10 ~ June 2022
The dogs and I climbed a steep slope to a level spot with aspen groves, wet meadows, and pine and spruce forests. I discovered this location a few years ago by studying topo maps. I didn't see anyone on this trip until I got back down to near where the truck was parked, which has occurred every time up there except one.
I could tell that Beau sensed something was outside the tent several times during the night. At 4am he started barking. Good on him, that he was listening. I had not heard a thing. I opened the tent zipper a crack and shined outside with my flashlight. When I was sure nothing was close to the tent, I let Beau out. He went straight for what was out there in the darkness, barking and bluff charging. He stopped short of the eyeshine I could see, and kept up his barking. Whatever it was looked at Beau for a couple of seconds, and then moved off. My feeling is it might have been a moose, based on the height of the eyeshine, and how far apart the eyes were. A bear would have eyes closer together. Also, that whatever it was did not move off right away is indicative of moose.. Elk are a lot quicker to take off. And, I had seen several piles of moose scat the afternoon before in the wet meadow that was only about 100 yards downhill from our camp. I was very happy how Beau handled it - giving the intruder notice that it was too close to the tent, and to move away. What a good dog to not go chasing after it
I had my alarm set for 2:30 am to get up and take milky way photos. But at 1am and 2am when I looked out clouds had covered up stars, so I turned the alarm off. When I got up at light (5am) I found out that fog had engulfed the mountains where we were.
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I recently shared a very impressive tiktok video from backpacker and fitness instructor Margaux Alverez, lifting her heavy backpack over her shoulders and onto her back. I wanted to see if I could do that as well. My super critical daughter would call that humblebragging, but I think it is just straight bragging,for a 70 year-old backpacker.
Now that the school year is done there won’t be any storytelling in classes until next September. That means I spend even more time alone. I am mostly ok with that - it has just turned out that way. I have dated quite a bit over the years, but it seems the older I get it feels like taking time to go on a date removes me from things I really want to do. I think I am not alone in this regard. We get our lives the way we like them, and are comfortable with them. That said, I look forward to the nights I go dancing after being alone. (usually Wednesday and Saturday). I also thoroughly enjoy my time with the dogs up in some hidden backcountry location. It breaks up the routine at home, and immerses me in nature and the companionship of my wonderful border collies.
Mollie has recovered to about 90% from the stroke or whatever she had three months ago. The only time I see signs of it is when she shakes water off, and she stumbles. Thanks to my awesome vet Kim who prescribed a cocktail of pills that helped Mollie recover. It warms my heart to no end to see the pleasure my old girl had up in the backcountry this week. She is still the wanderer, out in front exploring, while Beau and Hayley stay closer to me. Around camp Mollie follows my every move, and when I stop, she stops. What a life she and I have had these last 14 years. Here’s to hoping it can continue for at least the rest of this season. All of us will be old (er) someday, and the time will come when we will have to trail down. I have taken the advice from 'The Forever Dog' (by Rodney Habib and Karen Shaw Becker) and started giving all three of my dogs more vegetables - about half of their evening meal. (the rest kibble). I have found what works is to slice carrots and celery up in to small pieces with a large cleaver knife, and the mix all of it up with three fresh eggs from my chickens. I add a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and then mix in the kibble with a spray of olive oil. I have learned from trial and error that the eggs are what induces the dogs to finish every last piece. All three dogs seem to be healthier since I started doing this a couple of months ago - more energy and a shinier coat.
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"