Welcome to my blog. I hike and camp in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, and I am a professional musician.
Feel free to say hi and have a look around. There's lots of posts about my hikes and various movies from these adventures.
Thanks for coming by, Pete

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sniffy the bear

The two loud sniffs among snapping branches about four meters away were my introduction to sniffy the bear. I grabbed the bear spray and jumped up shouting " There's nothing for you here"-although my all my food was on the ground-and "I'm the apex predator here!", immediately grateful that it choose not to challenge either of these questionable notions. 

   It was day three of a seven day backpacking trip into the coast mountains. Over decades of solo hikes I have learned a lot about being prepared.

   Food is the big attraction for critters.Bears and cougars can get very close without a sound. For that matter add ants and mice. Whenever I am preparing food I just take out what I need at the time and keep putting things back into a zipper nylon bag. I can pack things up quickly if need be.
  Sniffy scampered off into the dense bush. It all took about thirty seconds but left quite an impression. I tied up the food and then sat on the other side of the lake for a few hours to see if it was still around. If so, I would pack up and go back down to the lower valley.
   After an hour after seeing the bear I was quietly sewing a button on my shirt when suddenly a helicopter flew low over the lake, circled, then landed for about 10 minutes out of my sight. Biologists? Sightseeing? The noise really rattled me. On the way out it flew low and slow then disappeared down the valley. All was quite for the next three days as I did some day hikes up higher. On the day I attempted the peak through some very dense bush up a steep ridge I suddenly was hit with a bout of 'beaver fever' Giardia. 
   When deer are drinking water in the creeks they defecate and release these parasites into the water. [yum!] It is not fatal but can be serious. It was enough to make me stop and abandon the peak. Back down to camp.
It seems I share more than just hill and dale with the crepuscular ungulate.
    On day five I made my way down to the lower valley. At my low camp it felt like summer again. I like to walk around looking at muddy or sandy areas for animal tracks. Spotting many fresh deer tracks, I was thinking how unusual it is for me to actually see them in the open areas.

The next morning I found more fresh tracks but this time with fresh cougar tracks over top. A bit more looking and I found what looked like a splash of blood. It looked watery and I wandered if it was from giving birth or a cougar slash. This made me on guard watching to see if there was a fresh kill in the area, in which case I must leave immediately. I decided to stay.
     A couple hours later I was walking down to the creek to get some water when I noticed two deer, a two-prong buck and a young one. I froze and tilted my
head down, watching through my sunglasses. We had a good long look at each other before they had a drink of water then slowly wondered into the forest.
   This is the third time on my past two hikes where I have been sewing then an aircraft flew low over me. If I ever need emergency help first I'll use my emergency locator and then whip out the 'ol needle and thread.

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