The first time I took my best friend up on a mountain, he was a shivering puppy in the snow.
That was back when we were living in Casper. We went up there some Thanksgiving with friends and returned from Casper Mountain with a 10-week old potato tucked into my coat.
Years later, he’s the hiking partner I trust the most. He loves to stick his head out the window on the rides up and pumps his little legs as far as they’ll take him.
I’ve received comments from multiple people over the years, some even in Pinedale, who ask if he handles the hike well. I’m here to tell you, he handles it better than I do most times. Yes, he’s a purebred Pembroke Welsh corgi and he’s an avid hiker. I typically carry a water bottle for us to share along the way but he prefers puddles and streams. And the only time I’ve ever had to pick him up on a hike was once to Sacred Rim a few years ago when he didn’t think he could make it over a creek by himself.
His full name is Archibald Boris Oltmans. Well, technically, his full name is Archibald Boris Oltmans-Rae Jepsen, but the first vet he went to didn’t seem humored. In fact, I remember them looking as unimpressed as a dog that had just been shown a card trick. And when I saw Carly Rae Jepsen in concert in Salt Lake a few years back I didn’t get to tell her my dog partially shares a last name with her. It just doesn’t come up casually in conversation.
Anyway, when he was that little stout pup, it was funny to call him “Archibald.” It seemed regal and fun to mumble to myself as his stubby legs tried sprinting around the apartment. Since those days when he could fit in my palm, he’s grown and developed into the independent, adventurous love-hound you may have encountered on our walks around town. He’s fully grown into an “Archie.”
For the record, he’s not named after the Riverdale character. That came after he came into my life. Possibly more embarrassingly, he’s named after one of my favorite songs by a Canadian band. It was the first song I played in the car with him as two friends and I returned from South Dakota. And there’s a line in that song I've thought about around this time every year when we’re out in the mountains:
“During the summer take me sailing out on the Atlantic,
I won’t set my sights on other seas, there is no need to panic.”
Thanks for sticking by me, partner. You’ve been nothing short of a blessing in my life and being your doggy dad is the highest honor of my life thus far.
Now please stop eating things you find on the sidewalk.