How to make a trail, survive bears, cougars, wolves 101

Vancouver Island Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 20 › view all entries
As always this is my start to my day....
    Okee dokee here we go.
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.
oh look a tree...hee...hee...
  So after driving for 1.5 hours and still going down logging road I had seen, we then veered off to a part of the logging road I had never been to.  Now my mind tends to try to remember every nook and cranny, so in case I need to drive back I at least know where I am going.  These logging roads all intertwine with each other so you could get lost for days up there.  We went down so many different logging roads, I have no idea where we went.  If I had to find it right now I would have no clue.  But I was enjoying the ride anyways as I knew I would be going this way again sooner or later. (grin)...even if I was just walking the trail, I would eventually pass by it. (sort of).

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.
I am told that the rest of this forest is still virgin forest...has never been cut.
  Now we went as far as we could (the road ended), and we were by a bunch of fallen trees...I looked left, then right, and then at my friend.  He was grinning from ear to ear by now, got out of the truck, grabbed said loppers, chain saw, axe, small tank of gas, and this two headed thing and informed me that we were making a brand new trail head only about 300-400 feet long, to meet the trail to the bridge...(I have now got those deer looking at headlight kind of look on my face).  so it takes me a matter of a few seconds to let it register......staring again to make sure...then going okay lets clear bush....

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.
Let the fog roll in....

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...
long and winding road...
it really won't help you out there should you need it. (This is part of surviving the bears 101).  You should also keep a small hunting knife on you..again not in your pack...this may help should a cougar come along. (Part of surviving a cougar 101).  A camera....this is to take a picture of a wolf...if you are ever lucky enough to EVER see one. (part of surviving Wolves 101).
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.
Hey I am over here...
  We then took a break and he told me he just wanted to see where to go next...So okay I am now out in the middle of the bush...right now I know my way to the truck (you need a 4X4 to get up there), but we are going to go deep into the woods with no marking tape, no GPS, and I hate that.  But we only tromped through the bush for about 5 minutes and then I saw the main trail...yippeeeee.......boy was I happy.  We walked along the trail till we came to the bridge, that is in perfect condition, is strong like Ox, but I got to see it.  It is fantastic.

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.
zeeeee bridge...

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).
A great new day

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.
Yippeeee the sun is coming
.....
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.
arggg more road....the speed bumps are big ditches...
..it is usually by surprise..my friend told me try to grab knife and aim for the eyes...or any part of the face, don't not think about it...just aim.

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.
Fog fog...go away...
..what did we see.....a black bear...camera was in hand, but not turned on....he looked once and took off....so when in the vehicle always have the camera on....you never know.....!!!!!!!

Thanks for coming with me.


hummingbird50 says:
That is very good Bill, thanks for the great advice, I will be sure to go and check out your theory:):) But one thing there are only Black Bears (one sighted white bear), on the Island, no Grizzles. Thanks goodness for that, all those Bells....there was a Grizzly on the Island once, but they figured he must have swam over from the US probably (grin)...Have a great day.:)

Noe Nir, from Hyenas to Leopard...what happened to the Leopard?
Posted on: Aug 15, 2008
bkretzer says:
Hi Bev, I heard some advise about bears. First you are supposed to have the little bells and pepper spray you mentioned, for the reasons you sighted. Then it was important to tell the difference between the bears. I guess there are two types in your area, the Black and Grizzley. It is advisable to know which kind of bear frequents your general area, and you can tell by the animals poop. Black Bear excrement has pieces of berries and nuts in it. Grizzley Bear's have little bells in it, and smells like pepper. Happy Trails!
Posted on: Aug 14, 2008
hummingbird50 says:
Nir...nir...nir...you lucky man to see a wolf...and no camera...shame..shame... (grin), well we have more than an abundance of bears right here on the Island, I am sure we could just fill Israel right up! :) I like to see them when I am in a vehicle, I don't like to get too close especially at this time of year, they are filling up on all the blueberries and such getting fat for winter...I don't mind sharing, but I am not to sure about the,:) Have a great day! :)
Posted on: Aug 13, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
As always this is my start to my d…
As always this is my start to my …
oh look a tree...hee...hee...
oh look a tree...hee...hee...
I am told that the rest of this fo…
I am told that the rest of this f…
Let the fog roll in....
Let the fog roll in....
long and winding road...
long and winding road...
Hey I am over here...
Hey I am over here...
zeeeee bridge...
zeeeee bridge...
A great new day
A great new day
Yippeeee the sun is coming
Yippeeee the sun is coming
arggg more road....the speed bumps…
arggg more road....the speed bump…
Fog fog...go away...
Fog fog...go away...
Get the chain saw out...
Get the chain saw out...
Dig a little.....lop alot.
Dig a little.....lop alot.
Okay which way do we go now?????
Okay which way do we go now?????
The path after much work....
The path after much work....
Ahhh...what the trail should look …
Ahhh...what the trail should look…
A wild lily...
A wild lily...
The creek....
The creek....
The way to the cabin...
The way to the cabin...
back over the bridge.  They pull t…
back over the bridge. They pull …
Hey look threes company....
Hey look threes company....
Ok work is done for the day...back…
Ok work is done for the day...bac…
Vancouver Island
photo by: Mezmerized