Tag Archives: black bear

Today is for Listening

A cool, crisp day started off with Music and the Spoken Word and some uplifting talks from General Conference over XM radio while we watch the tide come and go in the Alsea River.

God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth to be used in that proportion….but I have 10 fingers and use them all to type. 🙂

Diving Duck
Pied-billed Grebe

I can see out our picture window from the couch.  A perfect place to listen to the spiritual messages.

HawkMissedFish
“Ppplllllllththththththth! Missed Me, you missed me!” says the fishy.

  I saw a hawk fly by with something in his claws about an hour earlier.

Drift Fishing
Drift Fishing

Grandpa or Dad (couldn’t tell from the distance) took the kids for a boat ride.  It was the wrong time of the tide but who goes out in the drift boat without fishing gear.  He had a bobber and bait rigged up but he really didn’t have time to leave it in the water long enough.  (Dads you know the drill.)

Wooley Bugger
Wooley Bugger

The first session of Conference was over so I went for a walk and got some hints on what flies to tie.

Yellow Catepillar
I guess there are yellow wooly buggers too?

After my walk, I moved some rocks around the yard, then took a shower before the afternoon session of Conference.

As we were listening and watching the river I suddenly saw a black bear walking quickly along the other side of the river.  All I could say, as I frantically searched for the camera, was “bear…bear…bear…BEAR…camera…Don!   bear!”

Bear on the Alsea River
Bear on the Alsea River

That’s a BIG bear!

Black Bear on Alsea
Big Black Bear

How exciting!  We’ve had bear sightings and evidence in our campgrounds but I’ve never seen them or gotten a photo.

THEN, Don spotted this on OUR side of the river; on the lot next to us.

Poop-Perspective
Is that really bear poop? Impressive!

I don’t see any berries (or bear bells) but what else could have made this?

Look how big!!!

HHhhhmmmm…I’m re-thinking my walks…where are my bear bells?

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Work-work-break-break

We had a project at Horse Creek Campground this week to install a fee tube (Iron Ranger) and some ballards.  This auger makes short work of digging a hole – especially for us old geezers.  🙂

Day 1
Day 1

Before we got back to Hwy 101 we saw a black bear in the road.  He was a good-sized one too!  Jet black, pretty and quick!  (hence, no pic)

Remember to keep a clean campsite when camping in bear-country.  They look for food by sight as much as by smell.  If they’ve found food in trash, they’ll look for trash again.  If they’ve eaten out of a cooler, they’ll look for a cooler.  They can learn that soda cans have sweet liquid in them too.  They can just puncture the can with their claws or teeth.  And, if you throw your backpack to them so they’ll eat your food instead of you, they’ll look for people with backpacks again.  Report any bear that you see eating human food.

Day 2 was to bring up the rest of the supplies to install into the great holes we dug yesterday.

Day 2
Day 2

One campsite needed ballards to keep the 4-wheelers from making the mud hole deeper and wider every time we smooth it out with the tractor.

Ice Crystals Around Sun - Horse Creek Campground
Ice Crystals Around Sun – Horse Creek Campground

The high fog made it to the ground by early evening on the coast.  No bear today.

We’d seen some little goslings on the Alsea Bay at Eckman Lake, earlier in the week, so I asked Don to stop so I could take some pix.  The tide was different and the geese were nowhere in sight.

Mallards
Mallards

But it looks like a boy’s-day-out for the Mallards.

Sutton Campground and Sutton Creek Trail, near Florence, OR

Since we’ll be managing this area next year we thought we’d camp and explore it.  Sutton Campground is located about 4 miles north of Florence and accessible via Hwy 101.   Campsites are nestled in dense, lush growth typical of coastal Oregon.  Some sites, in loops A and B, overlook Sutton Creek.  Most sites have a feeling of privacy due to the dense forest.  Loops A , B  and D  have sites with electricty.

Sutton Campground Map
Sutton Campground Map

Although you access the campground via the Sutton Beach Rd, there is no easy access to the beach.  Sutton Creek Trail is a system that provides easy to moderate hiking for 2 – 6 miles.  There are some level areas and some rolling hills.  Views include Sutton Creek, dunes, Alder Lake, Dune Lake, Buck Lake, Sutton Lake, Holman Vista and Darlingtonia Trail.

Sutton Creek Trail Map
Sutton Creek Trail Map

Loop C is for tent camping and has about 11 sites.  Loop D is reserveable for groups and contains 11 sites with a common picnic area that has electricity.  2 other campsites in this group have electricity at the site.  These loops are not recommended for trailers or large RVs.

Loop D Group
Loop D Group Picnic

A couple restrooms in Loops C and D look pretty new.  Maybe they upgraded them last summer?

Flush Restrooms
Flush Restrooms throughout the Campground

The sun was shining this morning, and I hadn’t been for a walk in a while, so I decided to walk the trail towards the beach.  It’s 1.25 miles to the beach.  That doesn’t sound too bad.  As I started thinking about the Hosts telling us about the black bears that live in the area, I tried my whistling skills.  hahaha – I’ve had no whistling skills since I was 10 when my braces took them away.  Then I started getting tired and realized how long it had been since I’d exercised regularly.  Maybe I should have had breakfast first?   Maybe I should have brought the cell phone?  I wonder if the walk back would be shorter if I took the road instead of the trail?  I thought I remembered going to Holman Vista last year and being disappointed by not being able to even see the ocean.  Then the trail came close to the road.  I kept thinking, “I’m almost there.  I should just keep going.”  Nope, my legs are too tired.  So I walked back on Sutton Beach Road and Don was waiting for me at the campsite.

Sutton Creek Trail
Sutton Creek Trail

It is a pretty trail.  I wonder if kids play in the creek in the summer?  We drove down to Holman Vista and walked out on the boardwalk to the view point.  It is pretty also but the dunes block your view of the ocean.  I like seeing the ocean.  We saw foot tracks over the dunes so I’m sure you can get to the ocean from there.  Even though the campground is over a mile away, we could hear the waves when we laid in bed last night.

Osprey, Racoons and Bears, Oh MY!

The Forest Service law enforcement officer, Ginger, came through yesterday.  She spent a lot of time talking to people who were leaving coolers out in their sites.  When we (campground managers) talk to the campers it’s like a mom.  They get so used to us that they put us on ‘ignore’.  But, when law enforcement comes in, it’s more like when ‘dad gets home’!  Anyway, the bears are still coming through the campground nightly.  It has been a sow with two young cubs for the last 3 nights – well, early morning between 4 and 7am.  Bears go by sight as much as smell.  If they have found food in a cooler, plastic container or grill once, they will check out every one they see again; even if it doesn’t smell like food.  So, basically, if we aren’t preparing or eating food, all the containers need to go back into the vehicles.

Beyond Hope Marina
Beyond Hope Marina

Hope is the closest town to Sam Owen Campground.  But the Beyond Hope resort community is all around us.  Ginger said there are a lot of new homes in the area.  That means there are fewer places for the bears to turn over rocks and stumps to find food.  We have encroached on their territory so we shouldn’t be surprised when they come knocking on our door.  We were talking to a home owner this week about the bears.  She said she had one of those ‘Freddy Kruger’ moments the night before.  They were upstairs sleeping when the bear came into the downstairs to feed out of her refrigerator for the 4th night in a row.  The bear, for whatever reason, stood up and was scratching on the ceiling!  They don’t own any weapons but their neighbor does and, next time, they’ll call him!  They decided to empty their fridge and leave the door open so the bear could see there was nothing inside.  So, hopefully, he’ll go somewhere else for breakfast.

Our Backyard
Our Backyard

The deer have left our hanging baskets alone and we even see a hummingbird every now and then.  Calliope Hummingbirds are supposed to be prevalent here but we haven’t gotten a close enough look to tell what we’re seeing.  This view is a little better than the Lodgepole view of the Dump Station. 🙂

Sam Owen Campground Beach
Sam Owen Campground Beach

I almost called this ‘Rocky Point’!  That was a campground in northern California, near Chester, where we worked a couple summers.  Sam Owen reminds us a lot of that campground.  As you can see, the beach is more gravel than sand.  But, I’ve heard, that the bottom is sandy after you get out to about hip deep in the water.  I heard a loon this morning!

Osprey
Osprey

The young osprey have fledged now.  They are learning to fish on their own now too.

You don’t normally see racoons during the day but a dog scared one out of a culvert yesterday (no camera with me).  It was a pretty good sized racoon!  A couple nights ago, when a bear ate the food out of a camper’s cooler, the Host asked if it could have been a racoon instead of a bear.  The lady showed him the teeth marks in the cooler and the scat and they decided that it was either a 300 lb bear or 300 lb racoon…it didn’t much matter which.  We just knew we didn’t want him back.

Hidden Picture - Can you find the fawn?
Hidden Picture - Can you find the fawn?

Sam Owen Campground, Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

This is a Forest Service campground near Hope, Idaho.  It’s actually nearer to the “Beyond Hope” resort community.  So, we like to think that we are ‘beyond Hope’.   The campground is on the north shore of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond-o-ray).  The words “Pend Oreille” are French for an ear-hanging or pendant. Ear pendants were characteristic of the Kalispell tribe who lived in this area (says one explanation).  The island is an ancient burial ground.  Besides Crater Lake, in Oregon, Lake Pend Oreille is the largest and deepest lake in the north west.  Our campground is dense with Ponderosa pines and tall cedar trees.  There are VERY few insects here. (YEA!)  We’ve heard the cedar trees keep the insects down?

Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille

We were asked to move here to take over for the Area Manager who has taken ill and needs to leave.  You’d have thought it was a hostile take-over though!  We were not treated badly but there were a lot of hurt feelings and it was a challenge to dodge bullets at times.  Collateral damage was losing 2 additional couples who had been here for 4+ years.  We were very sorry to see all of them go, especially under the circumstances.  Anyway, the drama is over and we were able to keep a great couple who is taking care of the Day Use Area.  Day Use is a challenge for me and they love it so, right now, I worship them!   We were able to find 2 great couples to replace the ones we lost.  Timing could not have been more perfect.  The new people arrived the same day the others left.  We’ve been here for two weeks now and the new couples for almost a week.  We’re still learning about the area but things are smoothing out nicely in the campground.  We couldn’t have found more perfect people, to step in, in the middle of the season!  We now have another great team to run this little piece of heaven in the Idaho Panhandle.  Every time I talk to a camper (mostly Canadian) they tell me of how many years their families have been coming here.  Today’s record was a woman who’d been coming here for 35 years and guessed her mother started coming here 50 years ago.  They rarely miss a year and lots are on their 3rd generation.  Here’s some evidence of all the fun:

Rock Creations
Rock Creations

Upon arrival at Sam Owen Campground we heard the bear report.  This area had a long, wet, cold spring that delayed the huckleberries.  A bear’s gotta eat though!  So this guy wandered into the campground to get some easy pickin’s.  The date/time on the photo is correct.  He was here in broad daylight and he wasn’t scared off by loud noise.  A couple days later a sow and cub also came into the campground and found something to eat.  We notified Fish and Game and they brought in a trap.   Thanks, Jay and Penny, for the pic!

Black Bear in Sam Owen Campground

Now we’re under a Food Closure Order by the Forest Service.  That means “no unattended food or garbage outside a hard-sided vehicle”.