23 February 2012

"Oh My Word!"

The title describes the afternoon and evening perfectly!

What a day!  Last night was our last Deer Hair fly tying class taught by Diane Blair.  Diane taught the class to pass along Mike Verduin's tying recipes, tips, and just sound advice while working with deer hair.  I know I spend an inordinate amount of time creating one Bass Bug, but I expect to fish with them, and I expect these flies to catch fish.

I rigged my wonderful Nikon camera to my float tube's cross bar and shot images and videos of all three flies.  The Ball Joint Popper pushed a lot of water and fished the longest before becoming too water logged.  I had a Largemouth Bass on (didn't get this on video because the battery was dead), until I hit a patch of grass and lost the fish.  The Frog Slider gave me two what I call "Hit 'n Spit" grabs, and Mike's Mouse caught me another Largemouth Bass.  Oh my word! my tyed flies really worked; they caught fish!

Really enjoying geocaching, I decided to seek out one of the more difficult caches in the park.  Granted, it  was 7:30 p.m., but I have a good flashlight, and night caching is oh so tres chic.  I gathered all my cache accoutrements, went back and retrieved my hiking staff, and grabbed Ovechkin (a Flat Stanley-esque stuffed penguin--you have to be a hockey fan to get the irony of a Penguin named Ovechkin--that goes everywhere with me).

Now, I think it is important to convey, I handle things relatively calmly, but not nearly as calmly as Cody.  I rarely scream or jump up and down when I catch a fish.  I calmly enjoy a great sunset or a star-studded night sky.  I do smile rather easily and laugh often, as evidenced by a plethora of lines etched all in my face, but for the most part, I am even keel and usually quite happy.

I set off down the well-laid out and marked Park trail.  About 20 feet down the trail, I was checking out my Cache Sense App, reading the GPSr, when I heard a distinctively clear, low and long growl.  Uh, I stopped dead in my tracks.  I had an adrenaline rush only a junkie could understand.  Instant panic and fear gripped me, then rapid brain overload, and painful heart beating in my chest.  Oh my word, I was scared!  I flashed the light in the direction I heard the growl; no eyes reflected back.  I glanced behind me and began walking slowly backwards.  I talked loudly to Ovechkin.  I clacked my staff loudly and waved it in the air and hit it against the trees.  One of our Read Right books is The Wild Side:  Angry Animals.  One of the stories in this Henry Billings anthology is about when bobcats attack humans.  I replayed that story in my mind, preparing what to do when it pounced on me.  Unfortunately, having 911 ready to push wasn't going to matter, because where I was, no cellular service existed, and while the Park Superintendent lives on the grounds, I was my only help.  I sang We All Live in a Yellow Submarine (a song my nephew got stuck in my head this past weekend), and then when I couldn't remember any more, I sang O Happy Day (yes, I know, something was really wrong with me).  To pre-program 911, I had to stop walking.  Just as soon as I did, that bobcat growled again, not as low, not as long, and not as loud, but it let me know I was still trespassing.  Again, I flashed my light all around and still saw no eye reflections.  I heard no snapping twigs, no soft thudding on the ground, so I took these as all good signs.  I was still feeling fear, though, when it growled the third time.  I reached the pavement and walked very loudly, then sprinted the last 15 feet to my car, where the keys were locked in requiring me to rationally punch my code on the keypad.  I quickly unlocked the car, shoved my stuff inside, and leapt in the driver's seat.  I locked the doors, which sounds totally ludicrous now, especially since that bobcat wasn't opening the car door.

I know, I used bear encounter tactics to deal with this bobcat encounter, but it was what I thought at the time.  Once safely nestled in my car and calming my fears, I drove around to the trailhead, flashed my high beams down the trail to see if I could see eye reflections, which I did not.  I even thought about getting out and walking back down the trail to see if the bobcat would growl again so I could record it, but I then came to my senses and decided it was ludicrously stupid to tempt fate, so I didn't get out.  I texted Cody, stopped by Mickey Ds, and drove home.  What a day!  Oh my word!


  1. How funny! Are you sure it was a bobcat? It was probably BigFoot!!! Lol! Just sayin.....

  2. Ooohhh, a Saskwatch encounter. I could be famous for that! (-:

  3. Something growling in the dark can be interesting. I have almost stepped on bobcats a couple of times at night and found that interesting since I was fishing. They ran the other was much faster then I did the opposite.

    They are aggressive sometimes if they thing they have a easy meal targeted; like when a predator hunter or turkey hunter is calling and they land on them by mistake. Usually though they are going to avoid adult humans. They live longer that way.



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