Today, I'd like to start by telling you about a great friend of mine, smrp from Dream Valley Ranch, who has had a terribly scary roller coaster ride with a wild mustang who she rescued 18 months ago. Sweet Chloe, a wild 7-year old mustang who was starved at the previous "sanctuary" where she lived, has been extremely sick. The diagnosis has been elusive, but, at the very least, her kidneys were failing. Smrp has spent most of her time over the past week sedating sweet Chloe and giving her IV fluids in her stall. Alas, despite this heroic effort, Chloe seemed sicker than ever over the weekend. Because Chloe seemed to be in pain, a vet went to smrp's house on Sunday to check out Chloe and consider whether it was time to end her pain.
Well, Miss Chloe wasn't ready to say good-bye to her beloved smrp yet. She rallied, in a huge way, and told the vet to go home. She is pugnaciously embracing life as I write this. She's not out of the woods but she's claimed some more time in this old world.
To understand both Chloe and smrp, you need to understand that Chloe was extremely afraid of humans and couldn't be handled when smrp first met her. Smrp worked her magic - a potent combination of love and training - and, in a post this summer, brought me to tears with a video of her grooming and playing with Chloe. The bond between the two of them is undeniable when you watch that video and imagine that Chloe would have never allowed a human so close to her just a year before.
If you have time, please go over and visit smrp and Chloe at Dream Valley Ranch. I think that Chloe will capture your hearts. As an aside, four incredibly cute dogs and an entire herd of flowery horses, all rescued, live there as well!
I've had Chloe on my mind a lot lately, and I thought about her last night as R and I watched dusk take over our sky. As we stood completely still gazing at the horizon, three mule deer, two does and a youngster, pronked past us as if they didn't see us.
After K's little walk, R and I headed out into a furiously windy, sometimes snowy, and generally wild forest. R sizzled with high voltage energy, hurtling toward me when I called him.
At our turnaround point, we stood in a meadow with snow blowing horizontally off of the invisible Continental Divide. The wind and snow stung my face, and I had trouble standing upright without swaying with each wind gust, measured at up to 60 mph. I hopped on my bike and started pedaling hard to get home before I froze.
Alas, less than a mile later, a blue hole in the clouds had opened just above us. The sun shined on us while glittery snow still whirled through the air. I dropped my bike to enjoy the sight. Then R hopped up on a big boulder to pose. Look at the cerulean sky with SuperDog in the foreground!
However, near the same spot where I found bear scat a couple of weeks ago, I found another fresh bear scat, again filled with kinnikinnick berries. I've learned from the Minnesota researchers' updates on their collared bears that, at this time of year, bears generally stay very close to their dens when they're not actually curled up inside the toasty hideaways. Based on that information, I suspect that there's an occupied den very close to this scat. Now, I need my bear-expert friend to come look around with me!
I know that I *used* to be afraid of heights but I believed that I'd conquered my fear with all of the exposed boulder scrambling and mountain biking that I've done. Wrong. I confidently started to walk up the steps of the lookout tower and my knees literally started to shake and my palms started to sweat on about the tenth step. I stopped, took a deep breath, and took one more halting step upward. Then, a gust of wind hit the tower - it stood solidly without a vibration but I'd lost my nerve. I could barely make my legs work smoothly enough to descend the steps because I was so scared. I guess that I was wrong about having conquered that fear!