“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

Maybe that was a bad idea.

I was reading my email tonight, and I got a note from my mom with a tracking number from Omaha steaks. I checked it, and the package was delivered today at 4:30.  My regular UPS man would have called me, so somebody else must have been driving.  That meant my steaks were down at the gate.

It's raining out. Not hard, but drizzling.  If I left the food down there overnight, in the morning all that would be left would be the torn up , shredded boxes.  If the bears didn't get into the package, the coyotes surely would.

But, driving down the Jeep trail is a really risky venture on a night like this. The trail gets very, very slick. If you go off to the left on the way down the mountain, you hit a cliff or bank. But if you slide right, you go over into a deep ravine with a creek in it.

Even if you get down there, you have to go all the way out to the hard surface road to turn around after dark. There's no space , and the road runs along a real drop off, about forty feet down.



I decided to walk it.  My wife did not like this plan, but I was really mad at the UPS guy and tend to make snap decisions when I'm running on high octane.

I took my M1911, stuffed it in my pants pocket, got a good flashlight, and started down the mountain.
The dogs went but they were unenthusiastic and stayed right by me.  The rain dripping in the trees meant you really couldn't hear anything around you. I began to wonder if any of the denizens of the forest were there in the thick woods along the trial.

If they were, I wouldn't be able to hear them coming. It also dawned on me that having a full sized M1911 in your front pants pocket would not lend itself to a quick presentation if you got rushed by Ursus in the dark. I doubt I could even have wrestled the thing out of the pocket in time to chamber a round, because the hammer was snagged on the pocket liner.

About half way down, one of the barn cats who had been following along in the dark rushed up from behind and gave me a start. I nearly dropped the light, and that made me think of what would happen if the light went out. There was no illumination out in the woods. None. The sky is overcast so there wasn't even any starlight. It was like being inside a mine shaft.



  At the foot of the trail I found the package. Those Styrofoam things are not easy to tote at the best of times.  When you are hauling a loaded Colt in your pants and not wearing a belt, carrying the Styrofoam case on your shoulder and holding a flashlight in your other hand gets complicated. The thought crossed my mind that if a bear showed up, I would not be able to flee very far before my pants were around my ankles. That would be a very ignominious way to be found in the morning, after a bear got through with you. That's the kind of detail you don't want mentioned in the paper but they always write it in there anyway.


On the way back up, the dogs decided they were wet enough and ran on back to the house, depriving me of their company.  The barn cat got scared, and started trying to wrap himself around my feet. That helped me in staggering up the slope a whole lot.

By the time I got home I figured I'd had at least one heart attack but once I caught my breath it wasn't so bad.  Next time this happens, I'll probably wind up doing the same thing but at least there may be some moon light on the next go around.

38 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's like Cody Lundin says. Most people who come to grief in the woods were just going out there for a little bit. I would never go into the forest in such a Three Stooges manner under normal circumstances.

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  2. A shoulder holster for your trusted slab side would be a good way to go.

    That being said I have often gotten in a hurry and done similar things. More than once early in the morning or late in the evening I have gone into a convenience store for milk or whatever with a handgun stuffed into the front of my pants.

    On the plus side if you can get the styrofoam thing open chucking a steak at a bear or cougar might give you sufficient space to employ the 1911.

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    1. Kind of like throwing the women and kids over the back of the sled in Russian stories about wolf attacks. I would have jetisoned the container at the first sign of an unwelcome visitor. Not out of good sense and planning, but because it was so heavy and cumbersome. Some of the worst decisions I have ever made in my life happened because I was angry. When I got home I had a hell of a time getting the M1911 out of my front pocket, because the hammer was caught in a hole in the pocket liner. Seems odd, since I'm usually so careful about being in the woods and I never go in there at night. But it's like the old maxim, one ah sh*t equals ten thousand attaboys.

      I am leaving for the PO in a minute with my wife. I'll send you a tracking number for the three books I am sending you. I think they will all be of interest.

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  3. Hello there Harry,

    I am back for a visit...hope you and yours are keeping well. By the sound of this post you at least know that your heart works okay lol! You should be careful out there in the wilderness...

    xTania

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    1. Hey, Tania. I was just at your place yesterday. I really like the improvements you and your husband have done. Gave me some motivation to get on about a few things my wife wants done here.

      Like the old man who lives down on the hard surface road at the foot of the mountain says, "that damn mountain gets steeper every day!"

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  4. I think you need to just buy yourself a four wheeler or maybe one of those little UTE gator things everyone out here seems to have these days except me.

    Sounds like it would be ideal for you and your road/trail/driveway.

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    1. I'm afraid of those four wheeler things. I had one , back when they were "three wheelers" and finally gave it away to a buddy of mine because I kept having smash ups. We have been thinking about buying a Gator though, you are exactly right about that. I have been looking at them at Home Depot. The price is acceptable and it would give me a lot of capabilities I don't have right now. For instance, I wouldn't have to use a massive land battleship like my truck just to go down and get the mail.

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  5. i have a head lamp. possibility for you. camping dep't. supplies.
    deb h.

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    1. I've got a vast array of flashlights, but no head lamp. I can see where it wouldn't hurt me to lay in a few for things like this though.

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  6. Replies
    1. I have some good suspenders too. This was an impromptu expedition though, and I didn't use them.

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  7. Lolol You definitely need a quad bike for that situation ;)

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    1. We've been looking at one of those Gator things PP spoke of. I like that better. The Quadrunners are probably for people with better eye sight and faster reactions than I have now. Besides, at my age, if you break something like an arm or leg, it takes a LONG time to heal!

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  8. All in all, happy to see you have the steaks, and made the trip safely.

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    1. All's well that ends well. I wouldn't care to do it as a matter of routine though.

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  9. Headline: Bear found with thigh bone toothpick. It described the steaks as over cooked.

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    1. Bear's wife angry with Ursus for eating too much fat!

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  10. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    Yeah' that's it. Buy one of them ATV things so you can drive down that hill, or you can buy a well maintained older Toyota truck (four wheel drive) that you can drive down the hill with.
    The older Toyota's like my 1991 truck are small, nimble, lightweight. In fact, they are kinda like that old motorized cart things the Marine Corp was using back during Veitnam and into the 1970's (if you can find of them things Milsurp, buy it)

    I think a good old' used Toyota with the 22RE engine would be the way to go for a little runabout. They also get 26 miles a gallon at 55 MPH.

    For your son, look at a 1998-2002 Truck or Four Runner with a V-6. I got some tips on maintence on that engine that I can e-mail you. The only big kicker on that engine is changing out the timing belt and water pump. That's about 900 dollars. That you only have to do every 90.000 to 100.000 miles.

    Anyway I can help you out Harry, just let me know.

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    1. You mean a mule. I haven't seen one of those in years.

      Glenn just needs some transportation. I told him to go find a good used car and let's get the show on the road because I'm tired of messing with it. I'll pay the thing, provided it's practical. He might get a truck and I will do a cut and paste into an email and send him your thoughts. As for us, my Ford F250 will last longer than I will. I like it because it's EMP proof, it's really big, it hauls a lot, has an extended cab, and it's paid for.

      I'm in good shape, but I appreciate the offer. Glenn can't afford to buy a vehicle, but I can. He can pay me back a bit at a time, or not at all, I just don't want him standing at a bus stop in the dark in Cincinnati, or any other city.

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  11. Well that sounds like an unpleasant evening.

    You have the worst luck with the mail/package system of anyone I know!!

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    1. It's strange but someone else here in town said exactly the same thing to me earlier this week. Getting kicked out of the post office made me a minor celebrity for a day or so, everybody hates the post office.

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  12. A Belt w. holster, a headlamp, and a snappy tune seem to be in order for the next trip down the hill.

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    1. K, this has never happened to me before, and it was all spur of the moment. I think next time I'll take a minute to think it out. At least I had sense enough not to take the flood light. I'd never have made it back up the mountain humping that beast and the big box of steaks. I hope it doesn't happen again, at all. The forest at night is no place to be wandering around.

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  13. We have a four wheeler and it comes in handy, even gets around in the snow and up/down steep hills in 4WD..

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    1. As long as I don't wind up like that swimmer, who went over the cliff. Some years back, I went out to my brothers in the Sierras. We came out in the morning to go get some breakfast, and one of his buddies was out on the road dead, wrapped around a tree. He got drunk, came flying down the road, hit a tree head on with no helmet and split his head open like a melon. I stayed with the body while my brother went to call the police. Two teenage girls came driving up. They stopped and stared, and then one of them said "is that guy dead?" It was so ludicrous I couldn't help laughing out loud, even though it was tacky of me to do it.

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  14. If the bear attacked, I was hoping you could throw the steaks at him. A story well told, Harry. I could feel your pain.

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    1. Inger, I've never been bothered by bears, even when I've walked up on them around the place. My daughter walked around the barn once when she was a little girl and just about bumped into a big male. He didn't bother her. After that, my wife made me build an electric fence around the immediate vicinity of the house, but the bears just tore it down with one swipe of their paws. Trees fell on it, the hogs ran through it, and finally I just let it go.

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  15. RE Quads and Gators, Rangers, etc

    Both are practical in the 'a truck doesn't fit but there is too much stuff to carry/ walking sucks niche'. Also worst case you ding it up instead of a more expensive vehicle.

    Quads have a lot more off road capability, higher ground clearance, etc. They do also have a more motorcycle/ 3 wheeler type way of driving.. Many people in the west use them on small hobby farms and ranches instead of horses. Ya know, drive the fence, check the water tank, toss some feed type thing.

    In terms of large numbers there are risks associated with them. That being said the risks fall in the driving fast on the trai/ woods/ beach probably after drinking side of the equation not the 'doing 10 MPH to go to the mail box/ check the fence/ etc' side of the house.

    Gators are pretty much redneck/ sportsmen s rendition of the golf cart. They have seats and can have roofs. It is a more tiny vehicle like experience. Some are 4wd. They can haul a reasonable amount of stuff.

    I would not shy away from a quad due to safety concerns but a gator (used generically for that field of vehicles) would probably do everything you want and they are more comfortable.

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    1. I'm thinking a Gator. We went and looked at them again this morning. They aren't really expensive, haul cargo, are stable, have big knobby tires for traction and I like them. I could turn one around at the gate instead of having to go all the way down the mountain and out to the hard surface road.

      I would have to go to the next county to even look at the "Quad" things. They are called "four runners" out where my brother lives. As I mentioned above, he and I found one of his buddies dead on one of those things wrapped around a tree. The guy was drunk though ,when he tried to drive it home so it wasn't the machine, it was poor head work. I'll have to build a parking pad for the Gator if I get one, but just a slab with a metal roof over it.

      I sent your package. I'll email the tracking number here in a minute.

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  16. I cannot help but think that you need a "Walk to the road" bag the way some people have a 'get home' bag. A small shoulder bag...like a musette bag with a spare flashlight, a bottle of water, a rain hat or poncho, a whistle, maybe a parachute flare, and a knife. Throw it over your shoulder for those walks to the road and youre covered in case things take longer than planned or you slip and bust an ankle.

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    1. Not a bad idea. I think I'll add a "sports radio" to the mix, since I have a base unit on here at the house all the time, and my wife is home every day now. I've used them from the mailbox and they worked to the house. The gate is only half that distance.

      Years ago when she worked at a local general store I walked down every night to meet her at the gate. I always took a lantern, my poncho, and a Mosen Nagant rifle.

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  17. You have the same UPS driver we have. Our gate is half mile away and then they have the nerve to mark that the package was delivered "at the front door". Get an ATV. Four wheelers do not crash and burn like the three wheelers did. Has a place for rifle scabbard, too. My DH takes a small backpack, also.

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    1. My UPS guy can't get his truck up my Jeep trail. But he always calls me and says he is leaving a package for me at the gate. Then I know to go get it before dark. This time, whoever was doing his run just dumped it off. By the time I got my mom's email, it was pitch black. Ordinarily there's no way I'd go out in the woods after dark, but I knew full well if I left that meat down there something would yaffle it up. I will probably drive down to the next county where there is a motorcycle shop that sells those. I'm learning towards a Gator because I can get one in our town and they seem more utilitarian. As far as I can tell, they don't cost any more than a four wheeler, but I have to check into it. We've been toying with the gator idea for some time now.

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  18. I agree with Deborah those head torches are fab.

    you need to get a house dog that you can train to wear a pack.

    Now I don't know much about bears and coyotes. So this may sound completely stupid. But what about an old freezer at the bottom of the drive, a top loader. and some how disguise it. is that weird? could bears get in there? plus it is extra insulated.

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    1. It's not weird. But a bear could easily open anything like that. When I worked at the state park, we had special "bear proof" garbage cans. They were hellish to open, you had to stick your hand way into this slot and turn a handle to open them. Most of the human workers had a hard time getting them open, but campers would bring in pictures of the bears opening them because the campers thought it was "cute." Bears are really smart. I'm really more afraid of some passing tourists taking my packages at the gate than I am of bears getting them. This was just a fluke because I didn't find out there was a package there until after dark.

      I have trouble enough getting my dogs to stay around the house! They want to run off down to the creek and swim, or go up in the forest and roust about. I buy those nasty chicken/pork hotdogs at $1.00 a pack and feed them to the dogs randomly throughout the day. That way, they stick around for fear the other dog will get a treat and they will miss out. My dogs are very greedy.

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    2. I don't think I like bears by the sounds of it

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    3. Oh, you'd like them if you got to see them in the woods. They don't bother anyone as long as you leave them alone, and don't leave food or garbage out to tempt them into close proximity. People hunt bears with dogs here, and I hate that. You see some guy with a picture of him posing by some tiny bear, and you think "what the hell?" If somebody wants to win respect by being the great hunter, let them hunt the bears with a knife, if they just have to.

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