The Quiet share 8
Hi again all who have gathered and a warm welcome to all who are new. The evening has a new chill about it with the fresh snow which has come down today. So quickly find your way inside and settle in close. The fire is warm and Quigley could us some cuddling time.
Welcome to Chapter seven of The Quiet. It has been a real pleasure to put this together and I thank anyone in advance for visiting the Amazon link and your support. You are a blessing so thank you.
Lets see where Tannis and I end up today as we again step out into the peace and solitude of the Yukon wilderness and continue the adventure.
You would hardly know there is another lake after LY4. At the south end there is only a small gap of about 40 inches with a small babbling brook. LY5 drains back into LY4. LY5 is about four feet higher and trickles the better part of the year. The shallow beaver dam located here controls the flow of the brook.
To the west I can see a great cavernous wound on the side of the mountain where a rock slide took place. Some rocks the size of semi-trailer trucks have come down. The lake itself is about three miles long and about a mile wide. In places in the centre there are boulders showing on the surface. It’s amazing when you think of the power that must have been generated during that slide.
It is interesting to wander through the water because it is crystal clear and in some places I can see 25 feet below. I can see there are some huge rocks down there.
It is not a friendly lake to fish, as it’s easy to snag your line. I have left many hooks in these waters. Once again we are in lake trout country and some fish in this lake can reach as much as 30-35 lbs.
It would be interesting to have a picture of me standing out in the middle of the lake. I was standing on a rock a few inches below the surface, and it would have appeared as though I was walking on water.
The place we are going to stay tonight is special, as many are. I found it a few years ago. It is basically a room that faces the lake. Long ago three large boulders had fallen forming an area about 10 feet by 10 feet. Another large boulder landed perfectly on top. Boulders this size can be a bit intimidating, but after so many years they become stable. That’s why I have named the place Intimidation Hideaway.
I have fashioned a raised bed frame lashed with leather thongs, complete with cross members to hold a pile of fresh pine boughs. It is one of the best wilderness beds I have slept on. I can build a fire just outside the roof and the reflection from the fire heats the area.
It is nearly noon and time to make lunch. The last batch of bannock, a can of beans and fresh fish are on the menu today. The lake trout here have red meat, almost like fresh salmon. One cast and our lunch is heading for the pan. Tannis is closing the gap already so she can have first dibs on the food. All this dog thinks of is handouts!
With everything cleaned up it is time to explore again. I love climbing these monster rocks. I have found some interesting formations here and some fossils as well with fern type impressions. Colors vary a bit, but are usually a deep gray/blue. There are also seams of quartz crystal. They are pure white and some are almost clear.
It will likely take most of the day to explore. Tannis has a hard time on this terrain, always needing a lift, which will be hard today as she ate most of my lunch.
From this vantage point I can see for miles. Below I see the full extent of LY5, LY4 and parts of LY3. To the east are miles of shale ridges that form the base of the mountains. Off in the distance another slide has taken place and the rocks are scattered for a mile or more. I have seen mountain sheep here in this area, and it is interesting to watch them climb these cliffs. They are very sure footed, even when spooked by a noisy dog.
Tannis is all but asleep from exhaustion as I sit looking at the terrain below. I cannot help but wonder what the years will do to her; she is already turning white around the mouth. Cockers are known to have hip problems. You’d never know it by looking at Tannis, although the last few years I have watched her mature and slow down in the process. I hate to think of the day I lose her or have to put her down.
The air has turned cool because the mountain is blocking the sun. It is nearly 5 o’clock and Tannis has started to shiver. I know it is getting late so it’s time to head down again. As we descend Tannis reminds me each time she needs a lift with a sharp but happy bark. It is a slow decent and it will probably take us until 8 to reach camp. We have to settle in early tonight and get some much-needed rest because it will take us a full day to get back to the van.
I see movement far off to the east. Just near the water’s edge are six wolves. There is an alpha male and three females with two smaller wolves. I would say they are year-old pups.
I watch them for a long while through the binoculars. They are directly across from the camp and they are cautious. I will sleep lightly tonight anyway with Tannis around. I might as well let them know there is someone around. I let out a long loud whistle. They freeze and search to see where the sound is coming from as it echoes back forth across the rock face.
The two pups pause briefly and then start to play again. Mom, like all moms that sense danger, shows her teeth, and they stop and sit with ears sheepishly back. Dad and the other two females are still scanning the opposite shore. Another loud whistle and they jump and become restless. When I give one more whistle, they take off to the east in single file at a steady gait. A gait they can carry for hours on end as they travel many miles a day in search of food. Once they have a kill they stay with it till it is all gone.
We arrive at camp at 9 pm and we need to rest. It has been a hard climb up the mountain and back down again. Tannis is so tired it seems she has been dragging her tongue on the rocks most of the way down. Maybe she will sleep through the night.
Supper will be a wilderness buffet of wild berries, leftover fish, hibiscus tea and some leftover bannock. This is simple fare in a land of plenty, but my whole body is aching after the day of climbing. Laughing at Tannis earlier has come back to haunt me.
The fire feels wonderful as I survey the evening sky. In this land it’s hard to tell when evening arrives and night begins.
With a sheer rock wall behind us and the enclosure that nature has provided, I feel as though it is evening. The glow from the fire casts dancing light throughout. Tannis has already curled up in the bed I made her a few years ago. Her eyes are about half open because she still feels the need to protect.
The landscape to the west has started to cast some long shadows and change to a golden yellow hue. I relish the thought of the unknown that lies before me. I wonder where the wolf family has settled as I hear a forlorn cry far off in the distance. I call back and get an answer; I feel a part of this immense place, even though it is but a moment.
I wish everyone could find a way to be completely alone with their thoughts and nature, though they must be cautious; this land is not for the faint hearted.
Fear is the greatest enemy one can have out here. Terror can and will grip you if you allow it. There have been times when fear has overwhelmed me, causing confusion and panic, placing me in grave danger, but I have used my skills and faith to fight it. The best, most effective antidote is simply to stop, think and reflect on what I am afraid of. Being lost is the greatest fear that I have faced.
I recall once when I was hunting moose, I took a shot and knew I had hit the animal high in the neck, as I saw it flinch. The moose bolted and I set out after it. It was late in the day, foggy and a very bad idea. I followed a few blood spatters in the snow: a trail to nowhere that led me on a never-ending chase of that elusive moose. His path led me deeper and deeper into almost impregnable underbrush. I will never understand how an animal that size can navigate through such thick brush.
Nightfall arrived before I realized I was hopelessly lost. I had no reference point to take bearings from and it was getting cold. I was extremely sweaty and that was a deadly combination. Fear has a way of slowly creeping in on anyone in a situation like this. All the ‘what ifs’ come into play in my mind.
I was faced with having to spend the night, as I had no idea where the truck was. This was one of those times that required me to think deeply on my situation, to stop and evaluate everything. First of all, fire was essential, but I was completely unprepared, with only my rifle, a hunting knife and a second knife that had several handy tools built in. So many attachments, except for the one I needed. A match to start a fire.
How then could I manage it? I had some toilet paper that was dry. At least I was prepared for something. I had a gun and bullets and inside the bullets was gunpowder.
With some effort I was able to remove the slug of the bullet leaving the casing intact, something I would not recommend, since it is highly unsafe. I created a nest with toilet paper and gunpowder and plenty of small twigs. Then I loaded the casing back into the gun with the primer still intact and held it a few inches away, firing a shot into the ground. That was all it took. The gunpowder exploded and within minutes I had a fire. “Rather clever,” I thought at the time.
The fear came later during the night. I was worried about the cold, the animals nearby and all the noises coming from all directions. A snapping twig was the sound that started a night of insane panic. In my mind, the hunter had become the hunted.
One thing about fire is that when you have it, you are never really alone; it can bring both comfort and peace knowing you are not completely alone. . Still, there was little sleep to be had that night. Around 1 in the morning came te high winds and heavy snowfall. The rudimentary shelter I had made earlier afforded me little comfort but at least I had some cover.
Morning was a welcome sight. The first thing I did was get a bearing with my compass. A huge snag, a dead tree stood a few hundred yards to the east. Heavy snow had fallen that night and my tracks were all but filled in so it was very hard to follow my foot prints back out again.
After several hours of losing and finding the trail I was able to find the truck. I got in and got the truck running in an attempt to warm up, and I could not help but laugh out loud.
Just a few hundred feet away was that same dead tree. That moose had led me in one large circle. As far as I know he managed to survive with a small wound that did not bring him down. He was likely standing laughing at me as well. So the greatest lesson to be learned is be prepared wit all the survival gear you will need when you leave the comfort of a vehicle. After that adventure I created and emergency kit with a small circular candy tin. Inside was every conceivable item I could need. I had the tools I would need on the event this happened again. Fishing line, hooks, high energy carbohydrates, matches, emergency blanket, candles, tea, a few Tylenol and just about anything else you can think of. Once inside seal the lid with wax to keep the moisture out should you tumble into some water. Keeping your head in an emergency can be the greatest help you may find when you think of just how alone you are.
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