Wandering 15

Decidin’ which way to go doesn’t really matter when you’re just lookin’ around—Frank

But finding your way home when you weren’t lookin’ may be a bigger challenge. I was wondering if Chloe had just lost her bearings during the chase. Who knows, but hope is in the drivers seat when that’s all you’ve got. Or worse yet, she caught up to whatever she was chasin’ and got killed.

The next day was depressing. We had a schedule to keep and a semi on the road to get a load of cows out from Bazzoli. There were only two numbers that had to go, the rest could be random—it was slow going without the dog. It had been a full day and a half since I’d seen her, but I was still hopeful some news would surface. I put an ad in the paper, but that doesn’t come out until Thursday, and so far nothing but an empty answering machine at Orines. If I could get done early today the plan was to go back up to look again. My mind was wandering down roads of second guesses, which never helps a damn thing, but I guess it’s human nature.

Second guesses ought to be made the first time—Frank

Losing a family member in the wilds is nothing but stress and worry. A friend of mine disappeared off the other side of Tiger Mountain when I was just a kid. The biggest search party in history turned up nothing. He was gone, and his desk sat empty till the end of the school year. I can’t really compare that to this, but the feelings were there, and the story kept replaying in my head that I should’ve done something different. I’ve never been one to sit back and watch life happen from the sidelines, and if push comes to shove I’d rather lose doing something I love than just watch life pass by.

I went through the motions of the day, stopped by Orine’s to check for messages, then drove back up to camp. It was gettin’ late when I passed LT’s turn off and drove by—I am not in the mood.

This went on for a couple of weeks and I had to let her go. She was the last dog I’ve ever partnered up with, although I did see her again about five years later.

Finding your way home is hard, especially when you stop lookin—Frank

I went out to the pocket to get some hay one day and they had a border collie laying in the yard. She’s was a little heavier lookin’ than Chloe with some grey hairs on her head and face. I told the gal I used to have a dog just like that, then she told me a quick story about how they found this dog along the freeway a few years back near Cabin Creek—She looked really out of place considering the area. She got right in their truck and went home with them—If she was at Cabin Creek, she was on her way home. I knelt down and whispered, “Chloe”. She didn’t remember who I was. I just let it be. She was alive.

Reopening disappointment only goes one direction. Mine, or hers—Frank

She looked very content.

Ways from here to there-

Matters not the distance met-

Withers on embrace—Frank


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9 thoughts on “Wandering 15”

  1. Well done, Jim. A few years back my ‘kids’ mountain biked on Tiger Mt. I know it so well (and the other two). Lots of cuts and bruises, but nothing broken. Keep it up, cowboy.

    1. She absolutely loved to run point—and ride in the back of the truck! I probably had 5000 miles with her along side. This one hurt pretty bad.

  2. I like this story Jim. I like stories with a horse, a dog and a wilderness – reminds me of the homesteading days in the Peace River country. I had a horse, several dogs (they always managed to get themselves killed somehow, either getting run over chasing cars and/or the train! Your story reminds me of one of my great dreams: to have a genuine cowboy hat. Never got one, my parents couldn’t afford it and anyway it’s not practical head wear up there, especially in winter. So now that I do have a cowboy hat you could say I’m all hat: no horse, no dog, no cows, no spread. If only I had realized as a kid that I already had all that would ever matter.

    1. Thanks my friend. Now days it takes so much effort and planning to live simply. Crazy, isn’t it? This was a stretch of my life from 1979 up about 25 years. I’d be curious to get your take on the rest of it if you have the time. Really is a remembrance for the kids and myself. It was a glorious time

    2. Well, I’m up to #4 and great reading… a touch or two of memories in there and I was reminded how much I’d sooner ride bareback (as long as the horse isn’t skinny) and how much I hate saddles – it’s like seat belts – I feel trapped in those things. As a young ‘un I’d sometimes get my horse, slip my clothes off and do that riding naked that nothing compares to, not even good sex! People just don’t know how much of life they’re missing by pretending to be “civilized” because they hide from each other.

    3. I learned a lot about myself in the mountains and what you are talking about. I think you’ll like “view from a horse” coming up. I think it’s Chapter 12. Thanks for reading

  3. A sad tale. But a strange one, as I have no experience of a dog, or any working animal, forgetting the main person in their life. Of course, not all animals are the same. No one knows what happened to Chloe after she went chasing her prey. It could have been something traumatic.

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