A short hike at dusk (Winkler within)

Discussion in 'Adventure, Hiking, Backpacking and Travel' started by Reno Lewis, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    This little jaunt had a bit of a personal meaning that I won't get into here, but, with that said, I did get some neat pics. Cell phone quality though.

    Right at the trail head I was greeted by a tiny female hummingbird. Couldn't get a picture of her, but she was nestled away in the dead blackberry vines. The thudding of her wings caught my attention as I spooked her.

    I headed up into the woods exactly 50 minutes before sundown, in dense fog. We've had a family of rather healthy BC Murder Kitties (cougars) running around here as of the past few days, so I was hyper alert the entire time. Constantly scanning my surroundings, 360 degrees, while also paying close attention to the ground and foliage itself, looking for sign.

    While in the woods, I always have a belt knife (normally my Buck 124), a can of bear spray and my large walking staff with me.

    This time, I didn't carry the 124.

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    Not long before this next picture was taken, I swore I heard something in front of me, and up into the bush to the left about 100 meters. It was hard to be sure over the sound of my own footfall through the massive wet leaves, and the movement of my haversack on my wool jacket.

    Stopping dead in your tracks is indicative of prey, so I simply slowed down a tad, quieting my footfall and paying close attention to my surroundings while walking slowly forward, towards the noise. Something I noticed was the dead quiet.

    Absolute quiet.

    I don't mean it was just quiet, I mean there wasn't a single sound being made that wasn't coming from myself. Not a sound at all.

    The fog stood still, there was no breeze, no small birds making any sounds, no water dripping from the tree tops onto the massive fallen leaves of the Maples. Nothing.

    Absolute, dead quiet.

    After assessing this for about 2 seconds, I decided to make myself more known than I already was to whatever was ahead of me.

    "Hello" I said loudly, but calmly. Nothing.

    "Hello" -- "Hey bear" -- I repeated as I continued walking slowly forward.

    Still, nothing. At this point, I was beginning to reach for my bear spray while checking my Winkler on my belt just in case there was a mountain lion waiting to ambush me, or a bear oblivious to my presence. Something had made that noise I heard, and nothing had left the area.

    Just as I began to reach for my spray, there was an EXPLOSION of noise ahead and left of me, in the bush. The bare Maple trees shook and rattled together as I readied myself for a fight, scanning the underbrush for anything that might be running away from, or towards me, but I saw nothing.

    Within a second I heard it. The massive "FWOOSH -- FWOOSH -- FWOOSH" overhead.

    A massive, a truly massive Bald Eagle had been perched far above, hidden from sight from where I was and finally became uncomfortable with my presence, likely due to me being so loud:p

    It was hiding somewhere up near the evergreen in the left of this picture.


    I've been told before that the Eagle is a symbol of vision, and having one fly across your path is a sign that you should trust where you're going, and what you will become.

    This meant a lot to me in this particular instance.

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    After doing what I intended to, I turned back and had more time to take photos.



    I wonder how fat this old stump is..?

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    Just some in hand shots of what is quickly becoming my new favorite knife.

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    This little stream is bone dry the entire summer. Glad to see it running again.

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    *Continued*
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  2. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Around this point, the fog became denser and the sun had just set. I was only a couple hundred meters from the trail head, so I decided to take some pics.


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    Within minutes, it became too dark for my camera to pick up anything other than pure darkness.

    That's when I remembered my new phone camera has "night mode", so I gave it a try.

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    New avatar perhaps? :D

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    FIN.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  3. Klynesquatch

    Klynesquatch Member

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    Very cool pictures Reno, very Tim burton like. I'm looking at every possibility to end up with a Winkler in the next few months.

    I remember fishing one time right before sundown. I was just around the corner from my buddy, I cast a couple times when everything felt a little too still. I got a really strong feeling I had eyes on me. I packed up my stuff very fast and got the hell out of there. I never saw or heard anything but we heard a week later there was a couple big cats sighted right near where I was.


    You definitely have to trust your instincts in the woods and especially when you are alone
     
  4. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    very cool pics. Classic BC woods at dusk
     
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  5. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Thanks man. I don't think you'd be disappointed if you spring for a Winkler. I know I'm not.

    I learned to trust my instincts at a young age. I grew up in North BC, and we regularly had bull moose running through downtown, wolf packs actively hunting dog walkers, grizzlies stalking and even attacking people just out of town, black bears wherever the grizzlies weren't, wolverines eating damn near every cat in town and cougars everywhere else.

    Oh, and a mother grizz and her two cubs decided to bed down in our back yard one winter. That was fun.


    I've been stalked by alpha predators more times than I can count. Barring the half dozen times or so that I've been actively stalked by cougars, one instance stands out for me.

    When I was younger, roughly 8 years old if I recall correctly, my dad and I were out with the archery club we were a part of while up North BC.

    It was late summer, an hour or so before dusk, in the mountains outside of town beside the rifle range. Targets were set up along the mountain trail, and we had been there close to a dozen times at this point over the past couple years.

    As we got out of our vehicles at the range parking lot, we were greeted by the smell of rotting flesh. Some people took a look around, but the smell had no direction indicator. It was everywhere. We all had a feeling of unease, but pushed on regardless.

    I had never felt uneasy in the woods, until that night.

    Half way through our shoot, about 40 minutes in, I noticed a hush fell over the entire group. Everything seemed too quiet.

    There were a few quick hushed words among the adults, and then they told everyone to stay tight, and talk loud while they were nocking broad heads.

    We got out of the mountains alright, just after sundown, but we were followed the entire way back by an invisible (to me) predator in the underbrush.


    A week later a guy my father worked with was out at the range by himself sighting in his rifle, and a huge Grizzly walked in front of him at 150 meters. He fired a round about 5 meters in front of it, hoping to scare it away, but it didn't even flinch. He didn't have a tag for it, so he packed up and left.

    Same bear ended up taking two pet dogs at the outlying community across the road from the range, so Conservation was called, and they ended up killing it.

    It ended up being an absolutely massive 900+lb male Grizzly, and the CO's heard our story of being followed. They said we were incredibly lucky, and that the size of our group (roughly 9 people if I recall correctly) was likely the only reason we weren't attacked in the mountains. They said that the behavior this bear exhibited was rare, and that he was one of the odd "rogue" alpha males that was actively predatory, not just territorial.

    The rotting flesh smell at the parking lot was the carcass of a deer it had killed the night before, partially berried in the ditch. Grizz like to bury a fresh kill and let it decompose a bit before digging it up and feasting.

    We had drove right up and parked right in front of his buried kill, and he followed us from there.

    I think I was 8 years old at the time. Was shooting either my 30lb recurve or my 35lb compound. I think I went traditional that day. Still have both bows.

    I'm still absolutely amazed, and utterly terrified at how incredibly stealthy such a massive animal can be. I already respected the woods and the animals that live in them at the time, but I gained a massive amount of respect for Grizzlies that day.
     
  6. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Edited in a little tid bit at the top there.
     
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  7. Klynesquatch

    Klynesquatch Member

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    I've been very close to grizzlies a few times, usually in a vehicle and they seem almost dopey. But I have no doubts if an animal that powerful decided to be trouble that it would not end well
     
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  8. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    There were actually a handful of fatal maulings in my old town, or just outside of it.

    The grizz up there are something else man. Insanely aggressive. You wouldn't see any fishermen out on the river without a 12ga slung over their shoulder.

    We were just a stones throw from the Alaskan rainforests.
     
  9. The Marsh Gorilla

    The Marsh Gorilla Member

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    Reno your accounts from where you live make me laugh at folks who think we have to worry a lot about the predators where I live. Here you can be fairly carefree with the alligators, coyotes, bobcats, black bear and the very occasional cougar that gets a sighting report(mostly trail cams at night). Our black bear population is pretty sparse compared to what I've read about what you guys have there, the two I've walked up on spooked and ran away quicker than most deer do.

    I love reading your post and love all the knife pics. Congrats on that Winkler belt knife, it's a beaut!
     
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  10. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    I remember steelyhead fly fishing on the Vedder River many years ago, guy downstream from hooked onto a monster steelie and as he played it in, a big black bear ran from the woods, barreled thru the shallows and snatched it right off his line, about 10 feet from him.
     
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  11. Mack

    Mack Member

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  12. Klynesquatch

    Klynesquatch Member

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    Yeah I can imagine a grizzly that has little interaction with people could be quite aggressive. Last time I saw a bear was in Waterton park and I'm pretty sure you could walk up and pet the thing.

    Most bears in my neck of the woods have a healthy fear of humans as fish and game keeps tabs on them and typically shoot them at least once a year with rubber balls while releasing bear dogs and yelling "yo bear"
     
  13. Se7eN

    Se7eN Member

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    Excellent post Reno.

    Hearing your stories of the grizzlies makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I have extensive experience with bears, both black and grizzly.

    The black bears were the kings of the false charge. Usually easy to scare away unless a sow had cubs around. The grizzlies were a different beast all together. They would watch you..follow you.

    I recall one instance that scared me the most, but it was the coolest encounter I have ever had. My little sister and I were hiking up to viking ridge, which is located in a grizzly sanctuary..We were almost up on top of the alpine meadow, still on the side of the mountain. there were two streams/waterfalls to our east and west as we were on top of a ridge. I don't know how far away it was, but were heard the deep ominous bellow of a huge bear. I am assuming it was a grizzly but I don't know for certain as we didn't see it. I suspect it was having a confrontation with another animal, but the sound haunts me to this day. It echoed through the forest ever so slightly.

    We kept going until we reached the alpine lake, but we didn't spend more and an hour up there as we didn't want to navigate through the forest at night. The route we took that 13.6 KM round trip, and neither one of us were very excited about the trip back to the truck.
     

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