Monday, May 31, 2010

Black Bear in Our Back Yard

We had a young black bear come visit us after dinner tonight; he was a bit late for dinner at our house, but he was just in time to raid some of the garbage cans in the neighbourhood.

Annette and I were just running out the door around 8.30 PM to do a couple of errands, when we seen a lady across the street on her cell phone, looking at our house. As we came out she shouted "there's a bear in your yard"!, nothing new there: we have had several visits over the years since we've been here.

We went back in the house and looked out the windows into the back yard; the bear was standing on the back fence. As we have a short yard, he was only 40 feet or so from us, so we could tell it was a male!  :)

The noise we made opening the back door must have scared him, as there was garbage in our back yard that he was evidently dining on. He was now on the fence, balancing on the fence like a ballerina. Annette tried to get a picture, but he jumped down into the neighbour's yard behind us and sauntered over to their garbage cans. At this point I ran and got my cam corder and started taking some video.

He dined on the neighbour's stuff for a while, then the noise from the neighbourhood on the front street scared him, so he walked back to our fence, looked over at us 40 feet away, and then jumped up on the fence and walked along the fence into the neighbour's yard behind us and one door over. There he found some more good eats in their garbage cans, and dined there until the noise again scared him away.

Back up on our rear fence, he tight rope walked the fence and then dropped into our neighbours next door. He checked out their down stairs door, then decided he had had enough of the neighbourhood talking about him. He went along the side of the house into the front street, and then ran across the street into the ravine area across from our house.

A couple of screechers from a neighbour probably got him moving further into the ravine and away from the neighbourhood. A good example of a surprise for the neighbourhood, and why the Bear Aware program is important. Easy meals will keep this guy coming back until he can't find good eats around here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Maple Ridge Caching Goes to the Dogs

Took advantage of the break in the weather to do a little caching close to home in; corralled MrTJ into coming along, which was good, as all the caches I went looking for were his. Hard to DNF with the cache owner along!

MrTJ brought his two geohounds, Jasper and Mya, and I picked up my daughter's boyfriend's geohound, Titus the Great Dane. We headed into the north part of Maple Ridge, where the hills start to climb towards the mountains. There are a series of old logging roads and horse trails in the area on which MrTJ has planted a series of caches, some with the word "EGG" in the name.

MrTJ has placed 6 caches in such a way that you can do a loop in under an hour and pick up all the caches. The terrain is not strenous, although in some areas it is not flat. Gentle slopes with the occasional steeper uphill section are the worst that this walk provides. Wear good shoes and expect a little water on the trails, with a spot of mud here and there. Most people will be able to do this series no problem; I don't do hills well and the worst I did was a bit of huffing and puffing.

The area is highlighted by tall cedar stumps complete with spring board notches from when the loggers swung an axe to take down these huge trees. Spring boards were typically 6 feet long, the loggers would cut a notch out of the tree about 5 feet up the tree and then jam the spring board into the notch. This would accomplish two things; 1) it would let them cut through the tree were the trunk was a bit smaller, and 2) it would get them clear of the florest floor so they could swing the axe unimpeded.

If you are looking for a healthy walk through our local wet coast forest with ferns and trees and moss aplenty, head to the north end of 236th street in Maple Ridge and enjoy a stroll through what makes Maple Ridge so special.

Walk through the rain forest with me by watching the video! You'll want to go there for sure!  :)