Thursday, July 09, 2020
Yesterday, something unimaginable happened: I lost my beloved Pimmy Donkey in Bend’s Horse Butte National Wilderness.
This donkey is bonded highly to my horses. When I’m on horseback Pimmy follows loosely, has done so for years and hundreds of miles in many terrains and environments. Lately, we’ve begun traveling in the Horse Butte Wilderness. She follows as I ride one horse and lead another, hunting for horse trails, pleasant and interesting, for our routine outings.
Pimmy is confident, not in a hurry, and typically, lags behind maybe fifty- to one-hundred-yards. I pause the horses often to graze until our the donkey catches up. Yesterday, after a long ride, I turned the horses onto a narrow trail toward the trailhead but quickly became very preoccupied with them. Rosie wanted to trot and needed holding back, while Sunni kept lowering her head to grab at grass and needed pulling forward. Our struggling continued through the half-mile trail. At its end, I stopped to let the horses graze and wait for Pimmy.
She didn’t show up, a first-time ever! Finally worried, I pushed my trail-weary horses back on the path, but in the direction from which we’d come. Surely, that donkey would be marching toward us or grazing. Nope. On reaching the roadway, I searched for her little hoofprints, but ferreting through many prints in dust requires a more experienced tracker. My horses then continued along the road that looped around to the trailhead. Throughout, no signs of Pimmy.
Nor was she at the trailhead. So, I’d have to ride out again and search for her. After calling for help from my friends, Dave and Julie, I tried to saddle Sunni, but was too upset imagining Pimmy alone in the forest at night to tack-up correctly. I still was struggling with that saddle when Dave and Julie arrived. Dave suggested I call the Sheriff’s Office in case someone might see and report Pimmy. That call turned into solid gold, for someone had spotted her.
The next couple of hours consisted of my loaded rig creeping over bumpy Forest roads as I tried to link up with Ranger Maria who knew where to find Pimmy. I’ll skip most of the details, except to say that finally FR Maria began to guide Dave into the forest over roads too narrow for my rig. I drove around to the trailhead where Julie and I waited.
At last from the Forest, here came Dave leading our beautiful Pimmy: https://youtu.be/-DYDvWQibSo
Dear Friends: I’m thankful for forest watchers, kind friends, and now will keep Pimmy in sight. Diana