The mountains above Nederland Colorado proved to be a place where I would become in touch with myself again………the good, the bad and the ugly. (Some more-so than others) 🙂
I must say that the Colorado mountains were the most beautiful serene place I have ever been in my life. I absolutely loved being there with nature, the picturesque mountains and wide open spaces. It was without question a place I would LOVE to live.
Mocha and Bear loved it also, but I have got to tell you that I was often surprised when I noticed wildlife (that was very close to us) that they never even noticed……
Like one morning on my walk back from the “greenie”(outhouse) ….I was walking up the hill slowly ~ as my lungs had not yet adjusted to the high elevation and I found I got around best if I paced myself a bit slower than normal. ~~ About 200 yards from our campsite stood a HUGE deer. She was standing perfectly still and I watched her as she watched the dogs skip along in front of me, Mocha sniffing every leaf that moved and Bear on chipmunk patrol poking his nose under rocks and logs…….Her only movement was a blink of her eye and a quick glance at me then quickly refocusing back on the dogs. When I say she was huge….I mean she seemed closer to the size of a small horse or a large buck than the size of deer that we have here in Indiana. She was just big and beautiful….majestic. When I see wildlife like that I have almost always felt some sort of connection that I have always found hard to explain……..it is something that I honestly have found almost spiritual….I felt the exactly same thing when I saw dolphins in the wild in Key West this year.
My dogs……the fabulous watch dogs that they are……never even noticed this huge creature standing directly across the gravel road from our campsite. Upon us returning to our campsite I loaded them into the truck to take a rest for a moment so the deer could go on her journey without the possibility of the two “watch dogs” possibly catching a glimpse of her and barking and acting like fools…….
I must admit that during this journey I discovered for the first time that I am deathly afraid of mountain lions. I mean, who doesn’t really have some fear of that type of predator…..but I never know how much I actually feared them till I got to Colorado and the only thing keeping them away from me and the dogs ~ in the dark of the night ~ was a thin nylon tent.
Bears didn’t really scare me as I know for the most part when camping they will only come into the campsite if you have left a cooler out or leave food scraps around the campsite….trash, etc. I made a point never to actually cook at camp as they had been having problems with a bear and a mountain lion not long prior to my arrival.
The bear story I was recanted made me laugh………….some college kids came in for the weekend to camp and during the evening a bear came into the campsite, opened the cooler they had left outside, ate a polish sausage, polished off an entire jar of mayo, shut the lid of the cooler and left.
The mountain lion story on the other hand made me cringe………..A couple in the mountains was sleeping with their French doors to their bedroom open to let in a cool evening breeze and at some point during the night a mountain lion came into the house and killed their 80 lb lab and drug it off while the owners watched in horror. (This happened about 1.5 miles away from the national forest I stayed in)
Evidently there was another mountain lion that was coming into camp at a state park area about ½ miles from where we were. The camp ground host told me to be careful with the dogs after dusk, the lion could stalk them for prey.
“Stalk them for prey…..Stalk them for prey”…………it just kept going on over and over in my head…..as I lay in that "thin nylon tent."
Um…. So okay…..I must admit that was the beginning of the end for me. I lay in the tent that night horrified that a mountain lion was going to eat my dogs ~ I seriously almost cried thinking about it….so after about 2 hours of tossing and turning, clicking my flashlight on and off about 500 times while pointing at the top of the tent, pausing only to listen to a twig crack in the distance…. I picked up both dogs and made a b-line for the truck……..in my PJ’s and flip flops, holding a flash light in one hand and a dog under each arm, (Bear weighs 50 lbs and Mocha around 30lbs) looking around like a crazy woman in the complete darkness of the forest for a mountain lion that might pounce out of the woods at any moment and eat my doggies. At about the half way mark between the tent and the truck I tripped and one of my flip flops flew off……only to be left there till morning. Once I got to the truck (mulch and dirt stuck to the bottom of my left foot)…..I wasn’t going back out….not till the sun came up……Not till I could keep an eye out for any stray mountain lions lurking around.
The following day it rained all day and starting pouring once it became evening. I was wet and cold, the dogs were wet and stinky, the tent was damp inside and out….only for me to get up in the morning to the mountain air being so cold you could see your breath ~~ while I was trying to stretch out my cold arm to put on my jacket I was seriously looking around for snow flakes. No snow flakes, but really cold rain is worse I would say…..The dogs didnt even want to get out of the truck to go pee……..They looked at me as if to say "No thanks Mom, I’ll hold it."
I was headed back for Indiana the next morning.
So here I am back at home, broke, looking for a new job and a new beginning on this thing we call life.