Friday, November 6, 2015

Walking With Panthers

   A few weeks back I was instructed to go see a specialist down in the city, probably something to do with that little heart attack event I had awhile back I would imagine, which I've almost forgotten about. The young doctor plugged me in and put me on a treadmill, then ran me uphill in my cowboy boots on my sore foot for about 15 miles it felt like, periodically increasing the treadmill speed until I sounded like some three legged horse on there. Failing to trigger another heart attack she turned it off and sat me down while my dangling eye-balls retracted back into their sockets.
"Blood pressures a little high" she informed me.
"Driving down here in the city does that to me"I said, and she probably thought I was joking.
"Are you on any regular exercise program?" 
"Well..." I said, thinking for a moment, " I just get up in the morning and it kind of finds me."
"Could you be more specific." she asks, needing to fill in the blank spaces on her form.
"Well..." I said, pondering over the previous several weeks for an example...
"I brought in the season's firewood!", figuring this alone would cover all the empty spaces.
"Oh yes!" she says, "It's good to get out and gather sticks in the Fall, ...and what else?"
I told her some of those sticks were several feet in diameter, and I would bring in and split another truck-load or two if it would make her feel better.
"That won't be necessary." she assured me.
"What else?" she needled, eagerly holding pen to form.
"Well...,  sometimes I gotta go up the mountain and check the intake, and I walk or ride pretty regular down to the hot spring...., and I bang on the drums..., and I walk the cats and...
"Wait a minute." she giggles before I get it all out, "Did you just say you walked your cats?"
"Well doesn't everyone?" I asked, cracking her up again.
She laughed and laughed at the vision of some idiot out walking his cats.  I think she probably figured I took them out to the local park to prance around on a leash or something.
   Well..., cat-walking has been a tradition as long as there have been cats around here.
SkoOk and ChUk when they were kittens use to follow me about when I was puttering around the yard and I began to take them on little cat adventures, down by the water, following the river-side trail or down the airstrip, places they normally wouldn't go on their own I would hope.
I made sure the brothers completed my Monster 101 course before we embarked on any adventures.

   As they grew older they would come get me when they decided it was time to go for walkies, often when I was headed out the shop door off to do something and often you just can't say no. At least I can't.
And I can't say every day, but most days I try to take the cats for a walk, although it's probably the other way around, and some days, weather and time permitting, we may have several.
I often get cajoled into after dark adventures too. Understandably, the after dark excursions are my least favorite, and try to limit them to within the yard lights if possible so neither one of us gets grabbed by some beast from the woods.
And if you have ever walked your cat, you will know you don't get anywhere very fast.

    With the low water out front lately they like to take me down on the dried-up channel to check out any new smells. Most soft-padded wildlife traveling at night will take the rocky channel, leaving their scent on common rubbing spots, like driftwood or a certain old stump, which the cats take particular interest in. It keeps them on their toes, and makes them more aware of the ever present dangers when you leave the yard. They don't venture off too far from the compound on their own as a rule I don't think, but with the 'big cat' tagging along they feel safe to go off and explore.

I'm not always the troop leader either, these days girl-cat ChYk often likes to take the lead.
The buggers often challenge me to the slippery log walk, who says cats don't have a sense of humor.

We practice our defensive tree-climbing skills.
ChYk and ChUk, checkin' out minnows.

Once in awhile we might head out beyond the big fire-pit, past the cable trolley and along the river trail, and have a sit-down at Skookie's resting spot.
Chuk's brother Skook was called back to heaven one cold, depressing January several years ago that is forever etched in my mind. This is his final resting place, with a cast likeness resting above.
We often rest here in the shade too on our walks that he enjoyed so much, and there is a great view overlooking the river channel, ... even through fogged-up glasses.
Considering the ever-present dangers out here with the coyotes, bobcats, cougars, and eagles from above, it was a moments negligence on my part that took the precious life of our wonderful little friend and hiking partner.
But I can't talk about that right now.

All that adventure can tucker an old cat right out.
With the shorter days and cooler weather now it's nice to sometimes lay back in the afternoon with a book and pull on the pre-heated cat blanket. Cats are good for something after all!
I suppose cat-walking may not be the best cardio work-out around, but its pretty good for the old soul.


  1. Boy........ The second to last picture says it all.. Who's really running the Hot Spring Lodge? Oh and don't forget to Remember tomorrow. November 11.All the best Casey.

  2. Dale Bassingthwaighte here,
    I really enjoyed reading about your present and past experiances.
    Sounds like life has been good to you Robin.
    Your attitude has equipped you to handle the challenges you encounter.
    I know because I have had a few physical challenges myself.
    That being said, these are the happiest days of my life!
    Some of the experiances you and I shared I would just as soon forget, but some of them were extremely funny and I can still remember laughing till my belly hurt. At what I can't remember but we had our share of fun. I liked reading about your cats. I have one that is very attached to me.
    Every good wish,

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hey Dale, been a long time. Ya we had a few laughs back in the early 70's. You had a starring role in my May 2014 post Swedish Time Machine. Email me man, curious where and how you is.