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Her Mother’s Daughter; Empty Trails; Oh, Deer; It’s Moraine, Not Maureen; Sanaya Waves; Dog in a Bag

I hope I can get away with long distance slander. Well, it’s not really slander, because this is a true story. But I’m going to get into trouble with two women, and that’s a Most Dangerous Game. In a previous post, I mentioned that Suzanne’s mom Ruthie had this thing about not throwing away cans of food until long past their expiration dates. I’m talking 4-5 years or longer. She blames it on being born during the Depression. I never thought that was a genetic attribute until this week when I was going to fix pasta with clam sauce while My Lovely Bride was home in Florida visiting her mom. I inspected the date on the can from the pantry, and saw, to my shock, despair and consternation… “Best By Jan 2013”. Hmmm; the can looked okay, but you never know… I had two options, (a) give it a shot and take a chance on salmonella or some other dread stomach ailment; or (b) toss it. I chose option (b), and lived to tell the tale. (I’m not sure whether that shall be a long-term condition when My Lovely Bride returns, so if this is my last post, you’ll know why.)

I continue to be amazed by the paucity of other mountain bike riders and hikers on the trails here in Idaho. I have accumulated almost seven hours of bike and foot travel on the gorgeous trails of Farragut State Park, and have passed all of eight other trail users, all within 1/2 mile of established campgrounds, none deeper in the woods. Admittedly, many of the other campground users have ski and fishing boats, but many others do not.

So far, I have seen more whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) than people out on the trails, including this doe and fawn early one morning. I kept my distance so as not to disturb them, and they walked off into the woods a few minutes later.

The only structure visible in this photo taken from a trail high on a hillside is the park’s water tower. All the green thingies are trees, mostly hemlock, larch, cedar and fir. I haven’t seen any bears, but am now carrying my industrial-sized can of bear spray, just in case, because I can’t assume that there will be another hiker for miles around.

 Now, about the green thingies… oh, yeah, “trees”… here in Idaho, logging provides lots of jobs, and is of more than passing interest to the locals. They practice sustainable forestry here (take that, you Sierra Club people!), and looking out over the woods from a mountain top seems to support their efforts…. it’s a sea of green, everywhere you look. There is one sawmill on the road toward Coeur d”Alene, and the piles of logs there are very impressive. Next time you send a card or write a letter (yes, some people still do that), use your laser printer, or use TP (I was being delicate here), thank a logger.

Now for a sociological note. After observing the behavior of fellow campground users, I am beginning to believe that many spend most of their time watching TV, playing video games and eating hot dogs/drinking beer. I don’t completely fault the last activity; I am guilty of it myself on occasion. But I watched one guy load up a huge plastic bag of empty beer cans, wine bottles and a single Bombay Sapphire bottle, and his party had only been there for a few days. (Worst of all, they didn’t invite me over, darn the bad luck!) On the one hand, I am happy to have the trails to myself, but on the other hand am worried about the lessons being taught to youngsters today. In my humble opinion, they should be out in the woods, not skateboarding around a campground on asphalt roads. I have not seen a single father out hiking with his son or daughter, only older adults (30 and up) and a few teenagers. Sigh…

On my hike yesterday outside the park, I scaled an old (very, very old – 12,000 years old, in fact) glacial moraine left over from the Ice Age. This area was once covered in ice by the Cordilleran Glacier, and there are many glacial erratics and piles of boulders scattered about the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. Peek Hole Rock is one, dropped when an ice dam blocking the Clark Fork River burst, releasing 500 cubic miles of water, which then ran at an estimated 60 mph downstream, tossing boulders wherever it pleased.

Okay, another sociological lament… but not a rant! This time the subject is political correctness and the Boy Scouts. Having been a Cub Scout, then a Boy Scout, and finally an Explorer Scout, I think I know the organization pretty well. Farragut State Park once hosted the largest Scout Jamboree in history, with 40,500 scouts attending. Back then, these towering cedar poles were raised to honor the Scout Laws, attributes that Boy Scouts were supposed to uphold: “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.” Large letters on each pole illustrated each of these attributes. I found these poles about a quarter mile off the nearest road, in now-dense forest, with no easy access to them for visitors. In the recent past, new “Friendship Poles” were erected with a large parking lot adjacent. The new poles state a new message in several languages. “For Friendship”. C’mon, what was wrong with the old ones? Like, they sounded too much like good citizenship?

Just back from another mountain bike ride in the woods. Now, the thing about woods is that they have lots of trees there. Who knew? This is not an earth-shattering revelation, right? Well, there was a windstorm recently, and lots of trees were knocked down, including the three below, in the space of 75 yards, which effectively blocked the trail. I was able to lift my bike over the first, but the second and third were so close together that I had to bushwhack around them. All part of the fun and zest, as we used to say in the Navy…

As you know, MLB is back in Florida… I would like to thank the couple of hundred attendees at Suzanne’s Sanaya session on Sunday evening in The Villages who gave me a long-distance wave. I recognized a lot of smiling faces there, and know that Suzanne was so happy to be back with all of you, even if just for a few days. We are looking forward to our return to TV in October! 

Whoops, a late entry. I was going over some photos from our Alaska trip, and found this one of a “Dog in a Bag” that I hadn’t published. Rudy is a great traveler, and he always gets lots of attention when people see him in his travel kennel.

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