One could say that Stowe Pinnacle (2,651ft feet; Stowe, Vermont) has a dog, but it would be more accurate to say that dog has the Pinnacle. At one point, not too long ago, two dogs had Stowe Pinnacle: golden retrievers Sampson and Baylor. Sadly, Baylor passed away and now there is just Sampson. If you’ve hiked the mountain you have more than likely run into Sampson (and Baylor too, if you hiked it a few years ago). By all accounts (well chronicled in local newspapers; even made the subject of a documentary film) the dogs hiked the mountain on their own, without their owners, finding their own way up and down the mountain for over a decade, in all seasons, nearly every day--often multiple times per day. The dogs were such a routine presence on the mountain that it became impossible to think of the mountain and not also think of the dogs. The rest of us? Yeah, just tourists.
Now the mountain is down to just one lord, Sampson.
Stowe Pinnacle--the mountain apart from its lord--is a wonderful, pointy knob in Vermont's Worcester Range, a ridge parallel to the crest of the Green Mountains located directly east of Mount Mansfield (the highest summit in Vermont). The open summit of the Pinnacle is an excellent place from which to observe Mansfield across the Stowe Valley. You can get to the top by way of the Stowe Pinnacle Trail, 1.8 miles one way (and you can keep going—over the Hogback and on to Mount Hunger and other peaks). Chances are excellent that you will run into Sampson along the way.
The Pinnacle is the perfect place to share with good company, lingeringly in good weather or briefly in bad—and I suspect Sampson needs our company more than ever since his companion Baylor passed away. This life has many rewards if you only look, but immortality certainly isn’t one of them. A mountain. . .a view. . .a dog. . .good company. Maybe a sunset. If that were our only reward, it might be enough.