Wandering—Chapter 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 load cows out from Bazzoli field. There were only two that had to go, the rest could be randoms—it was slow going without the dog. It had been a full day and a half since I’d seen her… More HERE

Lodge Lake—Chapter 14

Below the forested canopy old mossy timber prevails above its own darkness, casting shadows on shadows, listing in soaring breezes, groaning beneath their own immensity—Frank

—But it was near calm at ground level. After years of living in the backcountry, fear rarely crosses my mind. But, one small piece of the Pacific Crest Trail that had been eluding me for several years, put a little jeebie in me one day while I was out alone with Wiley and Chloe. I’d decided since I had a couple of days off, we’d trailer over and take a look since it’s just a little more than an hour drive from base camp. After inviting a few different folks to tag along, I was on my own. LT wanted me to stop off on my way back to tell him how it went—said he needed a good laugh. I asked him what was so funny, he just said, “you’ll see”. “What?” I asked. He just laughed and walked away over to the barn wavin’ his arm and hand at me from behind. I shook my head a little side to side squinting, “what the hell?”

The first part of the trail passes through a ski area up on Snoqualmie Pass —The only leg of the Washington section I had not been a part of, was from this starting point over to Goat Peak, near Easton. Be a good long day ride and a half—My brother lives just north of there so I can get a ride back to the trailer. Wiley started off eager and made pretty good time past Beaver Lake and into the dense timber. It had rained a lot the night before and the trail in that section was full of mud-bare, old-growth roots and standing water. The trees were still dripping but the skies were fairly clear. Thick moss, salal, and ferns spread out into the dense timber for what looked like an endless jungle—it was dark as dusk.

I kept thinkin’ about LT and what he was sayin’, then I figured he was just playin’ to put some kind of doubt in me. But, so far so good, and I can’t see lettin’ someone else’s fear of somethin’ make me afraid too—just not my nature.

We pulled along side lodge lake and up at the far end was a little camp area. I got down for a minute and took a quick look around when of the sudden the hair stood up in the back of my neck like I was bein’ stalked. Wiley unsettled himself at the same time—that’s always the first sign of trouble. Horses are flighty creatures—run like hell and ask questions later. You can train a lot of that fear out of them with trust, but when fear takes over you better hope you’re not in the way, or on em’—maybe—well, it depends on the situation. I didn’t want to get left behind so I climbed aboard with Wiley circlin’ away to get movin’. When I got back on everything went back to normal and bein’ the kind of person that trusts his horse (more or less) I figured it was all ok. Then I got to thinking, maybe Wiley was thinkin the same thing. Well, now I just don’t know if he’s trustin’ me, or I’m just trustin’ him. All I know is if the time comes, I hope to hang on.

We spun around and headed back to the trail and on our way. Chloe ran point as always—that dog does two miles to every one of mine. She heads up a quarter mile and then trots back to check in. Then off she goes again. Back and forth all day scouting’ the way. She stays back till I say ok, but she can hardly wait on her own. She’s just wired to be wired I guess—weird. Much of the trail started to open up into logging country and even crosses some logging roads along the way, but about two miles past the lake the horse just froze and backed up a couple steps rearin’ just a little. Chloe took off into the brush chasin’ after something and that damn dog just disappeared. So I called out, whistled and waited. Wiley wasn’t likin’ the whole thing, and I could just feel his horsepower tensin’ up, and then he’d relax. He was smellin’ something, but we weren’t seein’ anything, including the dog—she had never left my line of sight before. Fifteen minutes went by, then thirty minutes went by. I was whistlin’ loud and hearing nothing. I was beginning to think maybe this whole day was a bad idea.

It’s never too late to regret. People only regret when it’s too late—Frank

I had a dog named Monty when I lived in Bellevue for a while, and every so often he would run off. There was a house he would go to in Issaquah—twelve miles away by car and about seven as the crow flies—not sure how he ever found it the first time, but there was another dog he had a thing for. It was across busy streets, up over a mountainside development and through timbered areas and several neighborhoods in a cul-de-sac. But, a lady called the number on the tag and said she had my dog. When I heard where, I was thinkin’, “what the hell?” Just like today. But every time Monty would get out, he’d go back to that same house. It got to be a running joke. “Hello? “You have my dog again?” I wished somebody could do that for Chloe about now. We needed to get moving—or go home. We started lookin’ around the general area. My worry was startin’ to get serious. Two hours then three…then four—I had to turn back. It was 4 o’clock. Not sure if you have ever galloped a horse before, but galloping on a mountain trail is about as crazy as can be—but the reality today was panic and fear—where was my damn dog? We pulled up to slow down at lodge lake to manage through the mud and the roots and Wiley stopped again. He balked at even one more step, so we took a little side detour towards a high spot to see if I could call her in one more time. The terrain started up, but leveled off lookin’ like a mud bog for about a thirty feet, but appeared well used by something. Wiley stopped again and just refused to go further. “Well horse friend”, I said, “you won’t go the other way, and you won’t go this way, you won’t go that, and I sure as hell don’t want to be here for the night, so what do you want to do?” I rarely ask a horse for his opinion, but now was a good time for suggestions. I urged him on a few more times and he finally relented, took a couple of stutter steps like he was gettin ready to jump, put his front feet down in the edge of the mud and the bottom fell out. He lunged in belly deep mud and I was able to bail off the side and see if he could buck his way out of it. He barely crawled out the other side and had black mud a foot from the top of his hind quarters. I was so focused on lookin’ for the dog, I forgot who the trail boss was.

If a puddle looks deep, doesn’t mean it is, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t. Trust your horse—Frank

That was a pretty close shave right there, but after checkin’ Wiley out, we managed to get back under way, picked a better lie back to the main trail and made it down to the truck. I figured I’d just sleep in the trailer in front of Wiley, but I figured wrong. I’ve done that quite a bit lately—sleepin’ in a horse trailer with a horse is about like sleepin’ on a waterbed with a automatic tsunami timer set to go off once a minute. They just don’t stand still, and every time I’d wake up, it would be to more worry. C’mon dog! I finally fell asleep and woke at daylight—still no Chloe.

We went back to the spot we lost her and nosed around for a while but nothin’. There was not any weirdness or balking horse this time. It was calm and empty.

I left a sign at the resort map board and a couple at the summit stores, rest area, gas station, talked to a few people and went back home, hoping for somethin’. I started thinking about Monte, and how he was able to find his way through the craziest of neighborhoods and navigate his way in the city and hills. Maybe Chloe just went home.

Foundering

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Ships founder when overladen with good things, or when a load shifts positions in high seas. Any unforeseen problem can effect the vessel and cause it to list and wain, eventually sinking under its own weight. Poor design can also affect the ships performance.

Horses can founder when they consume too much spring grass containing too much Fructan. Fructan is a sugar stored in grass that is typically saved for future development of the plant and photosynthesis. During early morning and cool overcast conditions grass can contain too much of this sugar the horse cannot process. The Fructan builds up and passes to the large intestine where it creates lactic acid which then delaminates the hoof wall. Sort of a diabetic type process for horses where a sugar overload causes problems and then pH levels become acidotic. Again, what appears to be a normal pasture to most, is highly toxic to reality.

Religion is constantly switching positions and foundering as well. With too much psychological/chemical/neuro stimulation without reference to reality, feelings are easily manipulated by smooth talk and big promises. Promises that don’t match with reality. Too much bible skews perception and causes its adherents to narrowly assess life through a small prism of archaic contradiction and excuse for changing morals and long explanations of why it was ok. The answer is alway more bible, which entrances the mind, and like any single disciplinary approach, foundering occurs oblivious to the host. The key to understanding the mysteries is unbelief, which is why unbelief is condemned so highly in Abrahamic religion. Monotheism has no room for tolerance, and evidence contrary to faith is easily dismissed without second thought. This is not a virtue, it is an illness. What is thought of as the remedy, is actually the illness. Horses have to change their stance when foundering, which is exactly what we see in religion when things don’t add up. But god never changes? Hmm

Horse changing his stance to relieve the pain in the coffin bone and hoof from laminitis.

Looking Gift Horses or Licking

Mom used to always say, “Never lick a gift horse in the mouth”. She was from Mississippi, so there was a little bit lost in translation. I didn’t know “lick”, was “look” until I was about 20. But is it good to take a gift horse without looking it over first? Usually gift horses have something wrong, and often expensively so.

Looking in the mouth can help you approximate the age and feeding ability. Do the teeth need floating or other care you may not be able to afford? If the horse is 35 and not 25, it’s going to die soon and that’s a whole series of problems when you have to deal with a thousand pound carcass. If your gift horse is a cow-hocked, ring-boned, spavined and foundered, maybe it best you don’t accept the gift after checking it out. Enter Religion.

It too is a “free” gift of salvation from sin. Sin you didn’t even know you had. Pointing out faults is a great way to make friends. Free to attend meetings and they’ll even throw in a free bible if you ask. But maybe first you should look under the hood? It is a money trick, and if you don’t “look”, be ready to take your “licks” when you find what’s below the surface. Just remember what free actually means to them, when to be in good standing you eventually have to pay. And you have to check your thinking cap in at the door. They’ll even tell you what to say, and everything else to believe. Don’t take my word for it, but do your own checking and remember if it’s a good deal, it will still be a good deal after you check it out. Missionaries will never tell you what the internet can.

Trichoglyphs, Behavioral Traits, and a Russian Fox

Who would think the common hair whorl could spawn such genetic and behavioral implications?Trichoglyphs, or hair whorls in horses and cows and the direction of the whorl can predict certain behaviors such as left and right handedness and temperament. The higher the hair whorl in a horse, the more flighty and unpredictable the horses behavior. Dressage and jumping horses tend to be highly athletic and ambidextrous and double hair whorls are common in the sport. The clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the whorl can also determine handedness in horses, and in K9’s making dog selection for guide and service dogs an important predictor in success. Right eye dominant dogs are less distractible when being led, and choosing the correct dog for such purposes can save time and training costs. “Dogs are both left- and right-handed, he explained, and this has an influence on their selection as guide dogs for the blind because the dogs are trained to work on a person’s left side. He cited a 2012 study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research that showed that success was higher for right-preferent and ambidextrous dogs, and that the presence of a whorl on the dog’s left side of the head and thorax was associated with a right visual bias.

Abnormal and multiple trichoglyphs are common in birth defects in humans. Most notable in correlation with brain function abnormality. Hair follicle develops at the same time and from the same material as brain development in embryos.

Russian Fox Experiment

Dmitri K. Belyaev, a Russian scientist, may be the man most responsible for our understanding of the process by which wolves were domesticated into our canine companions. Article Here

Belyaev domesticated 40 generations of silver fox, retaining only foxes with mild temeperment towards human interaction. Not only did the foxes eventually behave like domestic dogs, but their physical characteristics changed as well. Drooping ears, changes in fur and odors were significant as well as cranial and jaw structures.

“Even Darwin noted, in On the Origin of Species, that “not a single domestic animal can be named which has not, in some country, drooping ears.” Drooping ears is a feature that does not ever occur in the wild, except for in elephants. And domesticated animals possess characteristic changes in behavior compared with their wild brethren, such as a willingness or even an eagerness to hang out with humans. If you don’t think evolution is possible, look at how one simple seemingly harmless invisible trait can virtually change the whole animal in a relatively short time frame.

What about us?

As we began our own “domestication” process 12,500 years ago, what were we like? Who were we? What changes in physical features and thought have happened to us? What caused us to collaborate our superstitions into groups defending and promoting a god? Has “civilizing” turned us superstitious and neurotic, or were we always that way?