Thanks to every one of you who sent me supportive comments yesterday. It means so much to me as we muddle our way through this very tough time.
There was good news this morning. K's limp is less pronounced today. I think that her new pain meds are starting to work. She was thrilled to go for our hike this morning. "Hike" is probably an overstatement. We wandered around the meadows and forest, stopping frequently for photos and hugs. It's a far cry from our former morning mountain biking routine but I'm very happy just to be with K.
Before everything went crazy in recent days, I promised to tell you about an exciting day of our trip. We were in the Abajo Mountains in Utah between 8-9,000' elevation. We arrived after dark on a Saturday night, and we just pulled off a forest road into a clearing to sleep with little notion of what was around us. The next day included three extraordinary events. I only have space in this post to tell you about the first one.
The next morning very early, the Runner was just outside the Labmobile, and I was still asleep inside. I jolted awake as the Runner threw open the door and dove in, slamming it behind him. He said "It's a bear, it's a bear, it's a bear, and he's being chased by a pack of dogs"! I sat bolt upright and stared out the window to see a sight that was very sad to me. A trained pack of 6-10 bear-hunting dogs were on the heels of a cinnamon colored big bear within about 30 yards of our van. The bear occasionally stopped and turned to face his pursuers, taking swipes at them with his huge paws. The dogs would back off to avoid being smacked and scratched by the bear. Then, the bear would start running again with the dogs on his heels. The cycle kept repeating.
Our dogs, K and R, heard the baying of the bear-hunting hounds and started barking like crazed canines. Their barking distracted the bear-hunting hounds, and the bear-hunting hounds surrounded our van, baying at us. But, one hound stayed on the bear's heels, and his baying soon called the wayward hounds back to the chase.
Since the hounds so clearly had this bear on the run, I figured that they'd tree him soon, and we'd hear the fateful gunshot when the hunter shot him out of the tree. I was fairly certain that I'd cry when I heard it. But, as the morning went on, no shot rang out, and we got started on our day, still wondering what had happened with the bear. I have no photos of the bear chase - it happened too fast. I do have a photo of a bear footprint from near our camp. No doubt, this was great bear habitat.
After the excitement ended, the Runner and R went for a run down a canyon filled with aspen trees while K and I went for a short mountain bike ride in similar terrain. It was gorgeous. Look how small K appears among the aspen trees.
I have to say that, after seeing the bear being chased by the hounds, I am very glad that Colorado outlawed the use of dogs in bear hunting and eliminated the spring bear hunt due to the cruelness of orphaning young bear cubs if their mother was killed. On that morning, I kept wondering if the bear we'd seen being chased was a sow with cubs, and, if so, what happened to those cubs.
As many of you know, I love bears so I am biased in their favor. I set up my trail cameras to to emphasize bear photos. I am gleeful every time I find bear photos on my cameras.
Some of you might remember that I encountered a sow protecting her cubs last summer. She appeared ferocious but didn't even come close to me as she postured to send me away.
I do always carry a large can of pepper spray, which I could use if any animal was truly threatening to me. I've carried it for a decade. The only being who I've sprayed is myself in my face! It wasn't fun (it was an accident). You can barely see the red on the pepper spray can that's hooked to my left hip in the photo below.
I must say that I am grateful beyond words that we took our vacation as a family, especially knowing now that K's cancer was still moving so aggressively. It might have been K's last trip with us, and we savored every day.