Jamie decided that she would start Year Two on Young’s Hill by trying some new things. She started by testing out a small structure we built this summer.
Then she moved on to the bamboo. I don’t know if it’s a difference in skill or just a difference in weight, but Missy made it much higher before the whole thing toppled over.
Either way, she seemed to be having fun.
Earlier this summer, when Ben and the Boy Scouts were building the new bridge, I put up some log posts around the enclosure. Some of the logs were far too heavy to lift with our tractor, so I cut them up into smaller pieces and made little stumps for the chimps to sit on. Brilliant idea, J.B., I thought to myself, as I patted myself on the back. And then three months went by without the chimps even looking in their direction.
Well, today was the day that stumps became cool. Everybody was doing it. First up was Foxie:
And then, farther down the hill, Missy and Annie together:
The chimps are funny that way. They require you to be patient.
When we built Young’s Hill, I had dreams of the chimps going out in the morning and not coming back until evening. But they weren’t ready for that. To them, Young’s Hill is an exciting playground, a wide open space that is both exhilarating and frightening. But they can only take so much excitement before they retreat to the greenhouse to relax in the comfort of something more familiar to them.
Over the last year, they’ve pushed their boundaries and conquered some of their fears. Each day they try something new.
This morning, a year and a day after going outside for the first time, the chimps went out onto the hill in a group and many of them didn’t come back until lunch time.