Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 22, 2010


I really am a dog person, having been partnered with a couple of English springer spaniels, a beautiful German Shepard and a miniature poodle.  I am allergic to cats, but they seem to like me.  Or, maybe they know I am allergic and just like to watch me suffer.

I had been living in my tent at Wild Iris in Wyoming for a few weeks when I received permission from friends, who were tribal elders for the Shoshone tribe on the Wind River Reservation, to backpack into an area, the Res, and stay for a few of weeks.  The area I went into was little visited and I was told that even tribal members never went.  My friend also said that you could access the area without climbing, but that would take a very long and circuitous route.

It took me five days of backpacking and climbing and/or rappelling to reach this area.  I had my tent, sleeping bag, a rope and some climbing gear, as well as fishing gear and about five pounds of oatmeal.  The oatmeal I would eat uncooked, mixed with water and generally not very exciting– but it was healthy.

I have never been so isolated from the world and alone– however, not lonely as I found myself on this trip.

When you find yourself alone like this, it becomes natural to search your soul and think about how and why you arrived at this particular point in your life.  It can also be very easy drive yourself over the cliff of insanity with these thoughts if you allow yourself to go that direction.  Fortunately I did not.

After spending a little over two weeks back in the winds, I decided to head back to civilization, slowly.  I retraced my path back to civilization for a couple of days and found a nice place to camp for a couple of days.  A couple of days was the plan, but it ended up being almost two more weeks.

When I had been staying in Sinks Canyon, a cougar had apparently taken a liking to me; either that or he didn’t like me, but wanted to let me know I could stay there.  Either way, he would have his eye on me.  How do I know this?  I know because he sprayed my tent, not once but twice.  It was so horrible I had to buy a new tent.  I needed a new tent anyway, but the smell of cat piss on your tent will certainly provide a valid excuse for a new tent.  And yes, I was in the tent on one of the occasions that this cougar sprayed it, and I witnessed his act of blatant perversion  up close and personal.

Back to my trip into the winds.  The reason I ended staying at this one camp site for almost two weeks was that I spotted a young bob cat in the area.  This was actually a bob kitten.  I named him “Bobby” and would watch him everyday.  He was not afraid of me and he knew I was there.  He seemed healthy and did not appear to be malnourished.

There was an area amongst some rocks that I would be able to spot him regularly, an area where I was able to stay pretty much hidden.

One day, Bobby did not show up on schedule.No big deal…  it wasn’t like we had an appointment to have our secret rendezvous at the rocks at a regularly scheduled time.

I was about to give up and go back to camp when something large landed on my shoulders.  It was Bobby.   He wrapped him self around the back of my neck on top of my shoulders.  He did not claw me.  Instead he started purring like the kitten he was, and then started sucking on my goatee, like he was nursing or something.

I will admit my first thoughts were of fear.  I mean, here was a twenty-plus pound wild cat, pouncing on my back. My next thoughts were of amazement and wonder.  I never attempted to pet Bobby, but I did speak to him, although I do not remember what I said.  I probably just babbled some nonsense that was intended as much to sooth my nerves as his.

Bobby finally quit nursing on my goatee and jumped off of my back and ran away.  It was the last time I saw him, maybe.

A few weeks later, a friend of mine, who was on the run from and hiding from a powerful organization, on whom she had blown the whistle  and was trying to expose their secrets and lies, mentioned that she had heard of a animal rehabilitation center less than a hundred miles away. She wanted to visit so that she could learn how these wild animals were rescued and eventually released into the wild.  She asked me if I would go with her on this visitation.

When we reached this center, we found it was very small and only had a couple of young deer and a bob cat currently in residence.  We were invited into a structure and told that the bob cat would probably would never be released back into the wild because he just seemed to like people to much.

It was at about this moment, when suddenly something jumped on my back, wrapped itself around my neck and began sucking on my goatee.  My friend and the woman who ran the center just looked on in amazement.  Bobby, if this was indeed the same bob cat, just kept nursing and purring.

Later, the woman who ran the shelter said she had never witnessed anything like that in over the twenty years she had been rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals.  Personally, I looked at it as though I had maybe reached a level of peace and understanding of myself and that it was a peace that emanated from me in a manner that was soothing to both the savage beast as well as the people with whom I came into contact. In any case, just the memory of these experiences brings a smile to my face and a feeling of joy and calmness to my spirit.


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