Monday, August 30, 2010

Bears and Berries

Thanks to Al from the Bayfield Bunch for hooking up the link to my blog that got lost a while back.  I’ve noticed the increase in traffic.  Condolences to Kelly who lost her father in New York this week.

In other blogs, I was glad to see Wandering Willy come up with a final report on his latest trip and success in the battle against the mice stowaways in his rig!

I imagine both are making preparations for the annual migration south to warmer climates.

I know I am, and I’m not even retired yet!


Map picture

Hard at work last week we responded to medical call at the far end of Lake Louise.  This gives us the excuse to drive vehicles around the front of the Chateau, thus the photo of my truck as we were loading up rescue gear.  I’ve had occasion to drive here numerous times over the past decade, but rarely is there time to stop for a photo.


There is a ton of road construction in the area, and has been all summer and for the last several summers as they attempt to get the highway through the parks twinned and fenced.  There is also a little destruction as well.  This a shot of the old overpass, just prior to it’s removal, with the new one right behind it.


Next, this excavator is on the deck of the old bridge, having just ripped off the railings on the sides – photo taken from the new overpass.



Next, a whole pack of excavators attack, crushing the concrete in their jaws and spitting out pieces of re-bar, before loading the debris on trucks to haul away.  In about 24 hrs, there was not much sign of the old structure.


Meanwhile, the good berry crop in the area has had the local bruins feasting on the bountiful supply, trying to put on some weight for the long winter sleep.  Quite often, they are so focused on the feast that they seem hardly aware of their surroundings. 

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This young grizzly wandered into a campground one too many times in his quest for berries, and soon found himself sleeping with a pink dart in his butt.  In the process, he received another radio collar to replace the one he lost in the spring, and a new ear tag.CIMG8656CIMG8637CIMG8638CIMG8648

This will hopefully provide enough warning of his future approaches to areas where he is likely to come into conflict with park visitors and campers.  After sleeping off the effects of the drug, he was soon feasting on the berry crop again.  Only now he can hopefully be tracked, and discouraged from doing so in a campground!


Back at home, kitten Hailey was in heaven when we discovered that a visitor was a professional cat groomer and masseuse! 


Here I am riding down the trail – towards retirement in the near future!1778100811

When the snow is deep up here in the mountains, the horses have gone to their winter pasture, and the bears are in their dens, you’ll be sure to find me somewhere in a warm southern desert or coastline soaking up the sunshine with the rest of the blogging snowbirds!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Backcountry Horse Patrol


A few weeks ago, we got word that a grizzly bear had been systematically raiding some of out tack shed and horse feed storage buildings at backcountry cabins.  Initially, we flew in and patched up the damage as much as possible and installed electric fences around the most vulnerable locations.

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Remote cameras were also set up to try and identify the perpetrator.  Some good photos were obtained, and no further raids were taking place.

But it was now time for an on the ground check for bear sign before removing a bear warning in the area.  Fortunately, I was able to leave the front country bears to others and ride some of my old haunts for a few days.  No fresh bear sign was seen in the area, and no new break-ins were occurring, so the bear may have moved on to greener pastures.

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I guess the photos pretty much speak for themselves – which is the way I like it!  It is some pretty spectacular country, with clear mountain lakes, high mountain passes, and lots of trails to hike or ride.  Several years ago, I patrolled this area full time, so it was nice to be back to see what had changed.  Of course the scenery is still pretty much unchanged.CIMG8572 CIMG8583 CIMG1639 CIMG1636 

It’s too bad politics have resulted in drastically reduced protection of the area and such patrols are now relatively rare.

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Some of the small ponds in the high country were already starting to acquire a thin layer of ice overnight – a sure sign that fall is not far off.  The bears will be attempting to fatten up on berries before heading for their dens to hibernate away the winter.

RV’ers among us will be planning and preparing to head south again this winter !

See you down south!  With retirement now a real possibility for me, I may be able to stay in the warmer climates as long as I like from now on. Stay tuned …