July 2 – A Trailblazer and Best Friend

Brownie Our Fateful Dog

Grand Lake to Below Ruby Mountain
15.5 miles

Dedicated to Brownie and all those that support thru-hikers

For 16 years our family was blessed with a very dedicated companion, Brownie a chocolate lab. A couple of months ago we said good-bye to him afte old age had taken over his once lean and strong body. He was the protector of my children and home and a friend to all who approached him. He was also strong in spirit, steadfast, dependable, and believe it or not a trailblazer.

Over the years Brownie managed to create trail systems on the 12 acres of our home’s property. He was a lucky dog to roam free and we were a blessed family.

Most thru-hikers do not hike alone. Usually there is a loved one, friend, or relative that is cheering them on from home, sending food and equipment resupplies, and money. My husband, Dan is that guy. He is cheerfully sending packages on time, changing and adding what is in the the boxes, and adding goodies and notes of encouragement. Brownie was my husband’s companion and always stood by his side. This summer Brownie is gone while I am away. Hard stuff to handle.

I want to send love, encouragement, and thanks to my husband and all that are being that “person” for a thru-hiker. And I want to thank Brownie for being an example to me on how to live fully and die gracefully. Happy trails old friend. You are missed.


  1. Thank you everyone for your kind words and sharing your own personal experiences. It is so healing!

  2. Yellowstone

    Hi Rockin’. I’ve been following along, not necessarily reading in order. I love this post about Brownie and Dan. You truly are blessed. Thank you for sharing your adventures. I leave this Saturday to start with Whitney and then pick up 400+ of the miles missed in 2010. Happy trails to you. Yellowstone

  3. We loved Brownie. Brownie was a lot like Dan, a faithful companion. Good luck on your adventure. We love and miss you, Christy.

    • Ahhh Brandy thank you for your kind words. Dogs really have a way of capturing hearts. Thank you for the well wishes and for commenting. Hope your family is having a super fun summer!

  4. Snakebait

    Lovely post, and a great reminder that we all interdependent to live life to the full.

    Good lessons to learn to live like brownie.

    Noel and Ulrike

  5. With a lump in my throat I type this. I can certainly sympathize with you. I love animals of all types but my chosen companions are birds. Five years ago we had four and now we have only two, with our Hasty bird passing on just a few months ago. When you give yourself to a pet, they give themselves fully to you. There is no other relationship like it and I thank God for them. I know my life is so much greater because of them. Someday when I retire I’m going to have another dog and hopefully we’ll go home to God together (and the wife too!). Christy, thanks for sharing. It was a very wonderful and thoughtful post.

  6. Sitting here in tears remembering my dog of many years. A huge part of my youth and outdoor experiences. I was never alone when exploring because he was always there with me. Sweet memories you have conjured with this one.

  7. Awww, 🙁 Brownie sounded amazing!! a true Trail companion!!

  8. Great post, you just had to make me cry didn’t you. Yes, Brownie is missed and so are you. Thanks for that, I love you Honey

  9. Laurie Black

    Maybe if Dan closes his eye’s he can hear, smell and feel Brownie by his side right now! Nice and thoughtful twist to your Journal today. Laurie


    How amazing. What a lovely tribute to your faithful comanion.

  11. Awe, so sorry to hear about Brownie. The girls will be sad as well. Brownie was such a sweetie! We saw Dan and your crew at the July 4th concert last night. So great to see everyone! Your trek sounds amazing as always. Lots of love, Leslie

    • Leslie, Dan said you are all doing fantastic and look great! Hope your summer is going well. Thank you for following along with me every summer. You are a faithful friend. Love to you and your family.

  12. Georgette Theotig

    I have had personal experience with the loss of an animal companion several times. Very difficult and a great sense of loss that never leaves. How fortunate both Brownie and you were to have been family for a time. Christy, we think of you every day out there on the beautiful trail, and send our support. Thanks to Dan for his loving support, also.

  13. As you hike and are in your own thoughts and enjoying the peace and quiet that the adventure provides, it reminds you of the blessings that you have experienced and how grateful you are of the memories of other times and places and the times you love. John

    • John, Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement. You were always a faithful friend to Brownie. Dan and I are very grateful for you.

  14. Jan Brooks

    I grew up in Colorado and hiked to many beautiful high peaks. A part of my heart will always rest in the spectacular peaks of Colorado. I have loss several rescue dogs that use to hike with me to craggy peaks. I now have a yellow Labrador who hikes with me in Montana. I love your blog……my heart goes out to you and your family for the loss of beloved Brownie.

  15. That was a tough one to read. What a wonderful tribute to both Dan and Brownie. We miss you, but are so glad your hike is going well.

  16. The Beekeeper (aka Jan aka roaming angel in bright pink hat)

    well stated! gave me chills . . . as I had to made the very difficult decision to say goodbye to my 19-year old kitty a few weeks ago. Your husband is AMAZING! as are all family/friend supporters of those who wander.

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