some miscommunication made Dingo Dog's restocking between The Garden
and Elk Lake less than satisfactory. He had no radio, scant extra
clothing, and only one headlamp. Darkness was just around the corner.
Both Cave Dog and Dingo Dog were drenched from the torrential showers.
They were both clad in just a shell, a tee shirt, and rain pants.
Dingo Dog gave Cave Dog the only headlamp and the only extra pair
of clothing, a light weight fleece vest. Dingo Dog took off for
the summit of Macomb to beat the sinking daylight and Cave Dog took off
for East Dix.
This night would prove to be one of the hardest nights of
Cave Dog's many adventures. As night took over, Cave Dog's character
recognition became deadened. He had to look at everything twice
with a steady gaze. Cave Dog once more proved his uncanny and
seemingly contradictory ability to make well thought out decisions under
states of delirium; however, it was painfully slow. It was difficult
for him to proceed fast enough to keep his water soaked body warm. On
other slow peaks, Cave Dog had found that a short transmission with other
Dog Team members would give him a sudden boost of energy, almost like
bringing him back to reality. Unfortunately, without radio communication,
he had no way of talking to others to break the monotony of the long night.
The night slowly crept along uneventfully. When he did finally
reach the summit of Macomb, he found Dingo Dog practicing various cold weather
Cave Dog wore Dingo Dog's headlamp as the two went down the
Macomb slide to the Slide Brook Lean To. Dingo Dog displayed
his proven mountaineering talent by descending the loose slide without
a light or moon. They found it fitting that the two accomplished
Colorado mountaineers would hike together the only section of the course
that was similar to a Colorado talus slope. On the herd path below
the slide, Dingo Dog stuck close to Cave Dog, blindly stepping in Cave
Dog's steps. In Cave Dog's reduced state of mind, he found it remarkable
that Dingo Dog could more easily follow the meandering herd path in the periphery
of Cave Dog's light than Cave Dog could in the direct light. This descent
slowly continued on well into the night. Cave Dog was very thankful
to have such an accomplished mountaineer as Dingo Dog with him that night.
New Friends at Slide Brook Lean To:
Originally, The Dog Team thought Cave Dog and Dingo Dog
would reach the lean to at about dusk, around 9:00 PM. Rad Dog
waited at the Slide Brook Lean To until approximately 2:40 AM when the
two arrived. Meanwhile, characteristic of Rad Dog, he made new
friends at the Slide Brook Lean To. Robert and Debbie were there
with their dog Daemon. At first, Daemon the Dog did not like
Rad Dog. After a while, they made friends and Daemon snuggled
up to Rad Dog as he rubbed Daemon's tummy. Debbie made gingerbread
in her camping oven. She also gave Rad Dog Koolaid. Cave
Dog left the Slide Brook Lean To about 2:50 AM after an uncharacteristically
calm reprovision. Cave Dog announced that this was a ten minute
respite before the final push for the finish. Now all that was left
was four sets of double summits with driving in between, which allowed
for some much needed rest. From now on Cave Dog was shooting for
an unsustainable pace. Dingo Dog continued to join Cave Dog as they
ran to the trailend, both now with headlamps. Rad Dog picked up supplies
and left about 3:00 AM.
At the trailend, Cave Dog was given chocolate chip cookies
baked by his niece, Karen LaGesse. These chocolate chip cookies
would soon become a focal point for Cave Dog's motivation to strive
for the finish. He was also given inspirational art work from
his neblings Laura, Karen, and George LaGesse.
Rad Dog followed the group to the trailhead for Giant, cheering
on Cave Dog. Slo Dog and Ski Dog stopped, on their way out
of town, but just missed Cave Dog by seven minutes. Rad Dog returned
to Base Camp for some much needed sleep. At this point, he had been
up for twenty two hours.
The spots on Cave Dog's tongue appeared to get worse every time
he drank Gatorade; so, he stopped using Gatorade.
Cave Dog pushed hard on Giant and Rocky Ridge making good
time despite having to do about as much vertical as required to go
to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. Unfortunately, Cave
Dog's pain was reaching epic proportions. He stiffened up in
the drive over and could barely walk. After about five minutes
on the trail, an incredible relief hit Cave Dog and he was able to get
a full range of motion from his joints again. However, on the
descents each step felt like a blowtorch was being fire on the soles of
his feet and his knees were beginning to show more signs of the strain.
The pain had a bizarre nature since it was caused by the conscious
choice of continuing to take more excruciating steps. Yet, Cave Dog
jogged down nearly all of the descents on this mountain group anyway. Dingo
Dog showed up in good cheer just as Cave Dog finished up this trail.
Cave Dog's joints once again stiffened after the next drive
to Cascade and Porter. This time the seemingly magical relief
took fourteen minutes to suddenly appear. Iron Dog met Cave Dog
at the junction between Cascade and Porter and the well known photographer,
Nancie Battaglia or Two Dog, snapped off some quick shots of Cave Dog near
the top of Cascade. Iron Dog had a great night's sleep and her sneakers
on. She felt full of energy again and enjoyed the vast views on top
of Cascade. Rad Dog had planned to meet Iron Dog, but he needed
more sleep. Rad Dog got to the Cascade trailhead about ten minutes
after Cave Dog had started. Ed Dog and Sea Dog said there was no
need for Rad Dog to go up the trail to meet Cave Dog on the decent, as
Iron Dog had everything well covered. Rad Dog returned to Base Camp.
Cell phone contact from Cascade to Base Camp indicated that Cave Dog
was having joint pain. In the couple minutes it took for Iron Dog to
reprovision Cave Dog at the trail junction, Cave Dog once again stiffened
up. This time the complete relief would not come as he hobbled all
the way to Porter and back. During the next Iron Dog reprovision,
Cave Dog walked in place as he ate and drank, so that he would not stiffen
up again. Iron Dog followed Cave Dog down and he was able to get in
some slow jogging in the latter part of the trail. She asked
him what he wanted on top of Whiteface. He said the only thing he
wanted at the finish line was a chair.
Rad Dog returned to the Cascade trailend with enteric coated
aspirin but Cave Dog refused to take medicine during competition. After
a second day of periodic rainstorms, Cave Dog had developed blisters that
were engulfing entire toes. Ed Dog lanced the blisters in an attempt
to stop their growth. Cave Dog had said he was thinking of ice cream.
So, Rad Dog drove to Lake Placid to get Adirondack Bear Claw and
Black Cherry flavored Stewart's ice cream, ready for Cave Dog. Unfortunately,
in the confusion of the fast turn arounds between mountain groups, Cave
Dog would not find out about the ice cream for several days. The homemade
chocolate chip cookies made by Cave Dog's niece were a godsend. This
would be all that Cave Dog would eat on the remaining drives. Hiker,
Dan Yokum, saw Cave Dog on the trail between Cascade and Porter. He
waited at the trailhead to cheer on Cave Dog.
Ed Dog gave Cave Dog a massage during the drive from Cascade
and Porter to Street and Nye. This relieved Cave Dog's cramping
and he felt completely loose as he set out for his fortythird and fortyfourth
peaks. Dacks Dog was at the junction between Street and Nye waiting
for Cave Dog. More rain came, filling the trail with water and mud.
Cave Dog hiked nearly all of this trail in wet shoes as he had
for many of the hikes during the last two days of the challenge. Cave
Dog was having difficulty keeping focused; so, The Dog Team began telling
jokes on the radios, which was a big help. For some reason, Cave
Dog could not communicate with Dacks Dog, yet Ed Dog could reach both of
them. Ed Dog became an impromptu dispatch on the long ascent. When
Dacks Dog found out that Cave Dog was having difficulties, she descended
down and hiked the rest of the way with Cave Dog. Having Dacks Dog
to break the intense monotony of sleepy and muddy trails was much appreciated
by Cave Dog. Much of this hike was highlighted by torrential downpours
and distant thunder.
On the descent back to the Adirondack Loj, Cave Dog was no longer
able to lift his legs over the hundreds of fallen logs over the trail.
He would have to stop and carefully throw his legs one at
a time over the logs oftentimes using his arms to lift his legs. Rad
Dog went up the trail to meet Cave and Dacks Dogs on the descent. At
times the trail resembled a creek. The trail crosses Indian Pass
Brook, which Dacks Dog was able to skip across the rocks on her ascent.
On the way out, the brook was knee deep in places. Rad Dog
met the two across the river. Cave Dog was on an energy low. Rad
Dog told corny jokes to keep Cave Dog moving. The false information
that the chocolate chip cookies were eaten up sent Cave Dog's morale plummeting.
He had been using those cookies as motivation to continue. As
they approached the trailend, Rad Dog gave The Dog Team howl. Ed
Dog and Sea Dog returned the howls. When Cave Dog heard the howls,
his pace doubled. The howls became louder, and Cave Dog increased
the pace to a jog. The team reached the trailhead and whisked off
to the final two peaks with Cave Dog unconsciously stuffing cookies in
his mouth as Ed Dog massaged his beaten legs.
Rad Dog and Iron Dog returned to Base Camp to get a folding
chair for Cave Dog to use at the finish. While at Base Camp
with a two mile range radio, Iron Dog was able to make contact with Ed
Dog who was at the summit of Whiteface about ten miles away.
Most of The Dog Team and some spectators were assembled
for the last trailhead at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.
Cave Dog had such a hard time on Street and Nye it was decided
that Dacks, Herb, and Groove Dogs were going to make the final two
ascents with Cave Dog. Since Cave Dog was going to have company for
the rest of the challenge, he did not carry anything. He told The
Dog Team that he did not know what he had left but that he was going to
"dig deep and see what he could find". They started out with a slow
jog up the mountain. Cave Dog's right knee was pounding with pain
and his feet felt like they had no skin left, just raw meat and fired nerve
endings. Each step was a whole body pain experience. Yet, he
was now completely focused on the final goal, the summit of Whiteface. The
Dog Team followed along and made light talk in an attempt to try to break
through the intensity.
Much to Cave Dog's surprise, as he reached the top of Marble
Mountain, there was a sudden, complete, and total relief of all pain.
To The Dog Team's surprise, Cave Dog took off in full stride and
none of them could catch up. Herb and Dacks Dogs returned to the
trailhead and only Groove Dog continued. In this unexpected turn of
events, for the first time during the event, Cave Dog did not have a radio.
Neither did Groove Dog.
They pushed on as the final leg of this incredible journey
was growing into epic proportions. Downpours unloaded an enormous
amount of water from the skies and thunder reminded them of the serious
nature of the mountains. As Cave Dog turned on to the Esther herd
path, he realized that he was going to be caught after dark without a headlamp
or moon. He was also in just a tshirt and soaked through and through.
He gave out a vigorous yell and in the distance he could hear Groove
Dog yell back. A tremendous relief hit Cave Dog to know that the
faithful Groove Dog was once more pulling an enormous burden for the effort.
The herd path to Esther was a meandering pond. At one
point, for ten steps Cave Dog's left leg was up to midcalf in mud and
his right leg was up to the knee. It was a struggle just to lift
his leg out, only to see it get swallowed up again. Cave Dog periodically
yelled out and Groove Dog could always be heard in the distance. By
the time Cave Dog reached Esther, the trail was getting obscured by darkness.
Cave Dog was momentarily confused because the plaque on Esther had
been removed for repairs. He had been there many a time before,
but now there was no summit plaque. He got down on his knees and,
in the dim light, he could feel the markings on the rock where the old plaque
used to be located. Pushing to get back to the trail up to Whiteface,
Cave Dog was slamming his body into limbs and fallen logs. Just
when Cave Dog was barely able to negotiate the trail, he doubled back on
Groove Dog. Cave Dog shouted out, "I need a headlamp and fleece, now!"
In a moment, Groove Dog produced the goods and after a thirty second
stop Cave Dog was off running again.
It had been postulated that it was possible for Cave Dog's
time to come in a full day ahead of the record. Cave Dog's motivation
on this last hike was centered around this goal and at no time was it
more apparent just how close it would be then those final miles of the
ascent up Whiteface. Thousands of steps were made without any knowledge
of what could be under the surface of the water on the trail. Step
after step sank into the depths of the mud and puddles without regard.
As Cave Dog neared the final treeless ascent with just minutes left
before the goal, an intense fog was lit up by his headlamp. On many
occasions, he had to crouch down and feel ahead because he could not even
see the rock that was under his feet and cliffs lay to his left. Now,
just moments before the deadline, he could see some distant lights. He
yelled out and the crowd that had formed at the summit responded in kind.
As he approached the last fifty feet, he was stopped in his tracks by
the sudden unleashing of the blinding floodlights of the various news crews.
He dodged back and forth trying to weave through the reporters and
cameramen to get to the summit. With only fifteen feet left, he slipped
and made a final lunge on all fours for the summit. It was over. Three
days, eighteen hours, and fourteen minutes of nonstop intensity. The
record was broken by twentyfour hours and four minutes.
Not used to the fanfare, The Dog Team was taken aback at the
frenzied nature of the summit finish. Media crews and reporters
were crowded around to ask questions and get footage of the event. Cave
Dog had microphones shoved in his face and spotlights beaming down. This
frenetic finish seemed such a stark contrast to the intense but scenic
and often solitary outdoor experience they had just experienced. It
was a remarkable but odd finish to an amazing adventure.
It was now time to celebrate, party time Dog Team Style at the
home of Dacks and Brute Dogs: Brute Dog's specialty, a barbecue.
The weary pack celebrated until 2:00 AM, sleeping in late the
At the finish, Cave Dog could not believe he was completely pain
free. Not surprisingly, this would last only another five minutes.
For the rest of the night, Cave Dog's entire body was lit up
in pain. He experienced even more pain than he had when he broke
his back in five places seven years earlier. He could barely walk
and had to lean on furniture or Dog Team members to get around. During
the celebration, he fell asleep while Ed Dog massaged his legs. He
woke up periodically during the night exuding pain from every aspect
of his body. This pain would continue through the next morning
until Herb Dog came to the rescue with some herbal foot baths and Ed
Dog worked some more on his legs. After the foot baths, Cave Dog's
feet and legs swelled up to his knees. He was able to get around
a bit more and the pain was dramatically reduced, but the swelling provided
an odd internal pressure against his skin. After three days, Cave
Dog's pain was gone and he again had full range of motion. The only
pangs that persisted were a charley horse on his left thigh that lasted
a week and the nerves on the tips of his toes, especially on his right foot,
that remained deadened for a couple weeks.
The rains of the last two days would once again open up the skies
for beautiful views.
The Dog Team would spend a week cleaning up from the event. There
were many trips to the Burlington and Albany airports as the numbers
of the team slowly dwindled. The long process of updating the website
would continue for weeks to come. Cave Dog also noticed that The
Dog Team had developed a compelling maternal instinct that did not stop
at the finish line. The Dog Team could no longer keep track of the
news coverage. Reports were coming in from friends from around the
country of national radio and internet broadcasts. Groove Dog and
Cave Dog reminisced about how on the final hike on Whiteface and Esther,
they both got stuck in the same mud pit and were both skewered in the chest
by the same hidden fallen log. The Dog Team spent time swimming, canoeing,
and enjoying the splendors of the Adirondack region.
The day after the finish, Adog and Base Dog held a celebration
party for The Dog Team. The Dog Team saw themselves on the local
news broadcast. A wonderful shish kabob dinner with vegetables,
hummus, berries, wine, and cheese was enjoyed by all. Rad Dog
presented an engraved plate to Cave Dog. Cave Dog spoke about
each member of The Dog Team and presented each of them with a pictorial
book of the Adirondacks. He also presented an Adirondack Style
swinging bench seat to Adog and Base Dog for their hospitality and support
with Base Camp. Many people came to the gathering to show their appreciation
of the magnitude of the endeavor. It provided a wonderful time to
debrief and reflect on what had just transpired. Closure was now achieved.