The summit after reaching the ridgeline
Waiting at the trailhead, I wondered where the heck Dave and Dozer are. They were right behind me a few miles back and I had been waiting over an hour now. Maybe they missed the turnoff for the parking lot and continued on the trail the wrong way. I thought I saw Dave walk by, could he have not looked to his right and noticed the bridge and parking lot? Turns out, that’s exactly what happened. I put Maverick back in the kid carrier, crossed the bridge and headed the opposite direction of the mountain we just climbed. Not far along, I hit a hiker. I asked him, “Did you see another hiker in yellow and a big dog”? He answers, “I didn’t see a dog but I did see the guy and he had some strange sheep skin over his shoulder”. Huh? What could that be? Turns out, he was caring the dog pack upside down over his shoulder. The pack bottom is covered in dog hair. Not far from the hiker, Dave responded to my yells for him. He explained that near the end of the hike, Dozer laid down on the trail as if exhausted. Dave says he basically pulled Dozer by the collar over a mile down the trail. Finally Dave had to leave him at the river because he wouldn't go any further. Dave took Maverick, and I continued up the trail, finding dozer in the river where he was left. It took me an hour to motivate him to walk the quarter mile back to the trailhead. At times, I was dragging his 130 pound limp body down the trail. He could not be carried. You can not pick up 130 pounds of limp weight off the ground.
By Monday afternoon, he still wasn't improving and I began to think he might be in trouble. He was hurting somewhere on his body, I just couldn't tell where. I got off work and took him to the vet. I had to drive my truck into my backyard and up to the back porch so he could use the steps to get into the back of the truck. After dumping a bucket of water on him, he was able to get enough energy to get up and I quickly walked him up the steps into the truck.
The vet didn't know what was wrong. He didn't have any broken bones so I was feeling better but it didn't explain why his entire body was limp and affected. They gave him a weeks worth of pain killers plus antibiotics and that was all they could do. They also took some blood for analysis. Tuesday morning, the vet called with what they found. Dozer had an extremely high white blood cell count meaning he was fighting some sort of infection and stress. The vet also said a few more things and then it hit me, I knew what had happened.
Dozer was bitten by a Rattlesnake. It explained everything that happened on the trail. His behavior was sudden and at the very point he was off the trail. Looking back, I may have heard the sound of him screaming when he was bit. Dave was able to drag him by the collar the last mile but by the time dozer was 1000 feet from the car the poisonous venom had circulated throughout his whole body. When I had found dozer in the river, he had been soaking for 30 minutes. I remember his eyes looked like death as if he saw a ghost and was looking straight through me. (Later I learned a dogs pupils will dilate and the eyes will look completely black). Dozer never actually looked at me, it was more of a blank stare.
Had I known, I would have got him help sooner. For 2 days I racked my brain trying to figure out what was wrong with him. I even made the comment of a snake bite to the vet on Monday but I was just giving possible scenarios to him. He was too busy telling me I need to take it easy on dozer..."he's not a young pup any more". There was a somewhat confrontations argument in his office as I explained what dozer is capable of and that this would have been an easy trip for him. Anyway, by Thursday, dozer was getting up every few hours and became interested in living. On Friday, he even ventured into the woods behind our house.
Update: A year or more later, I was in a city park when Dozer encountered another snake. He bolted and ran a full mile home without stopping. I just followed him in my truck on the city streets. He did not look back.
Mt. David and "What's wrong with my dog"?
So What Happened to Dozer?
Maverick and Dozer
Looking South and the trail
Looking SE, toward Lake Wenatchee and Dirtyface Pk.
Looking North from the summit
Looking toward Glacier Peak
Another summit for Maverick
Looking down at the trail from false summit area
This is a great mountain climb everyone can enjoy. The trail is a gut buster but it is a trail and it goes all the way to the top. I even carried my son up the whole way making one heavy backpack...so no complaining.
Find your way to Lake Wenatchee, continue past the lake up the White River Road. When you get to the end of the road, you'll find parking and a few trailheads.
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,200 feet
Summit Elevation: 7,431 feet
Access: Good gravel
Cross the White River over the big bridge. The trail splits on the other side, go left where there should be a sign saying Mt. David trail. After about a mile of hiking and little elevation gained, the trail splits again. Go right and begin your climb. After 3000 feet of switchbacks you'll find yourself on the ridge enjoying a nice trail north toward the summit. The closer you get to the top, the more you begin to ask how a trail goes all the way to the top. In one place, the trail was blasted out of the rock. On top, you'll find old remains of a lookout and all the great views that go along with it.
An L-4 cab was built in 1933, it was burned in 1974 with the help of a helicopter to remove debris. Jim Currie, a lookout in 1948 said "whoever got that summer assignment was the aristocrat of the lookouts. He could boast he had the meanest station in the district." The outhouse was designed by Magnus Bakke in the 1930s, the hole is 500 feet deep and is still there today.
Crossing a ledge
Mt. David Outhouse
Mt. David Lookout 1970
Looking North 8-22-1934
Looking Southeast 8-22-1934
Looking Southwest 8-22-1934