For as long as I can remember, my life has been filled with surprises.
Not that I’m complaining, because although the paths I followed have not been the ones I expected to take, the outcomes have been better than anything I could have hoped for.
It is with this sense of wonder that I’ve written a memoir, The Dog Who Took Me Up a Mountain, about my adventures with an Australian Terrier named Emme (pronounced “emmy”). She was responsible for my starting to hike in the hills around Aspen, Colorado. An occasional activity became a serious hobby, then blossomed into a full-blown mission. Before long, I would go on to climb every mountain over 14,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains – all fifty-eight of them. This was after not climbing my first fourteener until I was sixty-four.
I have come away from these experiences in the mountains with a deep conviction. Finding and pursuing a passion – any passion – is as important in one’s later years as it is all through life. That new-found passion for me took the form of mountain climbing with my friends and my dog. But the point of this book is to inspire readers to find passion anywhere and in anything that stirs the emotions.
My dog taught me to understand that answers and solutions can come from everywhere.
As a scientist and engineer, I had been a deep skeptic of books about inspirational pets, particularly dogs who speak. But that was before I learned how to listen, if only to a tilted head, an angry stare, a wagging tail, or some very human-like action. Emme’s enduring spirit is what finally nudged me into the chair to share her story.
Never Too Late
I was on a hike with Sir Chris Bonington, the legendary British mountaineer, writer, and lecturer. It was a great opportunity to deepen our friendship and to talk about how much the both of us loved the outdoors. Chris is famous for his mountaineering exploits. He made the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger and led the expedition that made the first ascent of the South Face of Annapurna, the biggest and most difficult climb in the Himalayas at the time. He went on to lead the expedition that made the first ascent of the Southwest Face of Everest in 1975. He has written 20 books and received a knighthood in 1996 for services to mountaineering.