Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

Tom Ryan

Language: English

Pages: 197

ISBN: 2:00358215

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.

Following Atticus is an unforgettable true saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, as one remarkable animal opens the eyes and heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman to the world’s beauty and its possibilities.

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told me how they already missed seeing Max around town. The once-unwanted dog had become a most-loved dog, and not just by me. In the end he got to die with the dignity and the love he didn’t know before we met. During the time we spent together, he not only found a home, he also gave me one. That was something I hadn’t counted on. When I rescued him, I didn’t realize that I was taking the first steps toward rescuing myself. J. M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, said, “We never understand how

taught me better. It turned out to be the right thing to do. We walked, talked, and laughed. Although when I say we talked, I mean we made small talk, but to me even that was a victory of sorts. There was no talk of relationships or love or of dreams achieved or deferred. It was mostly talking about what we always talked about—family. We retold many of the same old tales. I think our favorite time of each day was sitting out on the back deck in silence watching the sun drop behind the western

trail was invisible, and we pushed from cairn to cairn. At times I couldn’t see the next one, and I did my best to remember where the trail went from our two previous hikes over the Bonds. We walked sideways, with our backs turned toward the beast, and cheered on the smallest member of our group. Until the day I die, I will remember the sight of Atticus pushing through those drifts, sometimes pushing ahead of us before we could break trail for him. He surely wasn’t the biggest dog, but on that

I knew she was married, although she didn’t talk about her husband all that much. And the reporter in me, always with my radar up, had the impression that there were things Paige wasn’t telling me. It’s not that it mattered, for I cherished our conversations anyway. One day she asked, “Tell me, Tom, how does Atticus respond when you have a lady friend in your life?” I admitted there hadn’t been one in a couple of years. When he was young, I’d dated a couple of women, but the relationships never

kids. When we reached the ledges with the views to the south and west, he would simply have stood there and absorbed the wonder, and it would have shown on his face. That’s one of the reasons I so loved the White Mountains—the magic reflected in my father’s face when he was up there. He was different when he sat and gazed out at the views. He was humbled and inspired. He was peaceful. To know that I got to bring him back there through my words and my photos made me smile. And I knew that I

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