Encounter in the Wilderness


Yesterday was a beautiful day in Orofino. The clouds parted and produced a glistening sun that burst through and provided relief from a long winter. The temperature was perfect for our new favorite pastime, pulling weeds.

It baffles me that weeds grow like weeds, and everything else that provides color or sustenance is like Russian roulette at best. You can pull weeds and then another group of the unwanted bastards will rear their ugly heads. It’s truly a never ending battle, especially if you choose not to use harmful chemicals.

I’ve found that the chemicals are more harmful to humans then the very weeds they’re supposed to kill. It seems everything else either dies because of too much water, not enough water, too much sun, not enough sun… come on, give me a green thumb and I will plant like there’s no tomorrow.

Anyway, after I pulled the weeds around the pond I was inclined to further torture myself by going on a bike ride. In all fairness I do have an E bike, but you still need to pedal to get from point A to point B.

I purchased this bike when it was still snowing around this area of Orofino. The first time I rode the bike I went exactly twelve feet before I drove it off the driveway and down an embankment. This led to multiple bruises, including my pride of course. On a side bar I had already fallen off a ladder and had broken eight ribs.

What I’m trying to tell you is that I was accustomed to falling. The next time I rode the bike (in the snow), I went onto Tie Creek road to lot ten and then collapsed from exhaustion. Keep in mind we live on lot fourteen.

On the ride back I was gaining speed down this uneven part of the road. That is when I lost control and toppled sideways, feeling the full weight of the bike and the jagged gravel cutting into my leg.

I was a bloody mess, but felt even more determined to conquer this Tie Creek road. So, each time I rode, minus the snow, I was compelled to proceed farther towards the main gate. First it was lot nine, then seven, then two, and finally lot one.

I was within a short distance from my goal of the main gate. Yesterday, after pulling those bastard weeds I felt strong enough to go on a sojourn to the main gate. I brought my water, gun, and wore my space helmet… I was ready for this challenge.

My legs were a little stiff but I was determined not to stop until I reached the main gate. I passed each lot with a growing confidence, very much like a Navy Seal nearing the end of hell week…but different.

The beauty of this ride is captivating. The many trees, wildflowers, and deer, framed in a picture with the backdrop of the lake. It was certainly distracting enough to take my mind off of the pain.

As I rounded the corner past lot one, I felt the exhilaration that comes with potentially reaching this goal. The gate was within sight, and there it was, I made it.

As I sat on the rock by the gate I had an uneasy feeling that someone or something was peering at me. Being out in the middle of nowhere it could only be one thing or another. It was either a serial killer or a wild animal.

I opted for choice number two. So, I tapped my gun to make sure it was there. Then I looked around, nothing in sight. I had just read a story about two twins that were searching for mushrooms and were accosted by a mountain lion.

The mountain lion had attacked and eventually killed one of the twins. They weren’t carrying a gun, which in the wilderness, is a critical mistake.

I cautiously looked from side to side as my heart beat faster.  Now there was a drop of sweat forming on my brow. I slowly eased away from the rock I was sitting on. As I gazed upward I viewed a mountain lion peering down on me, maybe fifteen feet away.

His eyes were focused on me, possibly looking for lunch. I drew my gun and stared at this vicious beast as he prepared to leap down and attack me. It was only a moment before he leapt from his perch, heading straight for me.

All my instincts kicked in as I fired my Glock 19, aiming at his head. The shot missed and he was upon me in a moment. The struggle for life was a battle I hadn’t faced before.

He tore into my left arm as I used all my strength to separate from this 140 pound muscled creature. I gained just enough distance to get a shot off that hit it’s mark. The beast staggered, slightly wounded, and took off into the brush. I guess he  realized that this prey wasn’t like anything he had encountered before.

I was injured but could still ride my bike. I eventually made it back home, called 911 and was medevacked by helicopter to the safety of the local hospital. The moral of the story is… I need a bigger gun!