How To Enjoy Campfire Smoke, the Bob Cat and the Breakfast Tree
by Marijo Phelps 1/13/2010 / Short Stories
It was a gorgeous camping day in July high in the Colorado Rockies the sun was burning off the overnight mist and the scent of the pine trees was surrounding us. The smell of wood smoke from our camp fire gave our clothes the most wonderful scent. We cleaned up the breakfast dishes, remarking how everything tastes SO much better when consumed at 10,500 feet in elevation.
With our back packs, picnic lunch, water and hiking sticks ready and our clothing layered we were ready to drive to the area we planned to hike. And up we drove. Pinecones, pine needle carpets, vertical road bed of brownish red dirt and QUIET. The sunshine and blue, azure blue skies were peeking through the woods.
Mick found a higher yet relatively flat area that looked great on the topo maps he'd printed out and we had the GPS coordinates, so we were all set.
After parking the 4 Runner we took off cross country into the beautifully piney green forest.
"Jo, stop over your left shoulder is a bob cat!"
I cautiously began to dig in my pack trying to grab the camera while I glanced to my left, sure enough, there was a gorgeous bob cat. She sat with her ears perked forward looking straight at us.
"Why isn't it sauntering away from us?"
Just then the cat took off at a run parallel to us and ran to the base of an evergreen something else kept running right up the tree.
"Do you think we interrupted its breakfast? I was thinking that the cat had treed a squirrel but it sure was a fat one.
"Honey, look, she has a kitten."
Sure enough back over to my left we saw a tiny replica of the mama's light grayish white with darker spots and those pointy little tufted ears. No wonder she didn't run from us with her baby there too.
"Did we make them miss their breakfast?"
The mama and her little one stayed there staring at us but not long enough for me to find the darn camera and get their photo. Soon they just disappeared into the trees with an occasional meow and trilling throat noise.
"Mick, let's go and see what she treed."
"Oh, NO, it wasn't breakfast look Hon, there is ANOTHER kitten up in the tree!"
My mind started going really fast.if we stayed and the mama got too far away this little one might be abandoned. We needed to get out of there fast so she'd come back and not leave this baby. Oh, but I wanted a photo.
"Snap that picture and let's get out of the way here." Mick put his arm around me and pointed the direction he wanted us to go.
We took off at a brisk pace for a meadow just beyond the trees and the "chatter" began, a deep throated meow/purr combination answered by the tiniest little "mew". Then mama gave her gargling call again and I don't think it was just wishful thinking on my part it sounded like it was getting closer to the little "mew".
We couldn't see the tree where the kitten was but from the calling and responses it was evident that mama and baby were soon reunited. This beautiful bob cat and her twin kittens!
After about an hour's walk there were no felines to be seen when we arrived back at the "breakfast tree".
"There's a place not too far from here where I wanted to stop for a tailgate picnic, you up for that?"
"Sure Mick, can't believe we saw those cats and that I never did get a good photo."
We got into the truck and as we began to drive further on the dirt road we saw more twins. This time a mama deer and her two little ones with their spots still adorning their coats jumped out in front of the truck.
"STOP, let me get their picture" I stumbled out just in time for them to disappear into the trees.
This was not my camera day.
The picnic couldn't have been more delicious and we were into the truck and off exploring again.
"I don't believe it look over to the right side of the road, there is a doe and another set of twins!"
This time they ran before I could even get the door open. The whole world was camera shy that day. We were to find out that even the photo of the treed kitten didn't come out unless you really used your imagination BUT we had these pictures permanently printed on our minds.
We have never had another day in the woods where we saw 3 sets of twins. Must have had something to do with the climb we made to 11,000 feet and the fact that we saw no other trucks or people during our adventures that camping trip.
We have seen various bob cats since then but none has even had one kitten with them, never mind twins. That was an incredible blessing we won't ever forget.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news