Looking back, everything that happened from the moment she went missing seems utterly surreal. And I mean it just that way – none of it was real. I had that “This happens to other people – not me” sensation from the time she disappeared to the time (happy time) we found her this morning.
It was so odd – her running off like that. But it didn’t worry me. She’s done it before, especially at Bannock Point because she doesn’t like the sound the trucks make. But then, all I have to do is turn a corner of the trail and there she is – maybe two corners if it’s been a very noisy day. And that is exactly what I expected so I wasn’t at all worried. I just hiked on but after five minutes, I started calling her. And then she still wasn’t there – so I called and called. After fifteen minutes, I knew I had something to worry about so I took Abby back to the car and went back to the trail, hiking the full length of it, calling every few steps.
When I got back to the car and no Shanara, I knew we had something serious on our hands. I had still hoped she would have circled and gone back to the car. But how could she when there was a full artillery barrage going on?
That’s when I called Simon who left work and set out to the lake side of the trail, talking to every camper he met. Meanwhile, I got back and hiked awesome again as well as the upper trail all the way out to the gravel pit.
Then we came back home, I posted everywhere and Simon went out with a headlamp. At about 10 or 10.30 we knew we had to get some sleep. The plan was to set out again at first light. But Simon also put her blanket and one of his shirts down near the parking lot.
There was not a great deal of sleep happening in our house last night. Even Abby had nightmares. I had to get up and give her a cuddle. We were up before five and back at Bannock Point just as dawn was giving us enough light to see. I had my heaviest stomping boots on as well as my gaiters. I was determined to bushwhack every piece of that place.
And that’s exactly what we did: up and down the ridges (some scrambling involved). We shouted, we looked over cliffs, we flung ourselves through copses of trees and miles of bushes. Finally, we came out at about 9 a.m. on the gravel pit road. Again, we shouted – and that’s when we saw a camper we’d met the night before, waving his arms. Why? Because there she was! Shanara. And the minute she spotted us (or I should say Simon) she ran her best run ever. And we were so happy: a pure kind of happiness that has something to do with relief but everything to do with your fondest wishes coming true and an outflowing of gratitude beyond measure.
Shanara must have hunkered down somewhere for the night, then come back to the parking lot. She found the campers at about 8.30, cold and shivering. Our lovely camper friend put her in his sleeping bag to warm her up. He seemed as happy as we were with hugs and huge grins all around.
Yes, Shanara was grinning too – even more when she hopped into the back seat of the car – and then some more when Simon gave her a huge bowl of breakfast and yet more when I gave the puppies treats.
As you can imagine, she is now doing nothing but resting. We have a happy family. Abby is happy too – there were puppy kisses when Shanara walked in the door.
The only sad thing is that Simon won’t be coming with Nicky and I to Sol Mountain Lodge tomorrow. And I understand completely. I wouldn’t leave a dog in a kennel either after such an ordeal. And so it will be just Nicky and I – and as I said to Simon, he may not be missing a great deal given the weather forecast.
I have a lot to do today: cooking and other preparations. But – um – whatever. We have Shanara back. The world is spinning correctly on its axis again.