Our beloved dog, Kaya, of almost 17 years passed on this week. She was one month shy of turning 17. Kaya means “stay and never leave” in Inuit, and she really lived up to her name right to the very end. I have a lot of nice photos of her, but this was the ONLY one I could find with a waterfall, and it is just a crappy iPhone shot. So odd, I was sure I had more than that! You would think I would have more than that! This one was in Oregon, I believe. Anyway, I just wanted to share some short and funny memories of her with you. I’m sure you do not care about my memories of Kaya, but all of them are related to hiking, so they are not totally irrelevant to this waterfalls blog. Ha ha.

      The scariest moment in her life (that I remember) was when she almost fell over the lower tier of Whiskeytown Falls. I was not paying attention to her while I was photographing the waterfall, and when I looked over at her, I saw her slip into the creek above the falls. She managed to clamber back up on the rocks just in time. Whew! I always wondered what would have happened if she had gone over. She would not have died, perhaps, but she probably would have been injured and I would have had to carry her all the way back to the car. 

        She was a medium sized dog, not heavy, but heavy enough. She hated walking over any kind of bridge, especially if you could see the water flowing beneath it. When we went to Tamanawas Falls in Oregon, there is a bridge near the beginning of the trail. Somehow, she walked over it on the way to the falls, but on the way back she completely refused. The creek was flowing far too fast for her to wade across and she would not walk over that bridge. Period. What was I going to do? There was only one thing to do and that was carry her across. It was a very narrow and icy bridge. She was a good girl though and held completely still while I carried her, otherwise I could have easily slipped and we both would have been in the creek. Do you know the extremely narrow and freaky bridge over Canyon Creek at Gold Run? She crossed on that one no problem (both ways). To this day, I wonder how she ever walked across that bridge. It was early on. Maybe that’s the one that did her in for the rest of her life.

          She was excellent at walking over rocks and boulders and such things that are not easy, especially for dogs. I am the waterfall madman, and I frequently go off trail. Kaya always followed me wherever I would go, and without any difficulty. If we came to big huge rocks that she literally could not climb up, she would run around like a mad woman looking for a way around that she could manage. There were times I might have to carry her over the rocks. She did not like that. She hated that. Better to go around if possible. A few years ago when she could still hike with me but when she was still rather old, I took her on a hike to Big Springs near McCloud. It was a much tougher hike than I expected and probably more than she could really handle at that age (don’t tell my wife), but she followed me without complaint the entire way, down the mountain, through the brush, and over the rocks. She did sleep well for the rest of the day. Once we went hiking with a friend and his dog to Deadhorse Falls near Red Bluff in winter. It was down a very steep hill into the bottom of the canyon through the snow. Kaya and I went down the hill very quickly, like gangbusters, while my friend and his dog had to go down extremely slow and careful. They were not used to the madman’s off trail antics. But Kaya did well to wait patiently for her new friend to catch up. That’s my girl, Kaya.

            She hated swimming, but she liked going in the water. Only up to her belly though! She would not go in any water that was over her belly. That was sometimes a problem when he had to cross creeks to get to waterfalls. She was great at waiting for me patiently on the wrong side of the creeks. Usually she would lie down and take a snooze while she waited. As long as she could see me!

              Kaya was also incredibly smart (and silly). Once at Upper Sheep Creek Falls in Washington, I could not for the life of me find the proper path down to the falls. It was Kaya who found the “proper” trail down, I would have missed it completely if not for her (honestly). She whipped down that trail like nobody’s business, then she came to one spot which was particularly tricky (or so she determined), and she would not continue. I could not entice her down this one spot no matter what. So instead, I went back up to her, and found a different way down (which I thought was much worse), but she had no problems going down this different, steeper, route. Silly dog.

                What about wildlife encounters? She was essentially oblivious to all of them. My sister’s dog Pocah loves to chase squirrels as I found out recently in Oregon (apparently they do not have big grey squirrels where they live in British Columbia). Kaya, however, was not one for the big chase. Maybe she chased one or two squirrels in her life, but not many. Once while hiking in Auburn, we came across a couple bears on the path. They were incredibly curious about us for sure, and even got up on their hind legs to get a good look at us, but Kaya was far too occupied sniffing every little thing we passed along the trail (as she always did). Same thing when we came across the killer cows on Table Mountain in Oroville. They were certainly very wary of Kaya, but Kaya could care less about chasing them. (Pocah would have had a field day on Table Mountain). Always remember to stop and smell the roses. Kaya certainly did that. RIP.

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