Been raining here a fair bit, so I haven’t been able to do good hiking for most of the week … not to mention the fact this house buying thing has had my attention too. A conversation I was having yesterday, reminding me of some of my other experiences around here that are a fair bit more blog worthy than I have been giving them. We’ve been focusing on bears a lot, and when not on bears on moose. But I maybe a little unfair to the other animals about.
Fish weigh heavier on the minds of the locals these days. It’s nearing the end of the salmon run, the time when all the salmon head up or down stream to swim the forbidden dance, lay some eggs, then get the heck back out to sea. Fishermen flock to the rivers and inlets to get their fill. When not salmon fishing, halibut fishing is big … because the halibut ARE big. They throw back the 30 or 40 pounders (‘chickens’ they call them) even when they are better eats than the big ones, but as my boss said “you don’t win the pot for biggest fish with a chicken on your line”. Many get up over 70lbs, and the halibut can grow as big as 400lbs. We’ve talked at work about a charter to do some ourselves, if just to stock up for the winter at a better price than at the store; and that may still happen.
Birders are flocking up here too (pun intended) to watch rare and exotic birds you can’t see on the rest of the continent. Earlier this year I read (ok, Jeremy, listen to on audiobook, but it still counts in my opinion) a book called “The Big Year” which describes the obsession birders can have to spot a rare or exotic bird (Geocachers out there, that’s an interesting read just because we soooooooo are like those bird watchers). Of course I can’t tell a wobbler from a finch, but where I take my lunchtime walks there is a van full of people with binoculars staring at what I assume are ducks … but obviously not normal ducks.
My mind, though, always ends up back in the woods. I do love my hikes. Last Sunday, when the rest of you were worried about me getting eaten by a bear, something else was worried about me. As I was wondering along a trail, I stopped to reply to an urgent text asking if I was the one that was grizzly treats, and while I was standing there I heard a chirp. Looking up a tree, there was a red squirrel, at least 35 or 40 feet up, its eyes squarely on me and its voice loud. Most squirrels seem to always run to the other side of a tree and duck from me, but this one didn’t; and it was making it clear it didn’t want me there. It wasn’t going to rush me, or make some attack, it just wanted to give me a piece of it’s mind. I talked back to it, saying I didn’t mean to worry her and I will be on my way shortly; but she wouldn’t let up. As she continued to chirp and chirp at me in ways I didn’t understand, I couldn’t help but start to laugh, knowing that squirrel reminded me of a good friend. So I packed up my phone, text unfinished, and headed on apologizing to the squirrel for causing her alarm. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t running away from an angry squirrel .. it just was reminding me that I am a human in those woods, and that makes me a visitor to the place. There are animals everywhere out there, and I need to respect their home.
The squirrel, as memorable as it was, wasn’t enough to remind me that this week was the birthday of one of my closest friends whom had to throw a nut at me to remind me after the fact. Happy Birthday Nick (and yeah, sweety, the squirrel story REALLY did happen).