Sunday, 25 June 2017

Search for a Missing Horse

    Pete from Dunster puts out an email every night with notices, things for sale, and items people are looking for.  It has a huge following among local people.  Five days ago he published this notice:  

    Please help if you can! My beautiful grey mare bolted five days ago up above little falls pit road (west side of Holmes river). She headed down the mountain. We have been searching but no sign of her. Horse people and friends and neighbors. We could use more manpower for our search. I would say she's trying to get home so please be on the lookout.  She's wearing a saddle and bridle.

    It was a distressing call for help.  The request was repeated for the next 5 days.  Then came this notice:

                                    SEARCH FOR MISSING HORSE CONTINUES !
    We will be meeting at the Little Falls pit west of the Beaver River tomorrow Saturday June 24th at 1 p.m. to continue the search for Dawn's mare Dancer. If anyone would like to help, please bring bear spray, a pocket knife, and sensible walking clothes (bright colours)/shoes to hike in dense bush.
It's been five days since the mare went missing. We really need to find her.

    It was a heart-wrenching plea, and so I thought I would go out and help in the search.  I gathered up my old compass and some of my other forestry gear and drove out to the Little Falls pit.  There I met up with about eight other people who were going to search.  Many of them have been searching for days, and they were full of stories, about seeing so much bear poop in the bush, and falling into swampy areas.  No one had seen any signs of the missing horse.
    It also sounded like just about all the area surrounding the pit had been already searched, sometimes more than once.  There were also 3 drones, a helicopter, and an airplane that also flew over the surrounding area but no white horse was seen.
    I ended up with four other people and we decided to search the corner of bush between the pit and the Homes River and the highway.  Since I had a compass I took a bearing cutting through the area and walked the bearing with the rest of the group spread out on either side of me all keeping themselves within eye contact with their neighbors or yelling so they could continually orient themselves to everyone else.
    Thrashing myself through the bush with a compass  in hand really took me back to my Forest Service days when  I did timber cruising.  The bush was thick, and no one saw any signs of a horse.  Once we made it down to the river, we reoriented ourselves downstream a bit and then worked our way back up toward the pit, surveying another section of the forest.  Again no sign of Dancer.
    While those searches didn’t come up with the missing horse,  I did spot a couple of camera-worthy plants to photograph.  One was a Coralroot orchid and the other a plant whose common name is “Goat’s Beard”
    Back up to the pit, my group then decided to walk down the pit road closer to the highway for our next sweep of bush, however just as we spread out to enter the woods, a vehicle came driving up the road so we held off to see whether that meant some updated news.

This story will continue on tomorrow’s blog

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