|Posted by johnnieraz on February 24, 2018 at 12:30 AM|
NOTE: There is a somewhat disturbing photo below. Do not view while eating. Just sayin'
By John Rezell
Coming off a tiring stretch of a long string of work days, my favorite chair called to me like ancient sirens. A day of chillin' sounded perfect. Time to recoup and regenerate. In a word, I felt exhausted.
Ridgely had other ideas.
Let me preface this by saying that when it comes to getting outdoors and enjoying nature, Ridgely is beyond obsessed with it — as noted in the photo above. She's still like that today, even at the ripe age of 11.5.
She grew up with us hitting the woods at least twice a week as I wrote an outdoors column for the newspaper. So her most recent role as a stay-at-home-during-the-week-while-I-work-in-my-office-dog doesn't sit well with her.
She's the true athlete of the family. I'll ride my mountain bike for 2, 3 sometimes 4 hours and she'll run along. We'll hike for 8 hours and she's there every step of the way.
Wait, let me rephrase that on hiking. She'll run 50 yards ahead, then run back to us. Over and over. So hiking, well, she usually covers about 1.5 times the mileage compared to the rest of us.
How much does she love getting out? I have this red shirt I wear for most hikes. If she sees me put it on, she goes nuts. Absolutely crazy. Check out this video:
Back to my rest day. No red shirt. But that doesn't mean she wasn't going to drop some big hints of what she had on her mind. In essence, she looked around and saw Debbie and I sitting at home. That means no one was going to work. So it's time to play.
She politely sat up straight in front of me and gave me her puppy eyes. I laid down on the floor to pet her. That's when she went full throttle on me.
She literally did everything in her power to get me up. She grabbed at my hands with her paws, trying to pull me along. She shoved her nose, then head, under my arms to pull me up. Eventually she tried to squirm her entire body beneath my back to life me up.
She gave an amazingly entertaining show, yelping and begging the entire time [again, watch the video above to get an idea]. Eventually, like all the girls in my house, she won.
I pulled on the red shirt, and things got really crazy. I opened up the truck and had her hop in the back. She'll sit there for hours to make sure I don't leave without her. She got her wish.
We drove up outside of Oakridge and hit the Middle Fork Trail for some mountain biking. It's my favorite trail next to the McKenzie River Trail. While the McKenzie River Trail is often populated, the Middle Fork is generally all mine. Especially this time of the year.
A few years back, round about this time during a winter with more snow and colder weather than we are having, I hit the trail with Ridgely.
We climbed a steep hill, and when we got to the top. Well, take a look at what greeted us:
When you are in the middle of the woods, miles from your truck, it's the kind of sight you expect to see in a horror movie. A typical horror movie would have a clean Elk skeleton. Nope. This was half-eaten. Only half. Something planned to come back for seconds. Or thirds. Or Ridgely and me for dessert.
Every hair on my body leaped out of my skin. We stuck around long enough to snap this photo, then spun and vanished in a hurry. I kept Ridgely close to my side, and started singing quite loudly.
Back to this year's ride. We were climbing the hill about to enter the Elk Zone. I noticed that some other mountain bikers had been on the trail within the past few days. Their tire tracks were clear.
Walking up a steep section with water trickling down the center of the trail, I saw a very fresh, very large paw print. Cat print. Knowing what we know, Ridgely and I turned around and headed home. More than enough excitement for one day.