Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sound as a pound

Right, we've got charts, a compass, tide tables, two Swiss Army knives, bear spray, and an air horn*, and we're off on an adventure! (Well, we're actually off to my mother-in-law's today, which isn't all that adventurous, even when our nephews are there, which they are. The adventure starts tomorrow morning).

If anyone needs me I'll be on a horse in a kayak, somewhere in Desolation Sound (so called because Captain Vancouver saw it on a bad day. Apparently it's beautiful and not at all desolate - at least not in summer).

Oh, and our tenant's still going to be around, so don't even think about breaking into our house while we're away! He's a seriously big dude (6 foot 7 and built like a brick shithouse) who's bodyguarded for Jean Claude van Damme and Vin Diesel, among others. He's loaned us his bear spray; he often comes across bears in the course of his (non bodyguarding) work duties, but they run away from him. Seriously. He has an example of this kind of interaction caught on a tape from a work security camera, but I'm not allowed to post it.

He's the big one in this photo - and bear (hah!) in mind that none of the other three guys is exactly petite.

Left to right: Mr E Man, my Dad, our massive tenant, baby Lilah's Dad


He's also a fantastic cat sitter, and the kitties love him.

BTW, expect (slightly) more science blogging than you've been used to when I get back! (Don't worry, you can skip the science posts if you're not interested. Same goes for any other kind of post, obviously, although I assume that every single reader is riveted by the ongoing dental floss conversation).

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*Conversation while reserving kayaks:

Me: "is there much bear activity up there at the moment?"
Woman in kayak shop: "there's one on the lawn right now! It's looking at me through the window!"
Me: "..."

Hence the bear spray and air horn.

11 comments:

  1. ha :) it sounds like my first camping in the Rocky Mountains when we checked in the receptionist said "oh, we had a mama grizzly walk throught the camping yesterday". We looked at our tent and thought "dang, that's wy we should have a camper" ;)

    Good luck. remember to sing to yourself when you walk out in the forest and especially when walking in a bend or so. No "quiet we are in forest silly like the swedes always say" ^^

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  2. You could always bang two sticks together to keep away the mountain lions like in The Parent Trap. ;)

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  3. Hi Cath - have a really great trip. I hope you´ll post some pictures when you get back. Don{t worry about the beqrs - Christopher Robin proved conclusively that they can only get you if you tread on the lines between the paving stones, so as you{ll be in a kayak you should be fine.

    I also support your blog unification. After a cerain amount of loneliness I´m much happier now I keep my blogs at the End of the Pier, and have been blogging like a good´un including some serious sciencey posts. I havent ´met any bears there recently, but this morning I did meet some engaging sealions of similar size.

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  4. I've got to say, congrats to you for unplugging from the NN! My blog over there has been on hiatus for months, and I really need to just end it already!

    Have a great trip!

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  5. Does your tenant play rugby by any chance? If so, which country, so I can avoid being killed?

    May I also recommend the pacific ocean as 100% effective bear repellant- except for the dropbears, of course.

    -antipodean

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  6. Bears, oh my, eek.

    Antipodean - that won't work. Bears can swim perfectly well.

    Cath - I might also consider a large dog, and one of those air guns that fire the crazy bullets that whistle and corkscrew through the air. And a WWII surplus tank to drive around in.

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  7. I've never actually seen a bear.

    viv in nz

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  8. Oh dear, that does sound like an adventure.

    I came across fresh bear scat while once hiking in Yellowstone and almost did the same in my pants. Have fun and be safe!

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  9. The air horn is a bit excessive if you want to drive the mother in law away.

    (note to self after looking at photos: avoid Mr. E-man at all costs)

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  10. I'm back! The trip was amazing! It might take me a while to post about it though, because I just can't decide which photos to use. Maybe I'll compile them all into a video and make you look at all of them.

    Chall, I've only done one camping trip in grizzly country, and we were in a tent trailer, which feels slightly safer than a normal tent, even though it isn't. But the black bears are scary enough for me; the trip report post will contain a tale of scary nighttime animal noises in our campsite! Mr E Man got out of the tent at about 3am with the air horn in one hand and bear spray in the other, but he didn't want to get too close, so we didn't actually see what kind of animal it was. I'm ~80% sure it was a bear though.

    SM, see above - not fun at the time (at ALL), but it makes for a good story!

    HGGirl, I haven't seen it - I'm guessing that only parents get trapped into watching films like that (hahaha, I'm soooo funny).

    Thanks Cromercrox, there will be photos aplenty! (Some are already on Facebook). Do you think that it was me stepping on the lines between rocks that brought the bear into the campsite?

    I think a Grand Unified Theory of Blogging is definitely the right way forward for me. My current vague list of posts to write next includes a good mix of science and diversions that I hope will entertain my readers!

    Thanks Alyssa! Shutting down the blog came with mixed emotions, because I had a really fun 2.5 years there, but overall a sense of relief that I'd finally cut the cord (I'd been thinking about it on and off for over a year, and much more often over the last 3-4 months than ever before). But hey, I get to keep the friends I made there, and that's soooooo much more important than any URL!

    Antipodean, LOL, no he doesn't, but he used to play hockey and is talking about starting again. Imagine that thing coming at you on skates...

    Those dropbears are vicious beasties, so I hear, so I'm glad the Pacific is keeping them away from me ;)

    Ricardipus, I did ask my sister-in-law if I could borrow her giant Schnauzer, Joey, but she pointed out that a) he's a not-quite-one-year-old bundle of energy who can tip over small cars, let alone kayaks and b) he'd just want to be buddies and play with the bear.

    I am waaaaay too clumsy and uncoordinated to use a gun. You should see how many slivers, cuts, bruises, blisters and scrapes I came home with as it is - there's no need to throw gunshot wounds into the mix! Also, I believe the smell of blood attracts bears.

    Knutty, I love love love seeing bears from a position of safety, e.g. a car or house. From a tent? Not so much. I don't even like hearing them from a tent...

    Elizabeth, I've found similar (and still steaming) evidence of bears out here, but again not in grizzly country; black bears are scary enough, but I think I would just about die if I saw fresh grizzly scat!

    Bob, LOL! You always find every single ambiguity in everything I write!

    I think I'm a wee bit of a disappointment to my mother-in-law, a very gentile Englishwoman who used to teach ballet and has perfect posture and diction. When she heard her youngest son say "I've met an English woman with a PhD", I don't think she expected a scruffy Yorkshire/Geordie oik who drinks beer and slouches and comes into her house all filthy and scratched up after a five day camping trip! But at least I've never used an air horn on her.

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