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Add story about walking Vader

Shawn Webb 1 year ago
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# An Adventure Thirty Years In The Making

Back when I was a young warthog, at the age of eleven years old, I
went on my first fifty-mile hike with the Boy Scouts, even though I
was still a Cub Scout. My parents were going through financial
difficulties, and they couldn't afford to leave me home with a
babysitter for a week in the summer while my brother and my dad hiked
the dangerous week-long journey.

Being the typical nerdy pipsqueak at such a young age, I weighed only
eighty pounds. My backpack weighed forty, and increased each day as my
brother sneaked small rocks into it with each opportunity.

The goal was to hike around ten miles each day, set up camp, eat,
sleep. Rinse and repeat for five days until you get to around fifty
miles. It rained four out of the five days straight. I consistently
and understandably brought up the rear. My boots were too big and
ended up giving me huge blisters, large enough that I couldn't cross
the rivers myself--I had to be carried across so as not to infect the
gaping wounds on my feet.

We set up camp in the rain. We slept with wet clothes. We woke up,
prepared breakfast, and packed up in the rain. Four days of this
miserable condition.

On the fifth day, the mosquitos came out. The size of your last thumb
knuckle, they would swarm in groups of twenty or thirty to feast on
your delicious arm. Get comfy, perhaps give them names, because if you
wipe them off, another group will come immediately and resume where
the last (formerly) hungry group left off.

I hated that experience. I loathed it. All the other kids had at least
a hundred pounds on me, so shouldn't their packs be heavier? Their
weight distribution ratios are much lower than mine, after all!

Fast forward to Sunday, 02 June 2019. I'm now a bit over thirty years
old. I have a seven-month-old goldendoodle puppy aptly named Vader--
Lord Vader when he's good; Darth Vader when he's bad. On Monday, he
would go under the knife to become a eunuch (nerdy dad joke: "a unix
guru forcing a defenseless animal to join the ranks of the eunuchs.").
Today, Sunday, would be my last day to go on an adventure with him for
a little while. So we go for a walk.

It was a beautiful day out. Partially cloudy in just the right way to
keep the day bright, but prevent the sun from burning my eyes out of
their sockets. It was supposed to rain later on in the evening.

We walked half way through our eight-mile adventure and the rain
started just as a small trickle. "Not bad," I thought. "I've walked
through worse. Let's just keep going."

Five minutes later, the heavens opened. Things got moist. The rain
came down so thick, that I could not see more than ten feet away. In
less than one second, we became drenched from head to toe. I learned
just how much my dog loves water.

Immediately, my mind flashed back to my experience as a Cub Scout,
hiking the Bob Marshall Wilderness. In the moment, I hated the
experience. As an adult, I look back at it fondly, cherishing the

I know Vader's just a dog, but why is it that he can enjoy a similar
experience at seven months old, and I hated mine at eleven years old?

As a side note, I really cannot wait to take Vader camping and hiking.
He's going to love it! I want to see him tackle the ocean waves during
the day, then cuddle with him in a tent at night. If you ever want to
follow along with our adventures with Lord Vader, keep an eye on this
ever-expanding photo album: