Making new friends and history at 23,000 feet

Here’s another of those stories I had earmarked some time back for inclusion on this site and missed, yet it kept coming back to me as one of the best stories I had read in a very long time. 

American adventurer Don Wargowsky had been training his entire life for a chance to climb some of the highest peaks in the world, and in November 2018 he set off with all the requisite gear and team he needed to conquer the Nepalese peak of Baruntse. 

Little did he know that if he wanted to make the climb, all he really needed was a furry 4-legged companion. 

Somewhere along he way, Wargowsky was adopted by a cross between a Tibetan mastiff and a Himalayan sheepdog. No one knows where she came from, how old she is, if she belonged to anyone. The dog he eventually named Mera was right there at his side the entire trek, no special gear weather gear, no climbing gear of course, (though it would have been interesting to see if they were able to outfit here with a proper pair of boots), just meandering her way up the mountain to keep him company and make history in the process. 

As far as anyone can recall, this is the highest elevation ever reached by a dog, and the first time one has ever cracked a summitt. 

Mera stayed by Dan’s side the entire trip, even sleeping with him at night as he made his way up the mountain. Hey, they say dogs can sense when they’re needed. No doubt Mera knew this was her purpose here in life. 

Wargowsky headed home after his adventure, and Mera stayed home, to be adopted by the base camp manager no doubt believing her to be good luck. Me? I would have broken rules and shifted the ocean tides to bring her home to the US. But then again, the Himalayas are the only home she’s ever known, and it would appear she will live out her days among the splendor of what is stark yet beckoning terrain. 

Her name was changed to Baru in honor of the peak she mastered, the one she will look at the rest of her days and perhaps think, “Yeah, that’s the one those humans wouldn’t have been able to climb if it weren’t for me”. 

No one is arguing, Baru. 

Good girl. 

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