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Tom and his dog Lola: Best friends bagging Utah peaks together

Posted at 7:31 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 21:31:06-04

Look on Google Maps and click on mountains in western Utah or eastern Nevada, and you're likely to see a picture of a furry black dog wearing a blue backpack.

That's Lola.

The photographer is Tom Gathright.

Tom is retired. He rescued Lola from the Humane Society in Chattanooga, Tennessee and they started a second life together in Cedar City, surrounded by mountains to climb.

"Never gonna run out of mountains," he said.

Tom leaves descriptions of his hikes on Google Maps to help the next hikers — and Lola's the star.

"I've hiked about 560 distinct peaks. Lola's done about 520 or so with me," he said. "She's never complained about a hike."

"Somebody dropped Lola off at the shelter, and I'm blessed to have her as my hiking companion," he added.

Wondering what's in the doggy backpack? Lola carries her own water. Tom carries his stuff.

"It would be cheating if she carried something for me," Tom said.

Tom says Lola is always the star because he doesn't take selfies. On their last trip, at the base of the mountain, some other hikers came down and while they talked with Tom, Lola walked up.

"That's Lola! You're Tom!" the hikers said.