Now he’s going to be known for this one. Hopefully it won’t be his last appearance.
Yesterday, we decided to do a bit of van camping, kind of like when we went to the hot springs. The girls were at their dad’s, so we were going to make some soap, pack up the van, and head up to the ski hill and then to Bullhead Mountain.
Then I got pretty sick and we decided to just go up to Bullhead, let the dogs go for a good run, and cook some burgers on an open fire. After that we were going to come home because my guts were hurting and I wanted to be in my own bed. I’m getting quite old.
We let them out at around the one km mark and they chased the van. By two km they had passed it. We got ahead of them while they pissed on a tree and they were starting to lag a bit by three, so we let them in the van and drove another little bit to the gravel pit that we decided would be a good stopping point. They were pretty beat, so we figured they wouldn’t stray too far from camp.
Then Blue fucked off.
They both were meandering along the side of the mountain, and Dover was sticking close to the camp on account of food.
Blue, not so much.
As we were getting the fire going, we heard the baying start.
“Oh shit, Blue’s after something.” I said. I was hoping it was a squirrel up a tree or something simple like that.
We just kind of shrugged our shoulders and finished splitting the kindling and the old punky shit that was lying around the pit. He wasn’t too far away.
Then his baying got fainter. A bit further up the mountain. Oh well, he has already had a good run, so he should be back before too long. We were going to be a few more hours anyhow.
And then the wind started to pick up. A lot. The baying was moving back closer to us. We walked to the edge and watched for him, yelling his name. I caught a quick glimpse of him, nose to the ground, moving through the edge of the trees, far below. He wasn’t really interested in what we were saying.
After a while it sounded like he had crossed the road. And then about an hour later, he crossed back again. I think. The wind was just howling through the valley by now. We could hear him every so often, but couldn’t tell where he was. You couldn’t even hear the echoes anymore. We weighed his cushion down with rocks on the edges and left him some food and water, then we went home. I was going to leave my jacket, but Gerri figured he would like his outside bed better. She’s usually right.
We then put Dover, some food, and the bed in the van and headed back out there for the night. We wouldn’t be able to sleep thinking he was waiting out there for us. When we got there, he was nowhere to be seen. The food and water was untouched, so we parked and honked for a bit. Then we dozed on and off until morning, got up, had a pee in nature (Dover’s was on Blue’s bed.), and headed back to get the quad to see if we could find him on some of the old logging trails.
We looked up and down every trail that we could find, calling and whistling, but there was nothing. I’m just going to assume that he made it to one of the roads and someone picked him up. He’ll climb into anyone’s vehicle, so there would be no problem there. We will just wait until tomorrow morning and put out a PSA and hope that someone calls the district with his tag number. He’s been gone for 24 hours, so if a cougar didn’t get him, or he didn’t run off a cliff, I’m guessing someone has him.
I have had some pretty crazy scenarios running through my head since we lost him. I have envisioned him bringing down a deer and then having to fight of a couple of coyotes for his kill. He was pretty beat up, but was able to drag himself back to his pad and wait for us to come and get him. In another, he was chasing an elk, but so was a cougar. As he was gaining on the old cow, the cougar got him from behind. He was so excited about the hunt that he didn’t feel the two inch canines1)Shouldn’t they be felines? sink into the back of his neck.
He didn’t make it home from that one.
Another was where he ran back down the road and saw the guy loading his quad onto his trailer and just jumped in with him. That’s the one I am hoping for.
It doesn’t matter which one I think of, I get really sad and happy. Happy to have known him, and sad to think of never seeing him again. Next to my wife, he is my best friend out here. His emotional neediness is endearing, and his love is unconditional.
Unless there’s hunting. If there’s hunting, you’re shit out of luck in the friend department.
*Note: We got a call last night from Blue’s rescuer. We went and picked him up and other than being gimbled up, he seems okay. Thirsty, tired, and hungry, but his tail still wags and he doesn’t have any puncture wounds in his neck, so that’s awesome. I guess he was found on the cushion that we left. 🙂
Thank you so much, James. You saved us another restless night.
BTW, I already had the post mostly written, so I decided to finish it. Call me cheap if you want, but it’s hard to get the motivation to write, so I wasn’t wasting it.
Awesome footnotes [ + ]
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