February 14, 2005
This story was written by Art Boudreau. Art is 47 years old and he was born in Nova Scotia. He started work at a young age in fishing, trapping and construction. He moved to BC 25 years ago. Art started fishing, then worked in a warehouse. He then lived on the streets and moved to a beach. Then he went tree planting on the West Coast and the interior of BC. He moved to Nelson, built a cabin in the woods, and lived there for three years. Then he moved back to the coast and lived in a cabin on the beach. He met his wife and moved in to town. He got a job in a tree nursery that grew nine million seedlings a year. Then he had a work accident and injured his leg. He could not work, so WCB would not pay him unless he went to school and learned to read and write. Art is happily married with a lovely wife and three lovely girls.
One day I went for a two-day trek in the alpine meadows of B.C. The sky was clear and blue. Early that first morning I walked up an animal trail through the forest, along a dry creek bed, around swamps, and across rivers. I stopped along the way to marvel over the beauty of what most humans would never experience in their lives. I came upon a large stand of old growth forest.
I stopped and gazed at the size of those giant trees. I felt small as I looked up to the sky to the top of those giants. As I walked into that stand of giants, time stood still. It was like something out of a fairy tale. Those giants groaned and creaked as if to ask, "Who is walking amongst us"? I stopped and looked up at them waving in the wind. Then I lay down on the forest floor. The moss was so thick and soft I fell asleep to the sound of small birds singing songs. I awoke to the sound of a very large raven calling out, "Wake up". I sat up and that big old raven was sitting on a moss covered branch, five feet away. He looked me straight in the eyes. He was beautiful. He sat and gazed at me, as I ate some trail mix and cleared my head.
When I got up to start walking, that big old raven flew around me like a shadow. Then he would fly ahead under the canopy of those giant trees and land on the moss covered dead trees on the forest floor and call to me like a guide. This went on for three hours. When I came out of the forest, he flew around and over me, like he was saying good-by for now. Then I said, "See you when I get back."
It would take about two hours to reach the meadow. I could smell the wild flowers and could hear the marmots whistle that danger was at hand. I could see a moose in a swamp eating roots. A black bear stood to have a good look at me from a small stand of trees. When I reached the top of a small hill, there was the meadow covered with wild flowers of all colours. The air had a sweet smell and the lake was as blue as the sky. I sat and gazed over the meadow and looked up to the mountains. I dreamed about what it would have looked like a hundred years ago. It would have been just as amazing back then as it is now. If there was somewhere on this planet that we could call heaven, this would be it.
I had to make camp soon. As I walked down to a crop of rocks down by the lake, ground squirrels and marmots let out calls of danger. As I scouted the rock crop for a good spot to make camp, I could see a small creek running beside the crop. It would be good for water. I found a good spot in between some large rocks. I put up a tarp over where I would sleep. Then I would have to gather some firewood for the night. I grabbed some rocks for the fire pit. My camp was ready. Then it was time to adventure into the meadow. I must keep a keen eye for bears, I told myself. There were lots of animal trails and droppings. I left all my food at camp. I did not want any bears to think I was a good meal.
I walked down to the lake. There was a pair of loons swimming along the lakeshore. I sat on a rock and gazed out onto the lake for half an hour. Then I walked to the far end of the lake. There was a swamp; this would be a good place to see some large animals. I found a little knoll where I sat by a rock in the grass, so I could see the swamp. I kept a close eye. A half hour passed then I heard something. One very large moose came running out of the swamp. Something was wrong for that moose to be running. Then something else came out; it was a very big grizzly bear. He stopped and looked around.
I did not move and he could not see me. Then the grizzly started to walk up the knoll. He was big. He was up wind from me, so he could not smell me. He was getting a little too close, but where would I go? So I sat and looked. When he was about ten feet from me, I could smell him. The bear smelled like a really bad, dirty, wet dog or something like that. He stopped and looked around. He was big. Then he turned and walked down the knoll, along the lake, across the meadow, and then he was gone.
Then I started to walk back to camp. The meadow was quiet. I looked over the lake it was so nice. When I got back to camp, I thought how lucky I was that the big old smelly grizzly did not come ten feet more up that knoll. Well it was time to make a fire, have a coffee and a good cigar, before eating some beans and trail mix. After I ate, I went to the creek to wash. I could hear something in a small stand of trees. To my surprise, it was pack of wolves after a small deer. It got very noisy as they caught that poor little deer. I tried to see how many wolves were there. I could see eight or nine. It was getting dark so I went back to my camp to put more wood on the fire and have a good sleep. As I lay looking at the stars, I was thinking of how lucky I was to experience some of this planet's most beautiful areas. And to think, people in the city will never see this beauty. As the fire died, I dozed off to the sound of mice playing in the dark. Then I woke to something bigger than the mice. I grabbed my flashlight, and looked around. I could see eyes looking at me. It was that pack of wolves walking around my camp. The hair on my body stood up when one of them howled. As they walked back and forward in front of my lean-to, I relaxed and started to talk to that pack of wolves. Then I went back to sleep.
In the morning, I made a fire and made some cowboy coffee and beans. The two loons sang lowed. It rang though the meadow. By the time I ate and cleaned up camp it was time to go back down the mountain. As I walked along a trail,. I had to keep a keen eye for bears. I did not want to run into that big old grizzly again. As I walked I could see a fox after squirrels, marmots and mice. I sat on a rock and watched him jump from hole to hole after those little animals and I laugh at that little fox for a good half hour. Then he stopped playing, and stood on his back legs and looked to the south. That fox turned and run to a small stand of trees. I looked to the south, I was not happy at what I could see coming over the knoll. It Was that grizzly. "What to do? I was down wind from him so he could not smell me. But if he comes up the trail that I was on he will smell me. Then I walked up to a crop of rocks and started to jump from rock to rock up to some smell trees about four hundred yards from the trail watch that bear slowly work his way up the trail. He would stop and turn over rocks looking for food when he came to where he could smell me on the trail that big old grizzly stood on his back legs and looked around it was amazing to watch he went back to turning over rocks but he would keep looking back. So I sat for about one hour before he was far enough that I felt safe to keep walking.
I had to hurry I was about and hour or two behind I did not want to get caught in the dark. As I came to those giant trees that big raven came to see me. I looked up at him and said no time to talk must keep going it will be dark so. I hurried thought the old forest the raven came with me. When I came out I stopped and put some trail mix on a rock for the raven. Then I hurried down the hill, across two rivers to a swamp, I had to go around there was a moose eating roots he run when he seen me coming I did not stop to look two more swamps one river and three creeks to go and ten minuets and the truck with a nice bottle of J.D. and a soft bed to sleep on it was a grand trek to the meadow.