Monday, August 25, 2008

The Initiation of Mister B

How to break in a 6-month old dachshund to the thrills of alpine hiking

We're going WHERE?
Wake him out of his cozy dog bed, fasten the collar and leash, and tell him that you swear, you SWEAR on Maddie's prosciutto bone that he'll have the time of his life. And what better trail to work out his solid little legs than one that is named, sort of, after himself — the Sentiero dei Tedeschi, or German's Path.

In Italy a dachshund is a bassotto tedesco, coming from the word basso (short) and the italian word for german (tedesco), as the breed is originally from there. Pondering the Sentiero dei Tedeschi, you don't need to be a history buff to reason that this mountain path was once used by soldiers during World War 1.

The clincher, you may be surprised to learn, is not for the sake of the path's name, but as to how we were going to reach the starting point. Walking was an obvious option but with an altitude difference of 764 meters (2506 feet) spanning between the base town of Peio/Pejo (Trento) and the beginning of the trail at the top of the mountain, it would take forever by foot and on paws. So we did what all young puppies need to do on their initiation to alpine hiking -- we took to the air. A gondola lift would be the first half of the trip. A ski lift, or better yet, single-person chairlift would be the second. A few hikers far below us thought we were quite mad. “Isn't your dog frightened?” one woman yelled out. [Well, yeah...that's why she's staying put in my arms and not wiggling around like a worm, but then that's Maddie. She just knows when to keep her cool.] What went on between Mister B and the Moth is only between those two. All I can say is that when asked if he enjoyed the ride and was ready to do it all over again, all I got was a look that said, “Ach du scheisse!!!” — Holy SH*T!

The details for this hike can be found on MotH's description of Todeschi's path.

What goes up, must come down.

Maddie the alpine westie. She goes where no other westie has gone before.

Looking a bit worse for wear...