Tag Archives: bears

alley walk again

alley walking 13 024 alley walking 13 013 alley walking 13 014 alley walking 13 015I haven’t been walking the local alleys recently . I decided to get back to it yesterday , so I hit the road . I mean I hit the alley .alley walking 13 023 alley walking 13 007 alley walking 13 017

There are plenty of places I wouldn’t walk alleys . You know , the places that are dirty and dangerous . I’m not engaged in any social science research requiring me to take risks . I’m not interested in interacting with derelicts , druggies , robbers , thugs , hookers , or wandering hooligans as I stroll along  . The  worst I’ve encountered in Arcadia are madly active  clucking squirrels and an occasional skittering raccoon , their long sharp nails scratching along concrete curbs in hasty retreat . Well , two or three times  lost bears , also , come down from the nearby hills . They  are most likely  looking for a hot tub ( local bears love hot tubs ! ) or dog food  hors d’oeuvres . The bears are usually wise enough , or fastidious enough , though , to stay out of the alleys  and to stick to the roads .bear drawing

One day I’ll , no doubt , come upon a day-dreaming bear  climbing out of one of the alley dumpsters as I pass . That will be a whole new ballgame . Let’s see ……..with a grizzly ( none in CA since the 1800s ) you just curl up , play dead , and pray . But with a black bear you make yourself as big as possible , hold your arms up , back away slowly . Make noise ; but try not to be annoying .  And , I guess , pray .  Oh yeah , and try NOT  to place yourself between the momma bear and her cubs . Oh , and bears , according to Forest Service  signs , don’t like dogs ; so , sorry , if you’re walking a dog……………..

I noticed , in a few spots along our alleys , someone has planted flowers . For me and other alley walkers ? How nice !   Usually ,  the alley  plantings are desperate and lonely hobo plants , able to get by without much care or affection , with food and drink  coming only intermittently .  Some of them show it , clearly barely surviving ,  and others  maintain a respectability  front ; they  manage to hide any outward  effects of destitution or dereliction .alley walking 13 001 alley walking 13 002

Generally , the Arcadia alleys , so far , are still navigable .  Trash barrels and dumpsters still line up every day , waiting for their weekly visit from the grumbling trash truck . Everything seems in order in this alley world . No mess ; no stress . Sure , there’s a little neglect evident here and there . Let’s mark that down as a bonus , a functional trade off , the price of some extra privacy and independence , an  acceptable cost of being left in peace .alley walking 13 025 alley walking 13 026


Filed under uncategorized

Mammoth Lakes


Mammoth Lakes is a small city in the Sierras in California . It’s a big ski resort . Beautiful countryside , trees , lakes, mountains . Ada and I went up there recently and met a couple of friends to share a few days camping .
Mammoth trip aug. 2013 017

Mammoth trip aug. 2013 079We drove another few miles up to Yosemite for the day ; took a short hike around Lake Tenaya , picnicked . The next day we drove up to the ski lift in Mammoth , rode a gondola up a dry hillside to see the view of the valley . Then we took a shuttle down a curving mountain road  to the ranger station at the bottom and hiked the short distance to Devil’s Postpile  National Monument , an impressive rock formation .

Mammoth trip aug. 2013 073

Mammoth trip aug. 2013 047

We couldn’t get a campsite anywhere but in a group camp . All the individual  sites around town were full .  So we were right in the middle of hoards of pre-teens , church groups , and huge family gatherings .

We drove a few miles up the road to a little store that offered showers in the back  , five bucks . I tried to bargain with the girl at the cash register : if I don’t get clean enough can I get a discount ? She said , sure , but if I get too clean then I pay ten bucks . We left it at the original five fee , but , after my shower , she claimed that I was too clean .  I guess that  five bucks was a bargain .

It’s good to get away for a few days . Go to bed about the time the sun goes down ; get up about sunrise . It re-starts your natural clock —- I read that in the paper, by coincidence ,  a few days ago .  And breathe  some fresh air . Well , there’s a fire burning in the mountains somewhere up there and we had a couple of days of a forest full of forest fire smoke , as well as the campfire smoke .

We didn’t see any bears , but they’re up there . Every site had a heavy bear proof metal locker to keep food bear-safe .  Big deal , Ada  told our friends , we have bears in Arcadia quite often . True , but it was a little false bravado on her part . In  the campground the only thing between you and the potential hungry angry lonely bear is a thin piece of stretched  tent nylon and a zippered tent flap .

Mammoth trip aug. 2013 100

Mammoth trip aug. 2013 069joke:

Two guys are deep in the woods camping . One of them takes a pair of new running shoes out of his backpack . The other guy laughs . ” Why did you bring running shoes into the forest ? ” he asks .

” In case there are bears , ” the guy answers .

” You can’t outrun a bear , ” his friend says .

” I don’t have to outrun the bear , ” he  says .bear drawing


Filed under uncategorized