How to make a trail, survive bears, cougars, wolves 101
Vancouver Island Travel Blog› entry 7 of 20 › view all entries
August 10th, 2008 – by: hummingbird50
My friend had told me all week that we were going to go a fix a bridge on the trail, some things needed to be done on it. It was between two cabins and a part of the trail I had never been on before. Now I have been to both cabins, going onto the trail at two different sites, but never been between the two, nor had I ever seen the bridge before. So I was pretty excited to get going...The weather was a bit cloudy, and the fog was rolling in, but at least it was not raining...so off we went.
I was trying to imagine the bridge, like a swing thing, my friend was not giving away any secrets...and I was all antsy to go. He did warn me though to wear rain gear, as it had rained yesterday so the bush would still be wet. So I loaded up my backpack, put on rain gear, I was ready.
Now remember I was getting ready for fixing a bridge..so we had a chain saw, loppers, an axe, some grating that was 10 feet long, some other kind of two headed creature for digging up a loamy ground covering.
SO TRAIL MAKING 101
1. Make sure you have everything you need, that would mean loppers. Loppers look like huge pruning shears, they are used to clear away hanging branches that may hit you face, taking out blueberry bushes (they grow there by the millions), and anything else that is on the path that you are clearing.
2. A chain saw...the saw is good at making sure the bears hear you, and therefore stay away, they also help clear the path of fallen trees, and logs that you just can't climb over.
3. An axe...same thing as chain saw but does not make enough noise to keep the bears away. They would just get curious and come and see what was going on. so I won't use the axe. (hee...hee...).
4. Two headed monster that weighs a ton, it helps clear the underbrush and marks the rest of the path. the undergrowth in the woods on this trail is very loamy...deep...and soft to walk on. It can also remain very muddy for weeks up there. so we clear a bit away but the path still remains quite soft.
5. Now on your person you need your bear spray...please don't keep this in your pack...
5. Your backpack should have water, food, flare gun, extra socks...(I hate wet feet).
So my friend had already come through this area a few times, and this is where he decided to start. So he chain sawed, I lopped blueberry bushes, cleared the underbrush, ate some blueberries as they are ripe for the picking now. We did this for a few hours and only got about 60 feet...tis very hard time consuming work.
HISTORY OF THE BRIDGE
This bridge is located 600 feet down into a canyon. It was placed there on September 27, 2003. The bridge is 60 feet long, weighs 4600 pounds, and was designed to withstand 15 tons of snow load.
It was flown into place (in one piece), by a Verto Helicopter.
Is that not amazing, a helicopter flying into the bush and plunking something that is 60 feet long and weighs 4600 pounds all in one piece in the middle of the bush. Now that is some helicopter pilot.
So I got to see the bridge, make some trail, and learn a whole bunch of cool stuff all in one day. what did I learn...lots.
SHORT ADVICE IF YOU SEE A BEAR.
First remember bear encounters in the wild are rare, they either smell you or hear you before you hear them. They usually just want to go away. (Usually).
Please stay in a group, talk, make noise (it is always good to have a chain saw) (ok kidding).
I tried wear a bell thing on my boots, but really, the bears hears that and probably wonders, "what the heck is that...let's go see".
Don't linger if you see one, try to just calmly keep going, try to look as big as you can (thats why I have a backpack, well that and food).
Bears do stand up and sniff the air to get a better look and see what it is you are. Usually he just walks away or runs away. (that would depend on how bad you smelled). (grin).
If he starts stomping on his paws, he is trying to tell you to get the heck away...so you need to remain calm (have bear spray on hand), and keep walking...away from the bear and his space would be good.
If he starts to charge..and it is a last resort you got to use that bear spray...please don't aim it in the air, or on the ground, right into the bears face is where it needs to go.
Now if you are in the truck, well try to get your camera ready...cause he is not going to stick around for too many shots.
SHORT ADVICE IF YOU SEE A COUGAR
Now my friend has only seen a cougar once in all his 83 years...it is so rare that many people who hike this trail for many years have never seen one. You always see the tracks or see signs, but never the cougar. sometimes I don't know if that is good or bad. They do stalk, and are very curious...but I have not heard of a cougar attack out in that neck of the woods ever. This of course being said, does not mean you do not come prepared.
Have a hunting knife with a fairly long blade, on you (not in your pack).
Bear spray may help...but if it is attacking you.
SHORT ADVICE IF YOU SEE A WOLF.
If you are EVER lucky enough to see one, you better hope you have your camera ready...then point, shoot...and pray you got a picture.
They never stick around to see you.
My dream...I want just one photo from my camera.
Simple...yet not easy...but I never give up hope.
So come along and clear some bush with me, have some coffee and hot chocolate by the bridge....come home after a long day, sit in the hot tub, realx, and sleep never sounded so good............
BTW, as we were driving home, along the logging road.
Thanks for coming with me.
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