Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Bigfooting

To me, Labor Day is always about returning to work.  (In fact, that's how I remember the name of the holiday at all.)  I seem to always have this three-day weekend as the last three days of real summer vacation before a new group of younglings come knocking on my classroom door.  

Since the metaphoric whole world seems to take to the hills on this special occasion for their own special family campouts, I tend to stay closer to home taking care of last minute things for the classroom or just barbecuing with friends.  I prefer to leave the crowds to themselves.

This year, I got an invitation from my regular field partner and friend of the 'squatch, Craig Flipy, to accompany him and a group of his friends on a camping trip.  Yes, camping.  Not bigfooting, but camping.  How novel.  Of course I accepted.  

I don't actually camp much, and I'm not even really sure how to do that anymore.  I suppose it's just bigfooting without the gear and stuff.  Would I be allowed to do calls, I wonder?

As the date grew closer, individuals hopped on the camping train, and several fell off.  When it came right down to it, we were left with only four of us: Craig and Barney (two of my regular bigfooting bros), newcomer Guy Edwards from the excellent bigfoot blog Bigfoot Lunch Club, and me.

Barney, Craig, and Guy on a sandbar looking for interesting prints.

Suddenly, this camping trip had turned into a bigfooting trip.  Thank goodness.  It felt so awkward!

We headed out to Mt. Hood National Forest to see if we could drum up some bigfooty action.  Though Guy is well-versed in the cultural side of the bigfoot thing, he had never really done any field work before.  He was more than happy to tag along, watch, and ask questions.  He told me more than once that he hadn't done anything like this since he was a kid, which was a nice thing for me to hear.  I hope to hold on to my youthful attitude as long as I can, and I believe that bigfooting keeps me young.  It is a pleasure to share it with others.

The view from Sunday's camp.

No bigfoot action was noted over the course of our two nights in the field, though we did some serious scouting and had a great time.  We found two night's worth of excellent campsites with deep ravines, thick with signs of life.  Both bear and cougar were tracked on the river bottoms and steep canyon walls.  The ominous grey clouds danced on the ridges to the east and never gave us the expected rain.  It was a great weekend.

Black bear print.

Guy was also treated to his first real foray into bushwhacking, and what better species to get him used to going through than manzanita?  He noted to me on the drive home that this was a highlight of the trip.  I was relieved to hear that.  I knew he would either love it or hate it.  

To spare you the details of a relatively uneventful trip, I'll just show you some nice pictures from our adventure.  Enjoy!

The meeting of two creeks.

Guy Edwards looking coolly heroic.

This creek had a high sulfur content, judging from the color and smell.

Crain Flipy dozing in the fading light.

Big Mike won't give up his dead mouse without a fight.

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