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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The pepper spray incident

Yesterday's last two photos involved the can of pepper spray attached to my hip belt in the photo below. I've carried a canister in a holster on almost every bike ride and hike for the past decade. I started carrying it as mountain lion protection but I've never needed it for a lion. They always run when they see me.

Over that decade, I've pulled it out of the holster twice, once when K, as a a yearling, fell for the luring behavior of a trickster coyote, and then ran to me with an entire pack of coyotes chasing behind her. K beat them to me, and I screamed and yelled like a lunatic as I pulled out the pepper spray. The pack veered away from me and K and back to the darkness of the forest. The second time that I pulled the spray out of the holster was against a human who was scaring me on a remote trail. I didn't use it but I was glad that I had it.
Yesterday, after returning from my snow bike ride with K, I was getting her breakfast ready in the kitchen, still wearing my little black backpack with the pepper spray attached to it because I planned to ride some more. As I turned to leave the kitchen, the pepper spray fell out of the holster. By some stroke of terrible luck, it landed on the tile floor in such a way that the safety was knocked out of place and the can triggered. It launched pepper spray into the kitchen.

We quickly moved the dogs into a bedroom with the door closed and towels covering the crack at the bottom of the door. I tried to go back to the kitchen to begin to deal with the clean-up, and I was immediately overcome by coughing. I retreated outdoors. When I tried to go inside again, it became clear that there was no way that I could go into the main part of the house with the spray in the air. The Runner remembered that he had an industrial respirator in the basement and retrieved it.  He was able to go into the house with the respirator on. He opened all the doors and windows and ran powerful fans pointing outdoors.

The dogs remained fine because the bedroom was completely sealed off from the spray.

Finally, given my asthma and extreme reaction to the spray, the Runner told me "to go away and do something fun for a long time". So, I did. I took my snowbike up high, riding it in mountains over 10,000', and enjoying panoramic views. I particularly loved looking *down* onto the local ski area.
On my way home, I bought myself a respirator and cleaning supplies that were said to be best for removing the pepper spray residue that was undoubtedly settling into the nooks and crannies of our house. When I arrived home, the Runner laughed at my ridiculous looking outfit and snapped the photo of me in my bike gear looking like an alien in my respirator and sunglasses.

This morning, when we first woke up, the air in the house seemed much better. K and I headed out for our usual bike ride on the trails. She did her yoga in the rising sun.
Then, we just relaxed and enjoyed the warm and glorious day.
We spun around the trails that were icy in spots but overall better than they've been in weeks. K seemed so full of exuberant happiness that I grinned from start to finish.

After I dropped K off at home (and didn't explode any pepper spray canisters while I was there), I headed out into the amazing spring day. I could see storm clouds gathering on every horizon but I was riding under a blue hole in the sky. It seemed like my lucky day.
I've been feeling sluggish and sore since my fall on the ice so I took it easy, stopping to photograph anything that caught my fancy.

I saw a dried Sulfur flower from last summer that glowed orange in the toasty sun. When I really notice the details of the golden/brown meadows, I realize that there's beauty hidden in them even now, in the midst of winter.
Later in the ride, I saw an unknown beautiful dry flower.
As I rode, the blue hole over me became enshrouded in storm clouds. I ended up riding home in a snow squall that pelted icy snow at me as I rode as fast as I could. It's March in the Rocky Mountains. One minute it seems like a lamb and the next minute it seems like a lion!

Due to a physical therapy appointment for treatment for my ailing spine, the Duo and I missed our sunset hike but the skies at sunset were gorgeous last night.
Just to give you a giggle, you might want to know that I'm wearing that crazy-looking respirator to write this post on my laptop computer! My asthma-addled lungs do not like the residual pepper spray in the air. I wonder how long this will go on?


  1. Yikes!

    What self-inflicted 'fun' -

    Great pics again and still and as always!

  2. LOL! I am glad all is ok!
    At first when I was reading your post from yesterday I thought you had a bear lurking around the house! I didn't realize the can was pepper spray! Then I remembered most bears are hibernating now(Right?) So I had no idea what to think!
    Hope the residue goes away sooner than you can breathe!

  3. What a good sport you are, KB for sharing a potentially really bad, but alos kinda funny situation with us!

    Hope the PT helps your poor spine :-)

  4. So it was not an alien that landed in the Rocky Mountains. Or was it really an alien and you are part of the conspiracy we read so much about that covers up the existence of aliens among us? Darn, we thought we were going to get to see real aliens.

    Now we will all wonder which it is, you dropped a pepper spray or it really was an alien in that original photo and you are covering it up?

    If it had been an alien, you could have had a great press conference!

    Think of how much worse it could have been if you had carried a Tazer in the holster and you grabbed it wrong when you picked it up?

    Mogley G. Retriever

  5. Wow!! I was worried you had run into trouble on a trail. I'm glad to know you carry that spray with you, and now you know first-hand how effective it is. I hope the spray clears from you house soon. That story about K and the cayotes sounded terrifying. I carry pepper spray when I walk my dogs, out of fear that an unleashed dog could always come at us. I've heard too many horror stories along those lines, and the greyhounds and whippets can get torn up fast by other breeds. You have much bigger concerns in your neck of the woods. Better safe than sorry. :)

  6. Mom knows all to well what you are talking about. She works in a law profession and was pepper sprayed in the face as a part of training. Be safe
    Benny & Lily

  7. Glad that all are weathering the pepper spray attack reasonably well. It will be a funny story to look back on, but I bet you were nt giggling during the panic of getting the dogs safe and your lungs protected.

    Thanks for your kind words and good thoughts for Gregg, Dragon's dad. They worked! He got to leave the hospital this afternoon and must be at home resting for 4-6 weeks...the pups are are all of us!

  8. What a surprise to yesterday's teaser! Bad as it was, it could have been so much worse. Thank goodness you had the respirator on hand. Hope all your symptoms clear up. Such a strange have hit exactly that way. So glad everyone is all right.

    What a treat it is to see K looking so healthy and happy.

    My word verification is "microns."

  9. Thank goodness you are basically alright! What a thing to happen! I have some that I carry on hikes that I take that are with
    a keychain that is full of a bunch of heavy keys. I did run into a lunatic one year on a path who tried to back me down into the woods and instead of using the spray, I started screaming HBO words at him and was in the process of hitting him in the face with the entire key chain and he ran. It't dangerous out there....and not so much the creatures but the human nutcases. I love the pictures as usual and hope the spray is completely gone soon. Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  10. Holy cow! I can't imagine how strong that smell/attack could be. We lived in the top story of a 3 floor apt building when the bottom floors' tenant bulldog got skunked. The smell lingered for weeks - it was awful!
    Glad you do carry it, though - both of those encounters you described would have terrified me...

  11. I hope that when you bought the respirator you also bought a new can of spray because it will be the one time you go out without it that you will need it. And aren't you glad to know how effective it is? (or maybe not?)

    I am happy you are OK and that the Runner is a take charge kind of guy!

    Cheers and Hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  12. As a fellow asthma sufferer, I feel your pain, but I'm still giggling at the thought! My guess is that you'll catch whiffs of the residual spray until it warms up enough that you can have the house open some on a more regular basis. I'm glad it was just a silly accident, though, and not a serious reason that prompted you to use the stuff. And through all that, you still managed to get amazing pictures!

  13. OMG! What a crazy day you had! Exploding a can of pepper spray in the kitchen is totally something my mom would do - seriously! She doesn't carry pepper spray, but if she did out!

    I am glad everything is OK and I hope the residue goes away soon.

    Your pal, Pip

  14. Wow, I just ordered a big can of bear spray like that to take with me on hikes. It just got here today. I'll have to be careful! Hope everything clears out soon.

  15. Oh wow, KB! What an incident!
    I am so glad that it wasn't a bear that you had to ward off or another pack of coyotes!
    Sometimes these thing happen to remind us and keep us on our toes. I'm so glad that you are safe. Wonderful, wonderful pictures!
    Hope you physical constraints are manageable.
    Sending lotsaluv

  16. Oh my dear! You poor thing! Sounds like the Runner is an extremely gratuitous fellow to urge you out to the beauties of the place where you live! Gorgeous photos - LOVE the photo of K lying down on the rock! And the sky pix are fantabulous! Hope you are feeling much better by now!
    Hugs xoxoxo
    Sammie, Avalon, Ozzie and Mom

  17. We're glad it wasn't any worse. And at least now you and the Runner both have respirators, just in case. Do you have any kind of whole-house fan system that you could use, with windows open, to blow air out of the house? Although as noted above, you won't really be able to do that with icy snow falling outside. Hope your PT is helping.

    Jed & Abby

  18. OoH my doggies! I am glad dat all of you is OK. My mom wuz in a room once when pepper spray went off, her says it wuz no fun at all.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  19. Glad I am only reading this after it is over and everybody is OK. Guess that pepper spray really works, huh?

    Mango Momma

  20. omg! how crazy is that? i was imaging all kinds of scenarios, and that was not one of them!
    i want to see the pic of you all geared up!! :)

  21. Isn't it always the way...the protection you need for the worst unexpected situations and a simple fumble and 'pow' the place is laced in pepper spray. I have not come in contact with it before...but if it's anything like "scotch bonnet" peppers, then I know exactly the temperature and amount of irritant that can be expected....horrible. The blue hole was definitely following you...beautiful!

  22. I think that carrying that spray with you is a very good idea. Your area is so remote and you never know what you are going to run into.

    But, I did have to laugh at your in house adventure with it. I thought I was the only one who did klutzy things like that! But, I do understand how, with asthma, it could be really distressing and I hope that all the residue clears out quickly.

  23. That's not funny...but it kinda is! Pepper spray is some nasty stuff! Glad you're getting it out..or almost all out!

  24. Oh, that IS a great story!!! Now if the Runner thought you looked so funny, we so wish you had gotten his photo too in the industrial respirator:)

    We are getting inundated with rain today, but seeing your beautiful photos reminds us that the rain is needed for the garden to grow (if only Ciara will let it).

    Have a great weekend.

  25. Well, I was "almost" right. Yikes to have that spray in your house. What a nightmare. How in the world will you get it out of the nooks and crannies? You may be wearing your respirator forever!!! Meanwhile, I like seeing all the dried grass and the meadow that isn't snow-covered. I also am glad K is into Yoga - her Downward Dog is perfect!

  26. Oh law me, I so don't mean to laughs but it's more funnier now dat I knows everybuddy was okays. I had no idea it was gonna be a dropped can of peper spray fur you to turn Alien on us. Thank goodness my mum don't carries dat stuff cuz her would be blowin it up left ad right. Oh I never thought bouts da residue!


  27. These sorts of mishaps always make such great stories AFTER the worst is over. I love the mask getup!

  28. Gosh that stinky stuff is everywhere!
    I hope it goes away soon

  29. i don't believe you. sorry. I want a photo of said respirator...

    oh man, the OUTFITS mr. WD puts on sometimes... he's an ex-navy officer and has all his flight suits and masks and stuff and uses them around the house for icky things like crawling under the house to get rid of icky rodents or just gross stuff.

    and i had that same bear spray. it was too HUGE for me, but you know, i think the holster thing would have been a good idea for me. espeically since i lived among mt. lions (but not bears)... and would walk my 2 at dusk sometimes and get really creepy feelings of being watched by a quadreped...

  30. Hope the pepper spray isn't like skunk and lasts forever. I got sprayed once and my wife said that every time she ironed the blue jeans she could still smell the skunk :).

  31. I have been overwhelmed with curiosity about the rest of the story for an entire week now! I imagined all kinds of horrible things! Although I'm sure this is a miserable thing to endure, I'm so glad you didn't have to pull the stuff out to use it intentionally!


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