The dog was well behaved through the night. No noise, no mischief, and only pottied outside. She was a little nervous in side but slept on the horse blanket all night. Sleeping on the floor in the stone building next to the fireplace kept us warm all through the night.
With the morning came a warm breeze from the south and definitely warmer temperatures. The lake, however, was still solidly covered with ice. Last night, a kind local who had brought hay for the horses, had also taken an axe to the ice and created a small hole for the horses to drink out of. It was kind of weird walking them out on the ice on the lake to get them to the water hole. But they figured it out without a problem.
Thankfully Steve had come back out with breakfast and a helping hand to get us packed up. We had a little canine distraction that followed us everywhere, so it was nice to have a couple extra hands! As we rode away from the unique campground, the dog stopped what she was doing and came running over to follow us. Looks like she’s determined to stick around!
With the warm temperatures came snow melt and lots of mud. Looks like it’s going to be slow going for a while until the roads and shoulders melt and dry out.
We were on quiet dirt roads the entire day. The dog was enjoyable entertainment for us. We watched her catch opossums, jump high like a coyote and then nose dive to catch mice, and proudly carry old deer legs around! She is quite the self sufficient hunter! It was a little weird having a dog along that we had absolutely no control over. But she always stayed very close to us and never let us get very far no matter what distraction she had. We were really starting to get fond of her and hoping that she did stick around. We decided if she followed us across the state line, then for one more day, we would name her and start trying to train her in earnest. At one point during the day, an in tact male dog came running out to play with her and was getting a little too excited. Not knowing anything about unspayed female dogs, I decided to rescue her. I still can’t believe I did this to a dog I didn’t know, but I was compelled. I jumped off Apache, ran over and grabbed her, picked her up and threw her over my shoulder, and walked with her down the road for 1/8 of a mile or so until the male dog finally quite following! What really amazed me though, was that she did not move one muscle the entire time I was carrying her! That said alot about her personality and temperament, and we really started talking about her being ‘the one’ to adopt us. And you know how God has really shown us his attention to detail in the “coincidences” that occur regularly for us? Well, along the road today, Richard found a dog toy complete with squeaker- the only one we have seen in 2,500 miles. Hmmmmm. Kinda makes you wonder!
Then we came to the Missouri border just before dark. Since it was a smaller road, the sign was not as fancy as the signs on the main roads, but we still commemorated our milestone with a pause for pictures. We included the dog.
We rode another mile into the new state when Nina and Jason, last night’s campground caretakers, came by and let us know that a man a mile back could host us for the night. It was getting dark and we still hadn’t found a place to stay. There weren’t many houses in this area. Richard and I groaned at the thought of riding backwards a mile, so they drove around to the nearby ranch houses to see if we could stay at one of them. One said no and the others weren’t home. We grumbled and turned around to go back to the first home 1/8 mile just east of the Missouri border. So did the dog. Hey- at least we were still technically sleeping in a new state tonight!
The older gentleman who hosted us was tickled pink to have some visitors. “I rarely see anyone all day long every day working out here on the ranch,” he told us. The horses were put out in a pen where he fenced off all his round bales. They had the pick of dozens of bales of hay. Instead, they chose to dig through the snow to the new green grass shoots coming up! The man let us take the dog inside where we set up our camping pads again and got to have a little more bonding time with her. Since we got finished so late, we all went to bed pretty quickly, and dreamed of naming the dog tomorrow night.