I want to start out by saying "thank you" to all of you who wished me well. I am feeling somewhat better, but I am still sick, so I am breaking down and taking antibiotics... something I have not done in over six years. I also want to apologize for the large amount of grammatical errors in my previous post. Good grief! I must have been really out of it...lol!!!
Despite not feeling the greatest, I did have a wonderful weekend, and was able to spend a lot of time with family, friends, and out on the trail with Amber, Bo, and Waska. On Friday morning, Amber and I decided to take our two hairy boys for a nice long ride down to one of the local creeks, which originate from a large glacial river (we ended up riding to this river on Sunday, and I will post about it later). We chose the creek ride, because there is really nothing quite as beautiful as riding in the fall, and we knew that we would see our fair share of autumn foliage, in all of its glory, both on the trail down, and then again on a different trail back up. What we didn't count on was this...bear traffic. (Note: These are NOT pictures that I took of the tracks, because there was no way that I was going to get off of my horse. These are just images from the Internet that show you what we saw)Remember how I have said that it is hunting season around here? Well near the start of our ride, just as we were entering into some deep, dark, woods, we were accosted by the smell of rotting meat, because there happened to be several "gut" piles (piles of entrails, and misc. body parts, such as legs and spinal columns), that had been dumped near the entrance, and also further down along, the trail. Let me just interject here that domesticated horses are really quite amazing, because I am sure that in the wild, there is absolutely no way that a herd of horses would go near rotting carcasses, mainly because of what usually lurks around them: predators!Both Bo and Waska have been near gut piles/carcasses before, so we couldn't figure out what was making them so nervous as they trotted, ears pricked and quick to startle, along the trail. That is until I looked down in the mud and noticed the tracks of at least three different bears, ranging from about yearling to large adult, crisscrossing the path in several locations. They were fresh tracks too, as it had just rained the day before. We stopped for a moment so I could point them out to Amber, who had never seen one, and then we continued to trot (while keeping a tight rein!) our way out of the woods, and we didn't stop until we were on a different trail. Some of you know this, and some of you don't, but I have encountered a bear on horseback before, and I do not wish to do so again. It was definitely not my idea of a good time...lol!!
Let me tell you, the nice, wide, open, space under the power lines never looked so inviting, but we saw something unusual out there too. If you don't know me, you might think from reading up above, that I am terrified of bears, and that we never see sign of them on the trail...not true. I have a healthy respect for bears (it is cougars that I am terrified of!), and we see bear scat all over the trails around here, but not bear scat that looks like apple pie...out in the middle of nowhere...which is what we saw out under the power lines. My first thought was that someone was baiting them, which is illegal, and we did find a big pile of apples that had been dumped about one mile SE of the scat, on a different trail, and on our way home. The horses were spooky over there too, and they didn't even bat an eye at the mound of apples. I think that someone left them out to bait the deer, but the bear are eating them as well. Not Bo and Waska!! They hightailed it out of there, and we let them. We have heard from the local gas station that the bears have been unusually aggressive, due to the rotten berry harvest this summer, and that they have been harassing hikers, so we figured that we better just stay away from their food sources for a while, especially since the food sources that we saw were man-made!(I wanted to post the above picture just so my hubby could see that Amber and I were wearing our orange vests. Of course, he can't see me, so he'll have to take my word on it...lol!!!)
Despite running into more bear sign that we cared too, we had a great ride, and Bo was definitely raring to go, as I hoped he would be after having almost two weeks off.
Happy trails to you, and watch out for those bears...lol!!!!