Friday, January 30, 2015

Not a Lost Day

I drove up to look for the lost cat.

I have to do these things.  It quiets down my brain if I hear of something like that, and then do something about it, instead of just sitting here sobbing or fidgeting and angry over it.

I'm an action person.  I'd rather try to solve a problem then committee over it or cry about it.

The problem being however, I had and still don't have any accurate information on where that woman had the one car wreck and lost the cat.  I probably never will since she said she'd give me that info, the mile marker, and never did.

Is it a real story or a hoax?  I don't know that either.  Craigslist is a free for all.  You don't know the people posting.  You don't know if they are nuts or criminal or sincere and honest people.

I feel for the cat out there, if is true.  Wish I knew if it was or wasn't.

I can't determine it and I can't start a search with no known place to start either.

I like to track and read sign and I'm not bad at it, but to track you have to pick up the trail somewhere.  So not getting the information on exactly where the cat was lost was a game changer for me.

But I went up anyhow, had my traps just in case, and I surveyed the area and had a nice ride into Oregon's sunny mountains.  Winter has not hit Oregon.  Oh sure, we've had the gray and rain, but not the cold and snow in the mountains.  We need the mountain snows to have water in the summer.   It's scary warm here.  I mean I like it, but I know it means summer drought and its not normal.

I want water in the lakes this summer in case I get to take out my raft.

I drove up to Tombstone Pass on the Santiam Highway.   I stopped there at the pullout and looked around.  There was some really old dirty frozen snow piled up in a few spots.  A Lost Cat poster was on the bulletin board.  It was different than the craigslist post and said the cat was hurled from her car in a wreck last Sunday night, almost a week ago now, but again did not say where.
That's the lost cat flier on the bottom right

I drove on then, down to the Junction with 126, then decided to drive a bit farther east.  Had I been daring, I would have driven all the way to Bend, another 50 miles.  I've never been there.   But it was already approaching twilight.
Mt. Washington in the evening sun. 

That's when you find a lost cat or dog, at twilight.  But I didn't know where to start looking.  A mile wrong makes a huge difference.  I drove all the way to the Suttle Lake turn off.  That's where I camped once last summer.  It's so beautiful.

I tried calling the woman again, since I finally got some reception, hoping to get the mile marker of the wreck, but again, no answer.  I went back then to Hackleman Old Growth pull out, which is a few miles east of the pass.  Seemed a likely place for a lost cat to end up, to me at least, if she'd been lost nearby, that is.

I left some food, called some, listened awhile, then drove back up to Tombstone Pass, got out, called some, then listened for much longer.  Nothing.
That's FS 60 off Tombstone Pass, a road, sort of, but only currently fit for hiking.  It sinks south but roughly parallels highway 20, from below it, and if you take the left fork, when it does fork, you're on FS 61, which rejoins highway 20 not far beyond Hackleman's Old Growth pull out.  Be a perfect hike to take if looking for a cat along there and not wanting to walk the edge of the road.  Those orange posts are the snow poles attached to the shorter markers.  Those are all along the highway too, to mark the highway, during deep snow.  Not needed this year.  Not yet anyway.  It was last year we had 15 inches of snow here where I live, where we never get snow.  In February, no less.  So it's not too late for snow to come.  I hope it comes.
 So I came home, tailgated the entire way by a white Explorer.  I'd slow down on straight stretches, so they could pass, but they wouldn't, and would instead drop way back.  Then tailgate again. I thought, "Ok, whatever."  And ignored them.

I would have liked to spend the night up in the woods, but I didn't take the gear for it.   Maybe I will if I hear something to narrow down the search area some.  It wasn't a lost day because I love the mountains.  It's so beautiful up there.

I finally decided to express my frustration and sorrow over the cat possibly out there on her own to my lost dog hunter friends, the veterinarian from Bend and the Michigan couple.  I met both when searching for that mystical dog from the craigslist ad last fall.  I e-mailed both of my old dog hunter friends to tell them the latest lost soul story.

When I die I want my ashes tossed out there, near Tombstone Pass.  I want to be out there with the other lost souls in the mountains of Oregon forever.

The one incident I recall about somebody's ashes happened up in Summit several years back, when my boyfriend and two of his friends and me ended up there outside a hall on New Year's Eve.  But everybody was outside not inside around a huge bonfire.  Some kids started talking to me about this and that and one had a backpack on and said, "Do you want to know what's in my pack?"  It being Summit and New Year's Eve, I figured drugs or something.

But it wasn't.  It was ashes.  Her father's ashes.  She said he loved a good party so they brought him along.  Seemed very normal.  I said, "Does he want to dance?"  And she said "Well, he'd love to."  So I put the backpack on and danced around the fire.

That was a fun time.  I ran into two men I'd each known years before, and we talked about times past.

I would have liked to have stayed up in the woods tonight, and I should have done so, but I had the cats here to care for.  But that doesn't mean I can't go back tomorrow.  Or next week.  And spend a night under the stars.


  1. I hope you can go back and find some peace and healing under the stars.

  2. Almost like a mini road trip but with a purpose. But it is not really the right season for camping, is it.

  3. He liked a good party, so they brought him along :) thoughtful of them.

  4. No, Andrew, its a little cold for camping, even though the weather is unseasonably warm right now. It should be snowing up there. Winter camping is however highly popular here, even in the snow.

    I usually sleep in the back of my car, can rig it so I put a 3 inch cot mattress in there and its' very comfortable. I have a sleeping bag from my Alaska days rated to minus 55. Way too warm for Oregon winters, but I've kept it, I suppose for sentimental reasons.

    WhiteAngel, Summit is a little different. People move out there for all sorts of reasons, most are very independent minded and interesting.

  5. Yes, Scary Warm is a great description. Sorry you didn't find kitty, but your day looked beautiful anyway.

  6. Yeah, one feels guilty for enjoying it, like something terrible is happening but right now its ok, like you're being fed ice cream sundies that are delicious in one room while children are about to be murdered in the next, kinda like that. You have that uneasy feeling that somethings way off base, like somethings about to hit the fan.

    As for the cat, there are so many inconsistencies in the woman's story, from her telling me the wreck happened five miles east of the Pass, to her telling someone else it happened right at the pass, that I don't know what to think. I don't know if she really had a wreck, if the whole thing is a sick joke, if she abandoned her cat in Bend, and made up this story to cover her butt or if she dumped her cat up there, then had guilt over it and made the story up. You just don't know. I don't. But I wonder where the cat is, if there ever was one.