I've been utterly dog miserible since my youngest child, Boo, moved 80 miles away, in preperation to moving to Seattle, a thousand miles away. And my brother felt the best way to make me happier on Father's Day without any kids was four days of sleeping on the ground with ants and centipedes during 107 degree daytime temps, no single women and seven children. That way I'd feel better about being back home.
I had a blast.
I was up in ABR. territory at the campgrounds around Union Valley Reservoir.
One of the kids present was Lex, the kid with the uncanny ability to hand-catch dragonflys, which can't be done of course.
Then we took him to Panoche Valley last year and he found out all the holes in the area weren't boring old ground squirrel dens. No sirree!
Those were tarantula burrows and whenever we weren't watching him he had his hand down one pulling out these really annoyed female tarantulas. He caught five like that without getting bit once.
Lex is nine now and has progressed beyond budding herpetologist/entomologist to lecturing me now.
If any human alive is going to refill Mr. Steve Irwin's shoes I honestly believe it's going to be Lex.
The first morning all the containers he brought were filled with blue bellies. He let them all go over time as he caught odder and odder creatures, culminating in a rubber boa,
Something that in thirty years of camping I've seen a picture of once, back in the seventies.
A good thing about blue bellies. Whereever you have blue bellies you don't have lyme disease in the tick population. A protien in the blood of blue bellies is toxic to the spirochetes and it clears the ticks of it.
And I even got a little fishing in. I was happy. I didn't catch squat. My brother got a small mouth bass that was clearly undersized, and when he held it up for review prior to release I had to comment,
"Oh I've pulled bigger things out of my nose!"
Which sort of cheesed him off for some reason. He had to retort with:
"Well I'd see to that if I were you!"
Then my friend Mike, Lex's father, hauls out a german brown that outweighed the largest bass I've every caught. Eight freakin' pounds. That was the biggest trout I've ever seen personally.
and the funniest thing about modern times.
The campgrounds have a nearby cell repeater, disguised as a tree, with countershading, solar powered LEDs and the works. I get better cell reception there than I do here at home.
Since I know my oldest daughter works late and gets home late, after everybody else went to sleep in camp I was up text chatting with her. A troupe of coyotes started up about 11 pm with their caterwauling and that was seriously cool and I ws telling her about them.
And then I smelled it. What some people here call the wet puppy smell and what I think smells like somewhere a cat had kittens. Even thumbed off a message to my daughter regarding it because I knew what it was.
So when the bear came into camp my first thought was:
"Hmmm, I'm going to have to tell Von Mazur I just learned the difference between bringing a gun and having a gun."
My shotgun being safely tucked away in my vehicle and all. Yes sir, that bear was plenty safe.
My daughter got all panicky and texted me to
"Be quiet and for God's sake don't poke the bear!"
I texted back:
"I don't see that in the cards, this being the first date and all."
and just then another camper, who had two big dogs on a leash, came by and ran the bear off. Yelled at it and got all threatening.
He had one of those special relationships with his dogs it seems, so when they became alert he got up to see what they were triggering on, though he suspected already. (Instead of let's say, throwing a shoe at them and rolling over in his sleeping bag.)
Gotta love a man intune with his animals like that.
It was so dark he didn't even know I was there sitting in plain sight in a lawn chair until I thanked him for running the bear off.
Well, I'm being called away to prepare for this weekends LAN warfare marathon.
I'll be back.