Zumi is now a solid two year old. Strong, with thighs that look like a scale model of an Arabian horse. She has endurance and she is crazy loyal. Her real work has now begun.
On Thursday, we met some friends and hit the trail. Her job for this run was only to stay with us. No animals to chase, no people to threaten, and I even carried her water for her.
On Friday, we loaded up and drove to the Pecos Wilderness. I put her pack on her, my pack on me and we (including Jaime) headed up the trail. Four miles later we set up camp. That night the temperature dropped into the mid 30's. I took Zumi's summer PJ's but not her mat and not her winter PJ's. She nestled in my down coat for a while, then squirmed her way into my sleeping bag, resting her head on my chest.
Saturday morning we hiked and ran for several hours. We saw bighorn sheep and Zumi stared at them but did not chase. We saw horses and again she was very polite, stepping off the trail and allowing them to pass undisturbed. It was late afternoon by the time Zumi jumped into the back of the truck, hunkered down on her bed and fell asleep.
Last evening after dinner, I told Zumi to load up in the truck. We picked up Jaime and headed for Mt. Taylor. Running in the dark, in the woods is exhilarating but also a bit scary. Look at those eyes, reflecting back at us. What kind of animal is it? Last night, it was only one eye, not a pair. Weird, right? Turns out there were birds hanging around on the trail, just sitting there waiting for us to get too close.
We topped out at 11,000 feet where there was a bit of new snow from the afternoon's storm. Then it was downhill and back to the truck, finishing up our little 10 mile jaunt and arriving just before midnight.
Today, Zumi seems to be wondering if maybe she wouldn't be better off living with humans that expect her to be decorative, rather than functional.
Our total mileage for the five day period? Just over 40 miles and almost 10,000 feet vertical. She has earned a day of rest.