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Saturday, October 01, 2005


Critter Tales, pt. 1

Two tales today. These have accumulated for years and todays batch, heard in just the last couple of weeks, have jolted me from my delicious cement-like lethary.

My cousin Joe was leading some tourists to view grizzly bears in Alaska. On the trail was the local guide, followed by the clients, with Joe bringing up the rear. Around a corner they confronted a disquieting sight. A big griz was sitting on the trail staring at them with curiosity. Just about the last thing anyone would want is the interest of a griz. Joe started to back up and the local guide quickly told him to stay put. Look meek and mild, don't look in the bear's eyes, and above all - don't make yourself look like prey - by running for instance. The bear surveyed the humans for a while, then grew bored, gave a loud harrumph, and walked down the hillside. Just as they were starting to feel relieved the bear wheeled around and raced up the hill almost brushing Joe with it's flank before disappearing in the woods. No comment as to the color or consistency of everyone's shitstains.

I told this to my friend Rich in Ft. Collins. He saw my bear and raised a lion. Just the week before (maybe as I was hearing Joe's bear story in San Francisco) a fellow fireman was bow-hunting for elk in the Leadville area. He had a pistol strapped to his chest and was sitting down with his back to a tree. His cousin, also bow-hunting, was on the other side of the hill, behind him. He heard some elk coming in his direction ( a gaggle of 600 pound critters is noisy! ) but they stopped before he could get a look at them and took off in another direction. Still keeping perfectly still, he pondered the situation, wondered of he'd spooked them with his scent or some noise. Suddenly he heard a loud sniffing sound. Very loud. He turned his head and found that his nose was inches from the nose of a large male mountain lion. A big cat, easily capable of bringing down an adult male human. The cat must have seen the stillness of his prey and was wondering whether to kill first or just start eating. He fumbled for the pistol, as it was impossible to draw the bow at such close quarters. After much fumbling he finally drew the piece and aimed at the lion's head, seeing that his cousin was on the hilltop with his bow drawn on the beast. The lion was square between the two of them and neither could shoot without endangering the other ( so I can't spell jeopordizing, sue me) the lion decided that there were easier lunches to be had and trotted off. Again, no comment etc. etc. Oh yeah, I folded.

In the future; the bear that wasn't there, cat in a box, the elk and the melon, and others.

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