Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Other Day I Saw a Bear

To say that my husband is an outdoorsman is like saying Tiger Woods golfs once in a while.

The man that I married eats, sleeps & thinks about being outside. If he's not out there hunting, fishing, scouting, or hiking he's planning the next time that he will be. Of course when you put in the time, like he does, every once in a while you get the days that you will never forget.

So it is for this reason that Tony has had his fair share of animal encounters. A few weeks before our wedding he managed to crack two ribs escaping from a sow black bear with two cubs. Then there was the black bear that decided to use him as a punching bag. When he arrived home that time he was covered in blood, but still standing! whew... And then once, while deer hunting, he was stalked and attacked by a cougar. He managed to come out of that encounter with barely a scratch. I can't say the same about the cougar!

Usually I am the recepient of these tales after the fact and when he gets home. He has this amazing ability to weave a story as he elaborates on every detail. I can listen to him tell the same ones over and over. But once in a while I get to see it for myself.

We had been camping at Barnes Lake with our friends and were on our way back from a little side trip to Oregon Jack Provincial Park (we went to see the pictographs there). We had just rounded a corner when Tony said, "There's a bear!" I was still processing the word 'bear' while he was making his way up the mountainside with our new camera racing after it. At first it seemed as if the bear would disappear in a hurry. In fact it stood on its hind legs and huffed quite a bit. I take this as not a good sign. Tony takes it as a sign to get closer.

After that it was as if the bear decided to pose for a spread in Outdoor Life. Slowly it meandered to a stump and put his elbows on top of it. "How about this?"

"No? Something softer? A little prettier? These flowers look nice. Let me sit behind them."

We probably stayed and took pictures and watched him for about 1/2 hour while he gave us ample opportunity to take these amazing photographs.

Of course my favourite is the one of my outdoorsman and his 'voguing' bear.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On the Trail with Our Friends

This weekend we went camping with some wonderful friends to Monck Park. This is the 4th year that we've made this annual trip with them.

The first time we went it was to find some pictographs in Hedley and to visit the Mascot Mine. What an awesome weekend that was.
The 2nd time we went to Tunkwa Lake and made quite the climb to see the paintings in the caves of Mount Savona.
Our 3rd trip was to Barnes Lake near Ashcroft. We took a side trip to Oregon Jack Provincial Park to experience the magnificent limestone cliffs and the awesome paintings there. While at the lake the guys enjoyed the fishing while Joan, Carol & I hiked to a geocache overlooking Ashcroft. (I had discovered geocaching about 6 months before this trip.)
So these annual weekends with our friends have become an accumulation of searching for pictographs, fishing the lakes and hiking for geo-caches. As far as I'm concerned it really doesn't get any better than this.
This weekend:
The "Dreaming Shaman" is one of my favourite pictographs in the province. I would love to know what the painter was thinking when he created this one. You really can imagine the dreams in his mind when you see it.

We decided to find a cache called "The Heartland of BC" that was near our campsite. Unfortunately we took the trail beside the lake and ended up increasing our terrain rating from 1 1/2 stars to about 5 stars! In the end it was all good when Werner found the cache under some rocks. The view from this cache site was unbelievable.

That afternoon Joan, Carol and I went and found two more caches close to the town of Merritt. "Segregation" was a unique cache beside a portion of the town cemetery. We didn't understand the name of the cache until we saw the cache site... then it made total sense. What an interesting bit of BC history.

We still had some energy to spare (or so we thought) so it was off on another hike and seek. This time we were looking for a cache called "Music Country." The trail went up and down, and then up and then down! Finally, as we were running out of steam we got to where we knew the cache was hidden. Another gorgeous spot and well worth the effort!

The next day, to our surprise, the guys asked if they could come along caching with us, so off we went again to the west hills of Merritt. After a little bit of confusion with the directions we found "WC." We were treated to yet another amazing view of this cute little town. The last cache of our trip was called "Eagles over the Top" and it sure lived up to it's name. Not too hard to find except for the need to crawl through some barbed wire... it was a wonderful way to end the day.