Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Not So Uneventful Walk - Part 1

Kory sitting on the floorboard of the truck down by my feet, with her nose buried as far under the seat as she can get it.
This picture was taken one day last week while we were in Blackfoot running errands.
The morning had started out sunny, but then quickly turned ominous on the way into town, and by the time we reached BF it was thundering and pouring with rain.
I have no idea how this dog ever survived living in Florida because she is inconsolably terrified of storms.
There is nowhere she can hide that feels safe, and each time thunder rumbles (and it has rumbled a lot over the past month) all we can do is hold her tightly, wrap blankets tightly around her, talk to her, hold her, and move the lamp off the table in the living room during those times when she squeezes behind it.
She survived the terrifying trip to Blackfoot, and we survived trying to calm a terrified pup.............

A few days ago we drove to Arco.
We were selling something to a resident in that town, had agreed on a selling price, and it wasn't until we were well into our 30 minute drive through the desert that we remembered that the buyer had his own home-based garage.
We needed the Tahoe air conditioner charged, and after remembering what he did for a living, gave him a call.
Yes.........he charged air conditioners.
And yes - he was interested in making a trade and could charge the AC when we got to town.
Pleased with ourselves because the man would get the item he wanted without spending out-of-pocket and we would get what WE needed without spending out-of-pocket, we quickly drove through the small town of Arco, turned off the highway and drove another five minutes further into the country before reaching his home and garage.
It would take a while to get it all done - to identify whether or not we had a leak anywhere and then fill it with freon, and knowing that I smiled at LC and told him that I was going to walk along the road with Kory while we waited.
Opening the door to the Tahoe I blocked Korys' path while retrieving her leash, and she happily jumped down to the ground eager to be free.
Walking to the edge of the driveway I looked around me.
The day was cool and very overcast.  No rain yet, but it was only a matter of time.
We had never been to this area before, and as I looked around I realized that the guy and his young family lived in a beautiful place.
His yard was filled with lilac bushes that were in full bloom.
He was surrounded by farm land and mountains in every direction.
If there had been water here it would have been perfect, but as it was it was simply wonderful.
While still scanning the area I suddenly felt a sharp pull on the leash.
So sharp in fact that it pulled me off balance and jerked me forward, and it took me a moment to realize that it was because Kory had made a frantic leap at something in the tall grass along the edge of the road.
Everything happened quickly then.
I regained my balance.
Korys head jerked up, she took a few quick steps into the middle of the road and I realized that she had a baby bunny in her mouth.
As I heard it squeak I realized that it was still alive and I yelled at Kory to drop it.
Surprisingly she dropped baby bunny .
Immediately she picked it up again, shook her head once and dropped bunny back into the middle of the road.
There were no more squeaks.  Baby bunny was dead.
I watched Kory, who was momentarily studying her big kill.
This spring she has killed a number of bunnies, voles and mice out on BLM land and I knew from experience that she had no interest in eating any of them.  Once they were dead she was done with them.
And so it went with baby bunny.
Bunnies I felt badly for.
Voles and mice not so much.
Feeling badly for a small and sweet creature that didn't have a chance against my fast dog with a killer instinct, I looked down at it for a moment.
Taking a deep breath, I called to Korry.
C'mon Babe.
Happily, my pup turned away from the bunny and we began to walk down the narrow and winding paved road..................
We were walking slowly and not covering a whole lot of ground, but never-the-less Kory was having a great time sniffing her way along the side of the road and I was having a great time taking pictures of the beautiful mountains in all directions.
The day was very dark and looking through the sight of my camera I realized that I could make out very little in terms of detail - which meant that more often than not I was simply pointing and shooting.
All of a sudden I realized that there were animals hundreds of yards away from me that were headed our way.
They were so far away initially that at first I thought horses were coming to investigate us.
I knew from experience in Wyoming that horses are very curious creatures that loved to wander right up to a fence line, and then follow you along the fence line as they eagerly and quietly studied you.
It took only a minute to realize that these huge white and black and brown animals were not horses at all.
They ran without any of the natural grace that horses possessed.
For a moment I stood still and watched them lumbering, and it took another minute before I finally realized that they were llamas or alpacas - I don't know how to tell the difference.
As I had experienced many times with horses over in Wyoming, these llamas were very curious about the dog, and as they reached the fence they spread out so that they could get a better look at her.
Kory stood still and in silent awe of these unknown creatures..............
Still standing along the edge of the road with my dog, I stared at them for a few moments and then raised my camera to being snapping pictures of them.
They were beautiful, the hills behind them were beautiful.
Even the overcast day was beautiful..............
After my dogs' initial surprise reaction to these unknown creatures, she began to strongly pull on the leash.
When she is highly motivated Kory is hard to pull back, and so (equally curious about this unexpected sighting during our quiet walk) we both wandered across the road so that we could get a closer look at these five curious animals.
As we walked, the llamas followed along, not wanting to lose sight of us.
I had not expected an exciting walk.
Rather, I had expected a quick out and back, up and down the road with Kory, while killing time waiting for the Tahoe to be done.
Instead, a bunny had died and we had unexpectedly run into four inquisitive animals (who had awkwardly sprinted the length of the huge field and who were now following us).
I was enjoying this walk immensely, and I found myself hoping that our air conditioner would not be charged up too quickly.
I suddenly was in no rush to head back.............. 
Puppy wandered through the grass and sage brush, wanting to take a closer look at these four mysterious animals, and I watched her closely.
Could llamas jump fences if they felt threatened?
I had no idea, but I watched all six animals closely, ready to pull my dog back if need be.
But the llamas simply continued to watch her, seemingly enthralled by my 64 pound red headed Florida dog................
Kory and I slowly continued walking down the country road that was surrounded by mountains.
Without realizing it, I had needed this walk.
I had needed to be alone with my dog.  
Had needed the sight of beautiful and unexpected animals.
Had needed to be surrounded by hills and mountains on a cool and overcast day.
We finally found ourselves at the end of the llama field, and were greeted by the sight of a driveway, an old farm house, the llamas standing at the edge of the fence line still watching us.
As I looked over at the llamas I realized that they were indeed still completely focused on me and my dog.
Looking up I saw a "No Hunting No Trespassing" sign at the edge of the driveway.
We had been walking for only 20 minutes, and I absently wondered how LC was making out with the truck.
Should I head back the way I had come or continue walking?
Assuming that LC would call me when he was ready to go, I looked at the time and decided to begin heading back anyway.
Surely it would be done by the time we got back to the garage?
Taking only a few steps back the way we had come I realized that a truck was approaching.
Automatically I pulled Kory closer to me and then pulled her off the road and into the grass.
Expecting the truck to drive by, I was surprised when it instead came to a stop right in the middle of the road.
Looking at the driver I realized I knew him.
Not well.
But our paths had crossed a few times in Arco over the past year or so, and we had enjoyed each others company as we engaged in friendly conversation.
The old farm house was his.
The llamas were his.
And he and his wife both smiled and invited me to join him in the driveway so that I could see his other animals.
Smiling at yet one more unexpected event during what I had assumed would be an uneventful walk, I turned and headed up the driveway.....................

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