“Ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime, bud?!” I thought to myself looking at the little rambunctious puppy in front of me. I was about to take off for a six-month action-packed, dream trip to Alaska to film Tiny Home Adventure Season Two in my newly remodeled Ford E-350 4×4 van. There was a lot riding on this trip and I hoped Kicker would love being on the road and enjoy the adventures as much as I do.
Just three months earlier I had been involved in a life-shattering car accident on the way back from filming Season One. I was a few hours from home when I fell asleep at the wheel, driving my truck camper into the back of an 18-wheeler. I lost everything – my home, my truck, all of my belongings and the thing I cared most about in the world, my pup Booter. All of this was gone because I was too stubborn to pull over and get some sleep. I thought my life was over but suddenly hundreds of people from around the globe who had been following along to Tiny Home Adventure reached out with support and words of encouragement. At a time I needed it most, they told me I inspired them to live more adventurous lives and they wanted to see me back on my feet. GoPro reached out and picked up Season Two and my other sponsors helped me get into the new 4×4 van. An amazing firefighter from the scene of the accident breeds goldens and wanted to help me heal by giving me a new adventure puppy – enter Kicker Dog.
Flash forward and Kicker experiences a lot of firsts on our Alaskan adventure. I started introducing him to all of my favorite action packed activities right away. He bundled up in my jacket and came sledding and snow kiting through deep pow, his ears floating in the crisp breeze. Backcountry snowboarding is probably one of Kicker’s favorite activities to join in on. From the first time I took him out he loved chasing after me and charging through the freshly fallen snow. It amazes me how well he can keep up at times! After a long day playing in the snow, Kicker and I both love stripping down and climbing into the nearest hot spring we can find. He was a little apprehensive of the water at first but once he got in he loved splashing around. Introducing him to new experiences in a safe and fun way is key to raising an adventure dog.
One of my favorite adventures with him would have to be when we took a train to the Spencer Glacier. We climbed into a pack raft and floated 12 miles back to the van, stopping along the way to play on some icebergs. Kicker was tucked in between my legs and loved taking in all the beautiful sights (and jumping off for a brisk swim now and again). The long day tired him out and by the end of it he was passed out with his head hanging over the side of the raft while I paddled us home.
Overall, I think one of the most rewarding experiences of the trip was watching Kicker grow into the adventure dog he is today. I got to watch him grow from a clumsy puppy to a strong and brave dog that sends it just as much as I do. The nights spent with him nuzzled into my neck inside my sleeping bag in the van are some of my favorite memories of our time in Alaska.