16 October 2012
We met in a carpark, a sunny day, I remember.
We hit if off immediately and I think it was love at first sight, at least for me.
For the next month we became inseparable and travelled on a road trip of the West Coast of USA.
It was a magical time, intense and unfortunately too brief.
Now I miss him...
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Rockit is just like the Foof, my first love; he is the legacy that my pooch left behind.
Extremely well trained and with great intuition Rockit backpacked with me in the Sierra (East side) to elevations just shy of 12000ft.
My preferred territory is above tree line where the vistas are only interrupted by high peaks.
There is a strange sense of vulnerability when sleeping in windswept high valleys; I had to keep a watchful eye on the weather or find myself camped for the night on exposed terrain with wind battering the flimsy fabric walls of the tent. Luckily the weather in the Sierras usually holds until late in the season as it did for me.
I huffed and puffed to reach the high valley under the load of a backpack with supplies for 3 nights: I am a "flatlander" these days and my legs see very little action. Rockit however seemed unaffected by his backpack and trotted ahead scouting the route.
It was after Labour Day and most of the crowd have dissipated. We did come across however a party of maybe 10 with about 7 dogs, all coming back from a camp up high. It is wonderful that the regulators in US have set aside remarkable areas where dogs are welcome, where owners of trusted canine friends can enjoy the outdoors, together.
I sat there, stunned by the beauty of this landscape and tried to absorb it all in, and "upload it" to my mental memory. It is in the high mountains that I feel the most serene, excited and peaceful at the same time.
Laying on my back I spent hours just watching the clouds rush push the peaks to then fizzle out into thin air. As evening approached they blushed, first a faint pink to full deep red as darkness approached. I slipped into my sleeping bag and Rockit borrowed my light down jacket. There was just a hint of frost in the morning.
Not extremely fond of the water Rockit would however leap onto boulders like a goat. He followed us without hesitation sharing the adventure that Edgar and myself wanted to experience.
Rockit added his curious and playful spirit to our mountain trek to then keep guard at night: we were in bear country and he could alert us of unwanted visitors.
There is special bond between myself and Australian Sheppards; a breed of exceptional intuition. Owners of these dogs know what I am talking about.
I chocked back a couple of tears as we parted at Los Angeles international airport; Edgard pulling back into traffic, Rockit perched out of the window watching me disappearing into the stream of people.