Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bearly Embarrassed

In life there are high points and low points, and frankly, a few moments of panic.

Granite Peak, Montana. Highest point in the state, Elevation 12,799 feet.

Yesterday, I fixed a recent post, Swimmin' with Griz, because Google/Blogger/Picasa lost the photos. After I republished it, my brother Brian left the following comment, "Pictures working now...although that's more guide than I need to see... just kidding, great pics."

When my wife got home yesterday she read the post--she hadn't read it yet--and read Brian's comment.

She said, "He's seen more than that before."

It caused my mind to race. Just a few moments of panic. Except when we were two-years old, I didn't think my brother had seen me naked. Adding to the panic was the thought, "Even if I had been seen naked by my brother, how in the heck does my wife know?"

I replied, "What are you talking about?"

She said, "Remember when the white-faced grizzly was in the corral?"

"Oh, that."

For several nights one fall we had a grizzly stop in and pick-up horse cake that the horses hadn't eaten. When the horses enter the corral from the horse pasture, we always dribbled a few pieces of horse cake around the edge to reward them for staying. (Horses can have a tendency to leave and go out of the mountains. Not a good thing when you have a camp full of hunters.)

When the corral got mucky from rain, snow and such, some of the cake was pushed into the mud and not eaten. If you've been around grizzlies, or any bear, you know they love horse cake. It's made from grain, hay, molasses and other stuff bears like.

At the time I hadn't extended the 7-wire, 10,000 volt electric fence, which encircled the tents, to include the corral. We had a grizzly with a light-colored face come into camp several nights in a row and clean up the cake left around the corral's perimeter. He wasn't bothered by the horses and mules, but the reverse wasn't true. The mules were blowin' and snortin'; the horses were pushing on the rails and turning in circles. The first few nights I was able to go out and quickly run the griz off by yelling and screaming. Most importantly, I got the job done before anyone else got up, dressed and left their tent to see me.

The third night I wasn't so lucky. I took my 45-70 and a flashlight and went to run him off. Not going to shoot him, just hope I scared him better with a rifle than with a loud mouth. It didn't do much. Two shots and he finally wandered off. When I turned around my brother Brian was standing behind me. Whooops!

Yeah, he saw me naked. I had on a hat, rubber boots, a flashlight and a 45-70. Seems to me there were also a few other people. A 45-70 wakes most people up in the night. The next morning I took a few jabs from folks who believed the bright-white body should have scared the white-faced bear.

Except for being seen naked while I herded a bear, Brian and I have had some good times together. Above is a photo taken at Mystic Lake on our trip to Granite Peak, Montana.

A large, one-horned mountain goat near Granite Peak.

Occasionally, a mere moment of panic can bring reflections of high points.

Brian: Thanks for the comment that instigated this story!


1 comment:

carroll4212 said...

hey, who's those younger thinner hiker dudes....they look familiar.