Even a short day can yield a bit in excess of one's daily dose of excitement. I delayed my start today since Lynne wanted me to meet her a friend of hers before my departure. Barbara is her name and she was not planning on dropping by until early in the afternoon. I waited, helping out a little with the remodeling of the cabin. I was asked to show off my mastery of the chisel, peeling off old tile to reveal the original wood floor beneath. The Cobbs should count themselves lucky that the wood does not now resemble Swiss cheese. Jesus was a carpenter and sure as hell ain't no Jesus.
Barbara showed up around two and we shared lunch with Bill and Todd, who returned from running errands and working on the roof, respectively.
After repast I said goodbye to the boys and headed out to the trail. Barbara surprised me with an invite to hole up at her place in Grand Junction for the next week. I had been concerned with how I could afford a room until the 25th, when my father is scheduled to rendezvous with me. Her offer was a godsend.
Lynne and Barbara accompanied me for the first mile, a stroll through the meadows of Land's End Road. Soon we came to Flowing Park where we parted. I've been honored to be Lynne's guest over the last couple of days. The addition of another kind-hearted and caring person to my life is always a great joy. I can't get enough of those numbers in my Rolodex.
I'm looking forward to meeting up with Barbara in Grand Junction. She gave a fantastic initial impression. One of the first things she said upon entering the Cobb cabin was, "My God I love an outhouse." No normal person says something like that. I hate normal people so we should get along splendidly.
Alone once more I plunged into the deep woods over the next hour. As I went I thought about how disappointed I was not to have seen one of the larger animals like a moose, elk, bighorn sheep, or mountain goat. Oops, forgot one. And there he was - a huge black bear only ten feet ahead.
Here was one of those moments that separates the men from the boys. You either show off all of your outdoorsman skills or you freeze, unsure how to act. I prefer the latter method. Frankly I was too startled to be properly scared. The bear made the first move, running one hundred feet and scrambling up a tree. Believe it or not my initial reaction, once I did have one, was to take a picture.
I could have had the shot and maybe I'll regret not having taken it for the rest of my life, but as I grabbed the camera and stepped forward for a better angle I saw what had brought the animal to this spot. There on the ground was the fur and bones of another bear. Had he or she been mourning the loss of a loved one? I suddenly found the idea of a photo distasteful, even sacrilegious. My survival instinct also kicked in and I realized I was staring at a beast which could easily tear me apart. I made tracks.
Amazingly, only a mile later I saw another one fifty feet to my left. Possibly the same individual (I did not ask for I.D.), this bear paralleled my course on Kannah Creek Trail for a few yards before crashing into the forest with all the grace of an offensive tackle.
Yet another mile later I momentarily thought I was in for a third meeting. Heading toward me in the shadow of the trail was a large black shape. Could I survive another confrontation? Yes, because I now face a less frightening adversary, a cow.
Bessie turned out to have a group of friends. I wasn't terribly worried but I was unsure if walking into the hard was advisable. I tried the same method which worked on the bear, staring with my mouth agape. The bovines were equally intimidated and fled in the other direction. I see knowledge of my love of hamburger precedes me.
Praying to be done with wildlife encounters for the evening I set up on the path and called it a day. Let's just say the certainty that a bear is only a couple of miles away does not make a good sleeping aid.
8 miles/2904 total miles