Back From the Beyond, a summery summary


Another summer in the woods blurs into my jumbled memories of bears and bugs, swamps and swearing. If there could be such thing as a good year, I would claim that I had it. The wasp population crashed this spring, the weather was wild but not extreme, the bugs were bad but not impossible. Thinking back it feels like I spent most of the summer folded into the front seat of an ASTAr helicopter with a map in my lap navigating to an endless series of clearcuts. I think I audited a couple hundred which means lots of time flying around trying to make the world match my maps and trying to do it as fast as possible since the helicopter costs $1500/ hour. The wood from the blocks is trucked out in winter over the frozen muskeg so summer travel, of any appreciable distance is by helicopter only

When I wasn’t flying though I saw great quantities of the earth, hidden jewels secreted away from any signs of man. Places that I will be the first and last eyes to glance upon. I watched a pack of wolves take down and devour a deer. A chilling spectacle for both eyes and ears as the deer let loose a scream that I shall never forget. Bears in quantity this year but luckily for me, all healthy and well fed. I was stalked one morning by a black bear. It followed about 5M behind me for a disturbing amount of time but its demeanor was so non-aggressive that I was strangely calm until it finally left me alone. Another bear I caught sneaking up on me like a cat, a behavior I haven’t seen before and a very alarming incident, but when I went into “bear scare” mode (screaming and banging sticks to the ground) it lumbered off. The other 120 bears I ran into this summer rambled off showing various degrees of concern towards me.

Suzanne came out from Calgary to visit when I was working in Kananaskis. She spent the day with me although she didn’t really get a look at at what I usually do. But it broke up the summer nicely to have a short visit. Perhaps she was the good luck charm that held the usual disasters at bay!

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5 Responses to Back From the Beyond, a summery summary

  1. It all sounds quite inspiring. I have to say, I’ve had a few run-ins with bears and I’ve never been able to maintain much calm.I’m glad to find that you have escaped major physical incident this year. I can’t recall the last time you said that.

  2. when they are part of your daily experience, you get used to the ones that are minding their own business.

  3. rainswept says:

    I’m glad to find that you have escaped major physical incident this year. I can’t recall the last time you said that.Yeah, I miss that first rueful headshake of summer…

  4. I’ve been injured twice in 17 years, you guys make it sound like a slaughterhouse!

  5. … twice… really? Hmm!?! Don’t get your diaper in a knot. If you need me to change it for you, you know where to find me.

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