Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pemberton Labour Day Weekend, Camping, Quadding and Opening Bow Season

For those who read stories for the kill factor, I’ll start this one by saying I didn’t see a deer and didn’t shoot one. I didn’t even see bear which were all the rage in the area, though I did see sign. I saw two ptarmigans, a partidge, a rabbit, lots of voles, a couple of gopher, some ground squirrels, a whisky jack and some eagles and hawks.  I had a really great time.  I shot a number of paper targets and cans with my Excaliber bow and with my Ruger semi auto 22 rifle and my Ruger Mini 14 semi auto 223 rifle.  I didn’t eat any paper. I cooked my own great meals on a Coleman camp stove and shared these with my cockapoo hunting dog Gilbert.  He had a really great time and chased and killed tennis balls. He did chase the two ptarmigan too.  He’ll dream of that for weeks.
My old hunting buddy Bill Mewhort, now residing in the truly happy happy hunting grounds,  emphasized the importance of the opening season hunt.  It comes at the end of August or beginning of September, first a week for us bow hunters then the rifle season proper begins with a bang.
It’s now one of the main rituals of my annual seasonal year giving it its unique form and meaning.  There’s the birthdays and anniversaries for some and the official national and regional holidays. I especially like city of Vancouver’s annual 5 k Summer Fun run. The Gay Pride parade  as sex has become mainstream more irrelevant than irreverent has  mired itself in more sordid politics, a much dirtier business indeed.
It’s sad though the atheists don’t have Christmas, Easter, Pentecost or even the days of the Saints to celebrate. No wonder they suffer more from addictions and suicide.   The Communists do continue to fail miserably to celebrate with any fervour their lacklustre godless leaders. Those of other religions other than mine do know the joy of spirituality. Their community celebrations are blessed with laughter and love.  Even the pagans with their wild ribaldry, jumping fires in spring and such,  have so much more to offer than the dead intellectualism of violent socialism.
I’m  blessed as only a Celt can be  having Hogmanny, St. Andrews and Robbie Burns.. Ah, to annually hear and witness the Ode to the Haggis with bag pipes playing and bonnie sweet lasses dancing is to be alive in a way no other can imagine. Were it not for the Highlander Scots who jumped at the tropical and mild Canadian winter offered by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada would have taken even longer to be discovered.  The French Festival du Voyageur is an annual delight.  The tribal indigenous people took gladly to the tribal Celts and the French who were intelligent enough to leave France.   I do appreciate my ethnically touched neighbours who break up the year differently with the  traditional Chinese parade of astrological symbolism or the Indian Diwali  festival of lights and other such communal events.
And for all of us who disdain the poor hunter vegetarians who lack the sensitivity to hear the cellular death screams of  vegetables there is  the added creme de la creme of the Opening of Hunting Season.
Each year I gather more ‘stuff’ together for the hunt.  As a boy who hunted with my father and brother I only had to bring my warm clothes, boots, cap , 22 rifle and shells.  My dad had the truck and knowledge, and tools,  having hunted as a boy with his grandfather. My brother was an expert marksman and I the youngest was best at plucking ducks and partridge.
I never did hunt big game with my brother or father. I got my first deer tag as an adult after yoga training, vegetarianism, marriage, overseas travel, study and medical internship took precedence. I had guns in Manitoba but bought my first Browning 30:06 deer rifle from Italian Firearms here.  I moved to Vancouver and began to hunt deer here in the late 1980’s.  My first hunts were in  Pemberton and Princeton. When I moved to Vancouver Island I met Bill Mewhort and we hunted together for decades. I was with him when I shot my first buck.
I’d buy my Stainless Steel Ruger 30:06 from his friend and owner of Granlund Firearms. We’d name it “Sexcalibre” because it was so sexy and shiny.  Because I sailed and often lived on my sailboat I loved the introduction of stainless steel rifles.
I’d begun archery with a long compound bow but switched to a Browning Compound Crossbow because it  required less practice each year. I’d shoot deer and grouse with that.  Bill however  has a video of me missing a deer standing still in a field four times before the deer walked away more bored than bothered.  “See what I told you about getting a rest,” Bill  forever emphasized the need to lean against something when shooting to improve accuracy.
 “Aim for the centre of the centre of the centre,” he’d say time and time again.  He called deer in and taught me stalking to the point where i could sneak up on lying deer and shout ‘boo’ in their ear watching them jump straight up before running off. Bill, himself called deer in, having them come to within feet of him every time.
I now hunt with the Excaliber Bow having been introduced to this amazing cross bow by the amazing hunting men at Reliable Guns in Vancouver. It’s more powerful than my original compound and as accurate with allowing me to hit grouse.  I like the opening bow hunting season mostly because of the last of summer and early autumn weather. Animals, when they’re around, aren’t so spooked as they are after the cacophony of gunfire alerts them to the opening of rifle season. We actually believe the deer get a memo telling them the opening season and any changes to regulations. Those that can't read get the message quick enough once the gun fire begins.
Having all my ‘stuff’ now I’m no better a hunter, worse if anything.  I used to climb mountains and carry deer back on my shoulders through down hills and through streams.  I quartered moose I’d shot to carry them overland through grizzly territory for more than a mile.  Not anymore.  I’ve got older and lazier but still surprise myself getting game. I’ve always thought of myself as a grouse hunter who happens to shoot big game when I’m out with the dog looking for grouse to shoot. Gilbert is ecstatic hunting grouse. It’s the only thing in his life, other than Fifi, that is more exciting to him than chasing tennis balls.
I have a new 2017  Ford F350 4x4 Lariat Edition 6.2 L Gas engine Super Duty Truck with Long box. I replaced my 2009 Ford F350 Harley Davidson Edition Diesel truck because it was off warranty and having troubles. I’d fairly trashed that truck too 4x4ing after my Quad was stolen.  I have my Honda Pioneer 500 cc side by side ATV for backwoods and only plan to use the truck to get to a campground where I can unload Charles. Charles is the name we’ve given the Pioneer.
Each hunting trip is an expedition of sorts.  I have to get my rifles, bows, arrows and ammunition from the gun storage locker. Then I have to get the camping gear and cooking gear and Charles from the North Shore Storage locker. I also have to find radios, gps, satellite phones and electronics. I’ve just moved trailers so finding everything is a trial.  I’d completed a morning clinic and really had hoped leaving in the afternoon to get to Pemberton and set up camp before darkness
It wasn’t meant to be.  I loaded all the gear remembering everything.  There’s the North Face Tent I bought last spring from MEC. Then last week I bought another MEC sleeping bag, this one  -9degree ,wide extra long  Draco . My other sleeping bags are 6 feet but this one is 7 feet.
My first favourite sleeping bag was a down bag I had as a fly in doctor in Northern Manitoba and Northern Ontario.  Then I made myself a sheep skin sleeping bag after doing arctic wilderness survival training making and sleeping in igloos and Quincies. Since then I’ve had a half dozen lighter weight sleeping bags and finally I’m satisfied with this one.
The same has been true for air mattresses over the years.  I’ve finally found ones I like from Cabelas whose own brand bags are the best.  I tend to pass along my old gear when it’s relatively new in my search for the perfect wilderness gear. I’m thankful for nephews and friends who are glad to take my gear so I can move along to something better. I love that some items last for a long time such as the Coleman gas stove and the Coleman Gas Lantern.
My hunting gear is a variation on my ‘car camping’ gear.  I’ve done back packing, bicycling, canoeing, canoe portaging, motorcycling, and yachting expeditions.  Hunting with a truck and ATV leaves a lot of room for the imagination.  I take tables, chairs, lawn chairs, and this week had my lovely Honda 2000 generator. I got by just fine with the Honda 1000 generator which I had on my sailboat as well but with the 2000 I can run water pumps and a heater.  I’m not averse to luxury and comfort when I’m hunting. Most guys leave tenting and move into trailers.
I did get the first  trailers for hunting and took them hunting a couple of times but my present trailer is simply too elegant for the backwoods. Besides it's too big for me to even pull without training and endorsement. As well Burnaby Hitch has to put a Fifth Wheel Hitch in the truck bed before I can even tow it.  It’s a trade off.
I really would like a camper trailer and tow my Honda.  Bill Mewhort's  best hunting system was the truck and camper towing a trailer which we’d do our best to load with moose and deer. My other impressive hunting buddy Victor has a truck and tows an enclosed trailer which he’s made up with sink and cot for hunting but which serves to haul back his abundance of moose and deer as well.
I laugh at the young guys or novices only because I’m an old guy now and can.  There’s simply no way you can get the right gear and right arrangement without experience.  The more experienced the guy the more interesting his gear is to another wilderness connoisseur.  The book learning may help and there’s merit in viewing videos but it all takes time.  And old guys just love to look at other guys gear. It was the same with off shore sailing.  So much individualization and so much consideration of efficiency and durability.
It was sunny and only about 3 pm when I left Vancouver. I love driving the Sea to Sky Highway. It’s truly one of the wonderful rides of all times. My favourite trips have been doing it on the Harley. I used to love riding up in my old Vanagon when I was into black diamond skiing at Whistler and Blackcomb nearly a quarter century ago.  The new F350 Ford with gas engine maneuvered beautifully and handled all the ascent and curves. I loved glancing to the left at the beautiful blue waters of Howe Sound remembering the countless times I sailed those water in my 39ft offshore yacht, SV GIRI.  It's now on land at Loyalist Cove Marina, Ontario planning her next expedition.
I stopped at the Squamish Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire is a necessary last stop for any expedition. I finally got the bolt I’d lost for ATV ramp.  I’d had a little excitement wondering if my jury rig would hold when I drove the Honda up onto the back of the truck.  One shouldn’t push one’s luck.
I got Gilbert’s Little Cesar dog food there.  I got some Fusion 223 ammunition for the Ruger Mini 14 I’d brought along for larget practice and tenting sleep aid.
lmost next door there’s a perfectly situated Starbucks where I bought a silver mug which would fit Charles cup holder. I also bought ground Expresso coffee for the stove top Expresso machine which I’ve taken everywhere with me, including my motorcycle ride to Sturges.  I really do appreciate a good cup of coffee with honey and cream. When I don’t have cream I love canned milk, a taste initially acquired in the far north.
Escape Route is a fabulous outdoor store further along the mall.  I’d noted this year that my hiking boots were really done in and given my injuries and need for a time with orthotics I was overjoyed to find the very best Romanian Salewa Hiking Boots. I know Romanians. They are a magnificent people who love the outdoors.  Since Communism fell they are making high quality european products. I love my goretex lined boots.  I really love these boots. They really proved themselves too.
I did my grocery shopping at the Indepent Grocery Store, finding great steaks, potatoes and pork chops, staples of my hunting along, with all the other dining luxuries like white chocolate I can’t resist. It was many many years ago I thought I should ‘rough’ it when it came to groceries. Back packing and canoe camping impose limits of weight. But I have a cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter.  Why rough it when you have a truck and a generator. Actually because the truck worked so well as a generator with it’s USB plug in for charging my iPhone and Ipad with kindle books and AC plug ins for cooler,  I don’t think I’ll be taking the Honda generator along next time. The Ford truck is quieter and it's one less thing to lift. If I was using a heater I'd take it though.
Back in the truck with Gilbert, the retracting ceiling roof saving him from the heat, and my trips back and forth to the truck with each purchase didn’t detract from his final sloppy welcome when I started the engine. We were on our way north again.  It was now 5:30 pm.  The traffic had certainly increased but thanks to the improvements on the road made by the Liberal government of BC it really flowed despite the vast numbers heading to Whistler and Pemberton for the long weekend.
It was dark when I got to the MacDonald’s at Pemberton.  I love MacDonald’s. Gilbert loves their plain burger. He almost Jones at the Golden Arches.  It was already getting dark.
I drove the Duffy Lake Road up past the turn off to the St. Agnes Skookumchuck Hotsprings.  I used to love this but last spring Laura and I found it had been taken over by loud partying young people making it obnoxious to us.  Way too loud.  Too much booze and drugs. Too much city unpredictability. Too much like DTES and work.
I was surprised at the number of cars at Joffre Lakes.  Pemberton has just become increasingly popular.  I was planning on going to the campgrounds Laura and I found past Duffy Lake nearer to Lillouet. The only problem was that I saw a sign that said I was entering the Caribou.
The reason’s I chose to hunt Pemberton again this year was that there was a Senior’s Doe Season for guys over 65.  I figure I can use all the help I can get because I’m no longer climbing mountains for hunting like I did up to a decade a go. I can still climb with far less enjoyment and more pain but the issue is I’m not going to be able to get the game back.  Hauling my elk up hill a few years back took all day and nearly killed me when I flipped the ATV.  Even hauling in the buck I shot on the relative flat last year was a struggle. Even lifting the last few game I’ve shot onto the back of the truck has required me to use the winch I've had on the front of the ATV's
This year because of the wild fires in the interior, only the Coastal region is open to back country ATV’s.  You can still drive a truck in the Caribou other back countries.   What hadn’t been devastated by wild fires this year was still restricted to offroad vehicles.  I didn’t want to trash my new truck. And I really love driving around in Charles with my great hunting dog beside me.
Since Gilbert lost his eye to glaucoma this year I really wanted him to have a great year hunting. I don’t know how long he’ll have his remaining eye.  He does love watching the road when we’re driving around hunting.
I would have liked to camp by the river but I was concerned about Gilbert and the highway traffic so headed inland on a logging road near Van Horrick Creek.  I knew I wasn’t able to shoot old guy doe near here but I could hunt with my ATV.  I was still in Coastal Area 2.
I found a place off the main logging road, rather lucky indeed.  It being past 10 pm  and pitch dark, I almost set up my tent alongside the road when I drove in 5 km and couldn’t find any spot. Returning my lights caught this turn off which took me a few truck lengths into the bush, just enough for privacy and away from passing vehicles for Gilbert’s safety.  The down side was no running water at camp and when trucks went by, few though there were, the dust blew over my tent and gear. It was dry and dirty place, but safe and somewhat secluded.
I am thankful to North Face tents for the ease of assembly in the headlights of trucks. I’ve done so many times I can speak with experience. Never am I happy to be doing it, always I’m tired and just wanting to go to bed. It’s always the same. I methodically go through the motions and long ago stopped cursing, preferring prayer instead.  In no time the tend was up and I’d blown up the air mattresses, Gilbert helping as much as he could by sitting on them. I loved laying out my new sleeping bag and opened one for Gilbert which I draped for warmth over his little doggy bed I bring along.  It is one of life’s great joys to be able to strip in the cool night and climb into a sleeping bag with man’s best friend curling up beside you.  Just as I was falling asleep Gilbert, whose been more skittish and vocal since he lost his eye, began barking at the night.
I love my Ford F350 automatic fob. I just pressed the button so the lights went on and off and horn blared a couple of times.  Whatever Gilbert was bothered by was not about to take on a White Ford F350 Super Duty Truck. I had my Ruger Mini 14 with clip in beside me, nothing up the barrel, but really think the truck fob is the best animal deterrent. I had to do it a couple of times in the night because the little guy had a bad dream or smelt something.  I eventually fell asleep despite the air mattress, very aware how I miss my bed everytime I go back to sleeping on the ground.
It was still dark when a couple of trucks passed. I could sense an edge of dawn light and thought how my old friend Bill Mewhort would have had us all out of bed his coffee brewing and wet eggs and greasy bacon waking our senses.  Bill’s dead. I’m sorry. But I remember hunting with him  I wished that when he got us all up before dawn.  It was worse in the cold and snow.  It was worse that he was so cheerful too. His percolated coffee was welcome and good.
Alone I  rolled over and went back to sleep.  Gilbert and I usually wake at 7 am for work so he figured it was okay for him to start licking my face at that time. I often find him awake watching me waiting for me to wake up or finally taking it upon himself to wake me up.  It’s great letting him out of the tent to roam about peeing on everything.  I liked that he could be off leash the whole time.
It’s really hard to get out of a sleeping bag and get dressed. It’s even harder crawling out of a tent and standing.  My knees aren’t what they once were,  That’s not age. That’s being out of shape. I used to dance, do yoga, martial arts and tai chi.  If I did as much of that today as I did a few years back I’d be a hell of a lot more limber.  Rolling the truck and rolling the ATV and not sailing these last two years of grief and anxiety, sloth and gluttony have taken their toll. I was thankful to have the camp chair placed outside the tent subsequent mornings so I could lift myself up with it’s assistance.
Shitting in the woods is over rated.
Wet Ones are further proof that God exists and Jesus Christ was All Man and all God.  Thank you Jesus for "wet ones".
I do like standing and pissing though Marking my territory.  I like to piss in the four corners out from the tent to alert an animal to my presence. I’m scarier than anything out there even the occasional Grizzly bear.  Being alone in the woods I’m far away from the drunk and stoned young people who sometimes are looking for trouble. I’ve stood down guns and knives in the back woods over the year, facing up to some unpleasant  yahoos.
I only remembered this year the night I heard some guy in a provincial camp ground stealing my lantern. He’d stolen my axe too. In the light of my flash light I saw him running off with the long axe and lantern. I was stark naked and barefoot but took off after him armed only with my flashlight.  He had a head start and out ran me. That might have been a reason for the second wife not to want to have children with me and eventually be happy with a divorce.  She said I was a foo to chase naked after some  guy in the night who’d stolen my axe.  She often didn't approve of my nakedness, that night at the party with some hundred folk about when I took off all my clothes and suggested we should all go skinny dipping. Being a party pooper she just had to mention the outdoor pool was frozen in winter.
The fact is I’m pretty certain I’m the most dangerous animal I’ll encounter in the woods. I just don’t know if I’m more dangerous to myself or others.
Dressed I backed Charles down off the truck thankful to have the bolt in the ramp.  I love Charles. I didn’t bother with making coffee. I had a blue energy drink and got my bow and arrows and having shot an arrow off to see it was still hitting the target I headed out on Charles.  What beautiful country! BC is truly God’s country.  The devil seems quite at home to stay in Vancouver.
I love the logging companies who make these logging roads. This one was active with huge machinery left out and fresh cut timber.  I loved the smell of fresh cut fir. The sun was just rising over the snow capped mountain peaks.  The higher it got the warmer it got.  Majestic spruce and fir trees along the sides of the roads and every little while a slash which I looked over with my Bushnell Rangefinder binoculars.  I didn’t see any deer but it’s mostly about the experience. Gilbert and I were having the time of our life.
I’d brought a 5 gallon blue jug which I’d filled up at Pemberton only to have half the water spill out as it fell over on it’s side with the bumps or turns in the road.  The cap leaked.  I found a stream and filled it up and later would add quite a few drops of iodine.  Iodine purifies the water and protects against bacteria but especially ‘beaver fever’. There’s some formula about how little iodine you need for a whole lot of water but I use my own formula of dumping in more than enough but not enough to affect the taste. I figure with North Koreans being ruled by a young nut bar dictator having some iodine on board could help if Kim Jong un shoots a nuclear missile at us.
I got naked too, the ex wife not being around,  and barely survived washing myself off in the freezing cascading mountain stream.  I had Olay soap and a little tube of shampoo I’d brought from some 5 star hotel I stayed in. The sweet smells helped distract me from my feet turning blue and numb and the swivelling experience of my manhood when I sat in the water.
I often think I’d like to be a transexual admiring those who have had the courage to make the transition. It might complement my being born again.  Pain is a discouragement though and I fear that I would rather just have my youth back and not make so many mistakes with regard to marriage and love and idealism in the wicked workplace.  I like Leonard Cohen’s “I want a new face”.  I think that while other transexual’s have gender identity disorder I’ve more of an identity disorder.  The fact is that after the mountain stream experience I had a visual image of what I’d look like without a penis.  I  thought of Seinfeld's George Castandas screaming ‘its’ the cold water’.
It was already hot outside in the morning.  Back on the ATV for more driving about and exploring.  No deer.  No signs of deer. Just great countryside and whole lot of fun 4x 4ing. I just love being with Gilbert out in the woods sharing his obvious enjoyment.
Back at the campsite I made sandwiches and shared the meat with Gilbert. He ate his Little Cesar too. Lots of running about for him too.  I threw the little yellow ball and the bigger orange ball almost continuously all weekend. He’s addicted. And I’m feeling guilty that he lost his eye.  It doesn’t matter it’s genetic.  I work with some extremely hateful and chronically complaining demanding people and I attract all that misery and pain when I refuse to do some thing that the individuals wants, like free drugs, a letter saying they don’t have to work for life, a change of diagnosis from anti social personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder to choir girl or alter boy.  I’m especially disliked by the pedophiles I’ve reported. My life has been threatened repeatedly and my last dog was killed by a pothead after I refused to alter their positive drug screen for so they could continue to smoke pot and get a high paying government job.
The sad irony is that my ‘integrity’ cost my dog his life.  Burying him I cried such tears too despite my belief in Rainbow Bridge. Now I’ve returned to Canada to live and work under a Prime Minister who lied and smoked marijuana and got the highest paid  job in the country.  I’ve had a lot of conversation with God about this.
For a year I’ve looked everywhere all the time because another guy has been threatening to kill my dog because he wanted me to change his diagnosis of drug addiction and alcoholism which I can’t do and it wouldn’t wipe out his DUI”s either. The irony here is that the police who hadn't done anything despite my reporting his ongoing threats called me up because he's now taking to threatening  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I could have said, "Oh no, I was mistaken" but having that awful dinosaur integrity I told them that yes, the reason I reported him to you in the first place was that I thought him dangerous. And yes I've worked extensively with the dangerously insane and psychotic, addicted and personality disordered, in jails and with the police and military and only twice have I reported a patient threatening me. This is despite having been threatened physically with knives and guns and fists and other weapons in the office and simply put that behaviour down to illness.  The police thanked me and perhaps I contributed to saving Justin Trudeau's life. This too will pass. For all I know Kim Jong un has other plans.
A woman is mad about me not giving her a letter saying she never had to work again so she could continue to collect insurance and not work. I was giving her annual letters but she wanted more.  Some people you can never give enough and displeased they lie and hurt. There's a story about a scorpion and a horse I like to remember at such times. It's my nature and oath to help. I don't like being judged by those who tell me that they've given up and their's 'is just a job'.
I met a Serb who hated the UN troops more than the Croats who killed his family.  There is more evil in sins of omission than sins of commission. That's the lesson in Arendt's "banality of evil".
I cry a lot, thinking of my dog. I long for death at times too.  It’s all behind me out in the woods. No CBC news. No patients wanting "free heroin".
I set up targets and shoot nice patterns, near bullseyes. I could adjust the scope a little but I'm satisfied  with free standing and using a rest. It's good enough for the conditions.   It comes with being called a ‘straight shooter’.  Not much room for that today. Only Kellie Leitch speaks of Canadian Values anymore. I'm waiting for Andrew Scheer to weigh in on that but he's playing to a larger audience than the conservative party.  I really hoped that Dr. Leitch would acknowledged.  She's a truly amazing woman.
I didn’t bother with clothes a lot on the weekend.  It’s like being on my yacht with just a wrap or shorts. The weather was so hot it was nudist colony weather.  Not wearing my Apple watch the white band where my watch was has gone. I really did tan a great deal.  Lying on a lawn chair reading all summer and concerned about the spots on my back I was avoiding sun on my back But thanks to the two lesions being removed by the skillful Dr. Waterson I felt great going shirtless. I shot a whole lot of targets and enjoyed the sun.
I don’t know what happens to the day. I drive around the backwoods for hours.  I feel like it must have been like in the golden era of the automobile back in the 30’s.  At most I can do nearly 50 km/hour which is as exciting on rough logging roads with steep fall off cliffs but mostly all I do is 20 km and sometimes 10 km.  It’s an easy speed even if the road is horrid and there are these great rocks and cut outs for run off. It’s a speed I can look around at the scenery.  It's a speed I could see a deer if there were any.
In the afternoon I had a thermos of coffee along and some sausage. I take a tin of herring or sardines along in the morning. Gilbert doesn’t much like the fish treats but really loves sharing the sausage and cheeses.  We picnic on the side of a mountain and I watch clouds like I did as a kid.  The colours of the terrain greens and a touch of early fall are too beautiful too.
There was this relatively major river running through a valley with large blue pools. I climbed down and swam in these. If swimming means diving in then swimming right back out, lathering oneself with soap and shampoo then diving back in and rubbing off the soap and shampoo furiously to get out shivering and blue to dry in the hot midday sun.  Everything was so dry with the road dust incredibly filthy so I took these daily dips and used my big bowl with water back at the camp to wash off. I’ve talked to Afghanistan solders who’ve described the daily horror of heat and dust and feeling the awful wearing sand grit daily. I think I had a wee touch of that in the dry heat of this weekend. Braving the freezing water as I did gave some momentary relief from the constant sense of grimy grit that pervaded the camp and got into the clothes.  The air at times also was thick with the smoke from fires far away.
I never saw any deer or deer sign. I figured with the heat and flies they were high up at the glacier level where it was cool.  I did see bear scat on the road.  I surprised a grouse first thing one morning. Then I saw two ptarmigan and hoping they were in season not seriously took a long shot with my bow for the benefit of Gilbert. The arrow went a ways above their heads and bounced  off a rock, the noise and movement causing them both to burst into flight with a little dog going full tilt after them. He almost became airborne with  sheer speed and determination to catch himself a bird.
After the morning hunt on the Monday Labour Day I could have stayed longer but chose to pack up. I’d had enough. I had a home that was still chaos after a move which badly needed some organization. I had a legal report that was due and I felt like I wanted a shower and a clean bed to sleep in.  I didn’t even think of the traffic coming home a day early and getting caught up in the long weekend return. I should have known when I saw the dozens and dozens of cars all over the Joffe Lake region. Crossing through the Mount Currie Reserve where my old friend rode rodeo I was glad to see a sign saying the rodeo would be the May 20 weekend.  I really would have loved to see Wayne Andrews when he was the World Indain Broncho Riding champion.  Mount Currie reserve and Pemberton Rodeo see a lot of great horses and riders. I’ll forever be thankful for the times I rode with Wayne. the times we fished and the stories we shared late night in his sweat lodge. What a great man he truly was.
I stopped at the Spud Valley Hunting Store to talk to one of the great brothers about the areas for the Senior Doe Hunt as well as buy some ammo for next week.  I’m coming back for the opening of rifle season and more camping, though this time with Lovely Laura.
I also drove a little way up the valley to see if I could get some organic produce from the organic farm stand.  Pemberton potatoes are the finest in the world but it was just a little early for them. I did get some fabulous tomatoes which I ate all the way home.  They went really well with the burgers and paddy I got for myself and Gilbert  at the Macdonalds on the way out of town.
Traffic wasn’t bad till Squamish where I turned off only to be disappointed that the car wash was closed for the long weekend.
Back on the road we were pretty much gridlocked from the Chief to Britannia, moving along at between 5 and 20 km max for an endless time. The water cooled Harleys were riding along the side of the road to save their engines.  I was thankful for the air conditioning and sound system in my Ford Truck.  At Britannia we began on track moving along at a 100 km/hr. I stopped to take a photo of the wild fire haze over the normally pristine view.
In North Vancouver I unloaded the Honda Pioneer and camp gear, then left all my guns, bows and ammunition at the gun locker before driving home to unload food and my filthy clothing.
It was great to see Dave and Rick and Laura. Rick and Laura have lawn chairs outside and a little community has grown around them.  Rick like Dave and Mack is a real hands on down to earth guy with great ideas while Laura is like my Laura warm intelligent and engaging.  As we get older for those of us without a whole lot of attitude there’s a lot of experience that can be collected in one place very quickly with all the ensuing wisdom that goes with it.  Conversations are a whole lot better because of this. These friends sense of humour is what really counts.  There’s a whole lot of wit and the wry comments interspersed.  After three days alone I really have to admit I was glad to see such great people. Later Laura and the two girls were walking by and I was able to show off my new home, despite the mess.
I really am glad to be back.  Sleeping in my own bed without being woken by Gilbert a couple times in the night and having to flash the truck lights and honk the horn at a distance before Gilbert would settle back to sleep was wonderful. I think I missed my CPAP machine too, probably because I really did sleep the sleep of the dead after a long hot shower before bed.
This morning after a cup of expresso coffee I cleaned up the garage to make room for an office and settled down to complete the report.  I’ll be at work tomorrow but will have time to undertake a couple of errands which simply can’t wait.  A trip to the Post Office, a trip to the laundry and seeing an Optometrist to get the glasses I broke repaired.  Of course I’d love to have a deer at the butcher but there is next weekend hunting with Laura, (my Laura, not Rick's Laura.) Laura's always good luck and good fun.
It was great to hear Kevin and Anna and the god kids were back from their amazing summer camping and driving holiday all the way to the east coast and back. Like Kevin I enjoy photography so even when there isn’t game to shoot there are always great sights to be shot. Gilbert of course is my my number one model.

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