We’ve already seen some snow in the surrounding mountains and apparently have a long stretch of rain on the way, but for now the days have been dawning with beautiful blue skies and crisp, frosty mornings. Despite being able to see our breath in the morning air, the chimps have been loving being on Young’s Hill and waiting to warm up in the bright sun:
Peas-in-a-pod, Annie and Missy, climbed up together to enjoy the view in the cold autumn air:
Jody sat for ages in the morning sun then ventured up the hill for a snack to bring back to the top of the greenhouse where she could warm up:
And much to my surprise, when Jamie and I were returning from a walk around the hill, I spotted Negra of all people enjoying the sun and the view despite the cold temperatures:
I think Foxie was just as surprised to spot Negra out on such a brisk morning and decided she and her current favorite doll would check in on Negra:
In other news, Jamie has been doing something new this year! As a little background, if you’ve been a follower of the blog for very long you are probably aware that Jamie often enjoys late evening strolls with her caregivers. After dinner, after the other chimps have gone to bed, and past the time that her caregivers are supposed to go home for the day. We can’t blame her, evenings at the sanctuary are lovely, peaceful times and during summer a welcome relief from the heat of the day. We’ve adjusted our schedule so that we all rotate to cover PM on call in the evenings and two of us can be with her in the event that she (or anyone else) chooses to stay out past the end of our shift. This is one of many beauties of sanctuary; the chimps get to choose when they want to come in for the night. And it’s really a heartfelt joy and honor to be able to provide such a home for them.
Up until this year, we knew that even if Jamie wanted to stay out late, once it got dark she was ready to come inside. Well, that’s no longer the case! Back in August, and again last night, Jamie decided to brave walking around the hill with us in the pitch dark! The first time Jamie did this she was clearly nervous, but clearly wanted to go so Kelsi and I grabbed the spotlight and scanned the hill for her so she could see everything and know she was safe. It took her awhile to build up her courage, but once she made up her mind we were off! Kelsi held a light for us to see where we were going while I held the spotlight just ahead of Jamie to light her path. At every corner of the perimeter we’d stop and I’d light up the entire path ahead of her to remind her she was safe and then we’d venture on.
It’s phenomenal to me when I think how much courage this took for her to do. Not only is it entirely unnatural for a chimp to be on the ground outside in the dark (let alone one who spent three decades in a small cage in biomedical research), but she had to trust us enough to hold the light for her all the way around and not leave her. But once we made our way safely around she was thrilled, ready to go again! We walked around and around that night, carving a path with the light until 10:30!
So last night Jamie decided she was ready for another brave adventure. In the spirit of spooky, magical autumn nights and the month of Jamie-ween (we celebrate Jamie’s birthday on Halloween) here is Jamie in the pitch dark of the green house last night gesturing for Kelsi and I to put on the cowboy boots and get ready to run around the hill again. To say she was thrilled with the evening is an understatement. You can see the light from the chimp house through the doorway behind her where everyone else was cozy and asleep in their night nests. And what better way to celebrate Jamie’s birthday month and get into the spirit of Jamie-ween than a photo a little reminiscent of the “Blair Chimp Project”: