Last evening when Callie and I were taking the trail up toward the waterfall that feeds Silver Lake, several Mule deer were startled by us as we rounded the bend, and in return, we were taken by surprise too. Callie actually jumped and let out a scream of fear and I had to pick her up and reassure her that the deer were probably more frightened of us and not the other way around. It was actually quite funny and when they bounded off into the sagebrush, Callie and I continued home much wiser for the experience.
Starlings swooped down on the two of us as we were meandering back and they were totally outraged that a cat was in their mist. One jet black male in his prime practically brushed past my ear as he flew at my head, making me actually duck. I hissed back at him when he landed on a nearby tree branch and he watched us intently, clucking loudly. He was making sure that we were leaving his territory because there were probably nests and young around. The nerve of that bird though!
When the deer calmed down enough to graze by the babbling Rush Creek, Callie and I made our way back home to our RV so that we could tell Michael about our exciting adventure with all these strange and new creatures. She sure is having the time of her life. I am on the constant lookout for danger though when I have her out on the leash, and so far it has been good. She actually begs to go on walks now by jumping on the table and staring at me. Once she makes eye contact, she meows loudly, and if I don’t get the hint, she flops down and shows me her tummy and continues ramping up the charm until I get up and retrieve the leash and take her for another adventure.
On June 20, 2016, Michael, Callie, a good friend, Fred and myself, drove to Yosemite Valley from Mammoth and spent the day exploring all the sights. Fred is an expert guide and his love and knowledge of waterfalls is especially delightful and informative. Yosemite Valley was very crowded and I was dismayed to see that the pine-bore-beetle, is leaving its destructive mark on the pine trees. All in all though, there is nothing like Yosemite. Callie had a wonderful time and even got to see her first deer. When she sees something new and exciting, she has a funny way of leaning out the window and then pulling her head back in disbelief. Her body language is adorable, and it reminds me of a turtle. She also makes eye contact with me to see how I am handling the situation. If I appear excited and pleased with what I see, Callie follows my lead. It is so rewarding to expose her to new adventures because of this lovely trait. She is trusting and curious and I would do anything to protect her. While in Mamouth, we also visited Convict Lake and Callie did her first 3 mile hike. I had to carry her most of the way as I had yet to buy the front pack, but I will attest to the fact that she did her best to walk as much of the way as she could. We even had a 7 horse caravan clomping noisily past us, and she just looked on with amazement. It was also quite warm, and the trail was mostly in the sun, but when we reached the walkway that covers the glacier melt runoff, and we were surrounded by dancing birch trees, and a blast of fresh, cool, air…wow, what an experience! I seriously doubt that there has been another cat that has hiked around Convict Lake, but would love to hear from anyone who knows of such a thing!
Mount Rainier and Sunrise Lookout, with a hike to Frozen Lake, took first prize for overall beauty. The wildflowers were just starting to bloom and the alpine meadows at the top of the loop were spectacular. We saw a bear foraging for grubs at the base of the hike and a white tailed deer was enthusiastically rubbing velvet off his antlers on a low hanging branch. The view of Mount Rainier that day was unecumbered by clouds and the majestic scenes took your breath away. The forest is healthy and there are no obvious burn areas. The hike was strenuous because of the high altitude, but very doable and the reward of Frozen Lake, dramatic vistas and colorful display of wildflowers, so worth the effort. Clouds were billowing and starting to close in on the peak when we got to the half way mark, which made for dramatic photographs. The trail is a loop and you can start from either direction, and was created with a view of Mount Rainier. Before we headed out for our hike, we let Callie play and explore at the base of the trailhead because pets were not allowed on the trails. It was cool enough that day to make nap time enjoyable for her and when we returned, we found her sound asleep. The lodge offers decent food and we shared a sandwich, bowl of soup and an ice cream cone for dessert.