Thursday, September 2, 2010

Musings from the middle of the night

I've been leading a very uninteresting life lately.

Per doctor's orders, I'm laying off using my right hand as much as possible. The splint was removed last Friday, just in time for the weekend, and just in time to leap into doing all the things that hadn't been getting done while I was laid up. Obviously, my right hand was jealous of the way my left hand and I were beginning to get along so well, because the first thing my right hand did on Saturday morning was cut my left hand rather severely with my newly sharpened Global chef knife while lopping off beet tops.


Chirp-chirp starts eighth grade on Wednesday. She and her classmates are the top dawgs on campus this year. She's sad that she only has one friend in one class only this year. Hopefully her lunch period will jive with more of her friends' schedules. Better yet, maybe she'll add to her circle of close friends. They're a good bunch of kids, but it's always good to branch out, I think.

Today was the opening day of grouse season. Mr. Boom took the day off, and after my almost-daily doctor appointment, we headed to the hills. Grouse are abundant around here, and dumb as heck. But maybe they're not quite dumb enough, as we didn't see a single one today! We did find an enormous round of wood we managed to hoist into the back of the car and bring home. Mr. Boom wants to make an outdoor table from it.

The most exciting part of the day was toward the end. We'd given up on grouse and decided to follow another road that leads to a nice patch of boletes from which we've harvested some great fungi in years past. We drove quite a distance down the road, only to have it suddenly end in a quasi-parking area. Beyond the turn-around area the road had been decommissioned. "Well, okay" we thought. This isn't a bad thing. We can still hike in to the spot, and maybe there will be fewer people looking for mushrooms.

As we were getting out of the car, a gi-freaking-normous elk crossed the path in front of us. I scrambled to find Mr. Boom's camera (mine died and has yet to be replaced) but couldn't find it before the elk passed. A moment later, though, a second and even larger elk appeared in the same spot. This guy was at least a 6x6 (meaning six branches on each antler). He too paused and gazed at us, then moved on into the thick trees on either side of the decommissioned road/path. We were quite breathless, and looking at each other in amazement when a third gi-freaking-normous elk appeared. Again the pause, the gaze, and the eerily silent passage into the trees.

We eventually got ourselves together and started down the path. Just as the car was out of visual range, and just past where the elk had crossed the path, we heard the cougar. The very loud and angry cougar. The cougar that yoyled and yelped and screamed. The cougar that was between us and the car. After it quieted down and our pulses were back in the normal range again, we decided to continue on. Neither one of us really wanted to get closer to the source of that sound, even though the safety of the car was on the other side.

We had walked a few hundred yards further when the rumbling started. Mr. Boom's advice of "GET BEHIND A TREE" sounded good, so I did. The sound of a hundred bison (or maybe just three large elk?) stampeding toward us grew louder, but then veered away.

Our best guess is that a cougar had a relatively fresh kill still near the original road. The elk, which were removing themselves from our presence, must have then entered her presence and pissed her off. The elk eventually took off and were looping back around to the decommissioned road ahead of us when they heard or smelled us, at which point we didn't hear or see them again.

We continued on to where the mushrooms used to grow, only to find it all logged out. Instead of Ponderosa Pines and boletes, there were a few scraggly tamaracks and pile after pile after pile of slash.

No grouse, no fungi, no pics of wild animals. Just a big round of wood. Still, it was nice to get off the couch and get out of the house. Just don't tell the doctor. Also, I'm not really typing this, because that would also be against doctor's orders. Time to tape the hand back up and behave, I guess.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, it's a bit much going from "I was the least injured" in the beach Post to the FT in the baked Alaska and then cutting the other hand with a Global! Talk about turn your back for 5 mins! What is going on with you girl? Do you believe the Universe is trying to give you a message? Are you supposed to be sitting on your hands about something?
    How scary that cougar growl would be. I can't believe you kept walking! I think I would have been out of there! You sound like such a creature of the wilds on your last adventure. Shame that they have totally changed the habitat. Makes you think how it takes years to create a spot like that with everything living in balance, including the fungi and then bam! Gone! Hope you find another spot. Great story for someone like me who has never seen elk or cougars. Wish you had been able to get a picture.