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Friday, August 10, 2012

News from our break

During my blogging break, we decided that a trip to the high mountains would help us to heal despite my terror of the emotions associated with K not being with us in our favorite places.

Early on the day that we departed for the high mountains, I headed out for a spin on my mountain bike to loosen up my back before the car ride. I planned a quick and relaxed bike ride.

The ride did not end up being relaxed. As I pedaled up to the apex of a high ridge, I gasped. A plume of smoke was rising from the south side of the ridge and blowing across the trail in front of me.
It wasn't a huge fire, yet. However, it was breezy on the ridge. And, beyond a doubt, I was the only one on Earth who knew that this fire was burning. With my hands shaking, I ripped off my backpack and rummaged for my cell phone. Fortunately, it was with me. I dialed 9-1-1 and talked with dispatch.

The operator wanted an estimate of the size of the area that was burning. As you can tell from my photo, it wasn't easy to see because the ridge fell off so steeply. So, as I talked with the operator, I hiked down toward the source of the smoke. I could see that multiple patches were burning as the fire skipped its way up the hillside but I still couldn't see the main source. I walked further downhill, and the operator abruptly informed me that he could hear the fire crackling. He seemed to panic - and told me, rapid-fire - to hang up the phone and run.

So, I hung up and pedaled away from the fire. Then, I called my friend who has a scanner and asked her to monitor whether the fire crews understood the fire's location. She soon called back to say that the crews were going to the wrong place - a site a few miles away. So, I called 9-1-1 again, and I told them that I'd meet the fire crews down on a road at the base of the ridge to show them where the fire was.

I pointed my bike down the hillside and rumbled straight downhill, taking the shortest route even though I was riding through private property. I arrived down on the road and intercepted a fire truck. As I explained where the fire was, my cell phone rang, with dispatch calling me again for directions to the fire.  The embarrassing part was that I'd stashed my cell phone in my bra because it was ringing so often that I needed easy access to it. The firefighter and I had a chuckle as I reached down my jersey to silence my ringing jog-bra.

In the end, about 20 fire trucks and at least one helicopter arrived on the scene. They stopped the fire before it topped the ridge and entered a forested area. Thank goodness... I visualized disaster for all of us if the fire had gone over the ridge.

In case you're curious, the fire was caused by a lightning strike two days earlier. The storm included a downpour, preventing the fire from immediately erupting. By two days later, it was hot, dry, and breezy, which caused the tree that had been smoldering for days to burst into flames.

So, my ride that morning didn't turn out to be even vaguely relaxing.

Fortunately, we did have a relaxing vacation, although every moment was tinged with sadness, and waves of rage would engulf me when I realized, over and over again, that K wasn't physically with us.

We went to the mountains, and they brought us good tidings (John Muir). R played in mountain lakes, and we reveled in his youth and amazing athletic grace. We realized that, although we're very sad right now, these are still precious days for R and for us. Indeed, every day on this Earth is gift. We learned that lesson from K's amazing spirit for joy and love - even when her body was ravaged by cancer.

R is at the peak of his life. He adores retrieving from water. Here, he sprinted toward the lake's edge.
He launched himself into the air.
He lowered his landing gear as he reached for the water to retrieve a stick.
I'll tell you more about our trip in the coming days. To be honest, I was terrified of our first camping trip without K, and rightly so. I couldn't sleep very well because of the hole in our family, and I felt like a piece of me was missing. But, in between those painful emotions, I also realized that we shouldn't squander precious days together. We found moments of peace and joy. That's what life is all about, and it's what K would want for us.


  1. Well said about seizing the moment! And thank goodness everyone's okay!

  2. What a frightening scare! So glad you were there to intercede and all was taken care of. We had a fire scare a few years back in a little forest area across from our house and I was the only one who knew about it. I couldn't believe the heat from that small fire that could be felt from our home. Thankfully the fire dept. was able to take care of it before it jumped to our house.

    You don't realize just HOW big that hole is, until they are really gone. It is daunting.
    I'm glad you have R to help with a little of that even if he will never be your K. I agree, I think that's what she would want for all of you.

  3. I am so happy you found the fire, got help, and got out of it OK. Very scary experience. Not one I have had, but I am terrified of fire.

    Are you at home now for a while? We have missed you all and especially R. I have fallen in love with that boy.


    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  4. Peace and joy. Wonderful.

    Also, how about saving a mountain and untold acres by being so quick and persistent in getting the firefighters on the scene? You rock, just like the Rockies!!!

  5. I seem to always look for something that ties a story or time led you to discover that fire and call for help, right? Because of your sad hearts you were preparing to get away for a while and in the process noticed the fire. She is so still with you and always will be, and it does get easier.

    Love the pictures of R, what a beautiful athletic dog!

    Thoughts & prayers,
    Lucy (silent MOD Troy, Ohio)

  6. you really did save the day
    Benny & Lily

  7. Welcome back! What a journey for you all. You've save your beautiful forest ~ That's what I call being in the right place at the right time. We too think that K had a paw in it all. She was there to guide you.

    It's awesome to see that R had a wonderful time. He is such an elegant diver!

    KB, I think you said it best... Don't squander precious days together. I know you're giving it your all and putting one foot in front of the other. Baby steps my friend, baby steps...

    Lily Belle

  8. Thank goodness you were there and able to call for help! I do believe you have an angel in heaven watching over you.

  9. Angel K AND KB to the rescue

    BTW, I think R has covered wet fur AND in motion with these pics!

  10. Welcome back from your trip and to blogville. I think the first time you do something without a treasured friend is always the hardest. But the firsts get fewer and the memories get easier to the point where you look forward to going to these places and being surrounded by their memory there. :)

  11. Thankfully you took that ride to relax. Even though it was not relaxing I am sure because of you others could relax. R is an amazing sight. You know i gotta love a fellow dog who goes after a stick with such gusto.

  12. KB, I gree with the others. Angel K led you to the place the fire was- so that you could call for help.
    All those forest trees in your world and all the forest animals are greatful to you and Angel K. for your quick actions, and calling for help.
    You were very brave,, and I know you felt Angel K's guidance.

    I cannot believe that R can fly through the air like that- and into the cold water. He is very adventuresome!
    These are precious days for all of you.
    I missed you,

  13. It's a good thing you had cell service! You're a hero.

    The pictures of R are fantastic ^^

  14. It may have been stressful at the time, but saving your forest was amazing. I can't believe the dispatcher really wanted you to go closer to the fire to give him more details. It's a wild fire...just send the fire department! Glad to see you back and those beautiful pictures of R.


  15. And now she takes on her new job, that is to be your angel and the guardian of the mountains you both love so much.

    So glad to see you back and blogging. Funny how those ten days seemed like months to us.

    Bert and My Vickie

  16. What a HERO you are! You saved land, animals, and possibly even people. So sorry that it wasn't a relaxing trip for you, but somehow I think you were meant to be there at that time.
    Enjoyed the pics of R diving in! He is a honey.
    Erica :)

  17. I am happy to see you back, and I expected you to bring tales of adventure with you, but I thought it would happen after you got to your destination, not before you left! I'm so glad that everything turned out to be okay.

    R could pass for Kuster in those pictures if only he had pointy ears!

  18. thank you for saving the magical paradise that would never could have been replaced.

    thank you for fully embracing the cycle of life well lived including the pain that interleaves the joy and peace.

  19. Ann....from... Outer Banks of NC... KB So glad you were there to help save..(what might have been a bad situation).....And what a joy to see R having a good time..his sweet puppy love...the blessedness knowing that all of you.... will get through this sadness together as time goes on...and with the peace it brings....knowing K's spirit is with you.... to guide and protect...HUGS....we missed all of you

  20. All's well that ends well, but it was a darned lucky thing you decided to take that ride.

    It's still tough, of course, without K. But she would expect you to go on living, and R certainly deserves pawrents who are fully present in his life.

    Jed & Abby

  21. Firsts are always so hard, but K would want you to go out and enjoy. Thankfully for cell phones, good coverage and fire crews ,the fire did not spread.After a start like that,you would be wondering what next? Cheers,Jean

  22. Peace and joy. You've got it.

  23. Those last sentences really resonate. We so often forget to enjoy the precious gifts we have because we can't stop thinking about those we still don't have anymore. Revel in R and the beauty around you, and thank goodness you managed to get that fire stopped!

  24. I think you were meant to be there. That must have been frightening. I can't imagine. I hope you and R can enjoy the rest of the trip. Those are great pictures of the jump into the water.

    Anne and Sasha

  25. You are quite the hero and so lucky you were there to prevent any possible spread. Loving your stunning pictures of R. Have a wonderful Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  26. such a painful time......i love your spirit of honesty and truth in your pain....K taught us all so much....
    so glad you saved the day with the fire situation...
    isn't a jog bra cell phone holder? that's where i keep mine...:)

  27. As we have said so many times, you never cease to amaze us. Great job on reporting and helping locate that fire - hard to think of all the damage that might have been except for that timing.

    We are so happy that R seems to be handling things well and doing his best to help you too.

    Have a good weekend.

  28. Wow - what excitement with the fire!

    Mom was thinking of you yesterday and hoping you were having a good time - she was glad to see an update this morning. Mom has always said that good dogs never really leave you.

    Give R a hug from us.


  29. KB, I'm thankful that you took that ride and were able to stop a potential forest fire-there has been such destruction here this summer.
    I understand that hole in your lives you're talking about; I'm thankful that you have R to help you focus on today. None of us have guarantees about how much time we have and we do need to stop and live life to the fullest right now-which is just what R is doing and what you K did, each and every day.
    Sending hugs and peace to you.
    Noreen & Hunter

  30. You know what? I think K wanted to make sure you took that ride so you could protect her beloved forests. Grreat job!

  31. Do you think it was fate that you took that bike ride to loosen your back? That you even decided to go on a trip? I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Now you can't tell me your girl isn't watching over you! Thank goodness you were able to stop an impending disaster and get the fire crews there. I am so glad that you did get away, as hard as it might be, and enjoy some quiet, quality family time. R sure looks like he loved it. :)

  32. I think R knows his job right now is to keep you and The Runner smiling. He certainly keeps me smiling!

  33. Glad you could get away - I never forget my departed dogs either. They remain in my heart and in my memories. So glad that your fire disaster was averted. Even though we are getting rain, the moisture usually is delivered by a lightening storm. I think of you often KB.

  34. You're a hero for calling in the fire and making sure everybody got to the right place!

    I'm glad you have R around to love on and revel in.

  35. Thank goodness you discovered that fire, KB! The pictures of R are just stunning!
    K will always be with you in spirit.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  36. Now that could be a great Bra Joke...Did you ever hear the one.....? Humour is always a leveler and I hope the tinge of grief is lessening...sweet hugs and licks from Sophie.

  37. I almost feel like maybe K led you to that smouldering fire to stop a disaster from happening. She's definitely watching over you.

    Your vacation sounds wonderful but I can certainly understand that it was painful too, being in a place that K loved so much. But she was there in spirit, I'm sure.

  38. What luck you were there...R looks great in those pictures.
    Hugs from us in Sweden

  39. So glad that you and your family are okay, and that you found some peace and joy on your trip.

  40. It's good to hear from you. That last paragraph truly grabbed me in the gut. It's so true but so hard when you're missing someone to go on without them. But you're right. It's what K would have wanted.

  41. So glad you are back! Mom was telling one of the grandboys about your wonderful trail cam pictures of different animals this she can tell them you saved more land from being burnt up! R is looks like he was having a wonderful time!
    Sending you a hug!
    sTella Rose

  42. Hi KB - so glad you are back with us. I've thought about you often and wished for healing for you, R, and the runner. What a crazy turn of events with that fire - believe me, when I hear the word "fire" my blood turns to ice (given that was what killed my son). Someone owes you a debt of gratitude for you reporting this. And yes, I did LOL at where your cell phone was. Whatever works! These pics of R are fantastic.

    Sending peace your way.



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