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Without tenses

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handwriter

handwriter

Norway

February 3, 2014

Once while hiking alone, high up in a South-American country’s mountain*, I had hiked all day—longer into the evening than usual before making camp—and was tired enough that all I wanted to do was set up my tent and go to sleep.  I knew that I was in “cougar” country, but had no fear of an encounter in that “cougar prey recognition is a learned behavior and these animals do not “generally” recognize humans as prey”. 

I had thought to make a fire—of which I normally do when hiking in the “wilds”—but as I said, I was tired and night was closing in very rapidly—it was dark just moments after I had closed the flaps to my tent, so I wouldn’t have had much time to gather wood for a fire; get it started and to pitch a secure tent.

Again, having been very tired—having closed more than maybe 30 km walking down a very steep, entangled, and rocky dry riverbed with a 13.6 kg backpack (having been in a hurry to stay ahead of a snow storm that was pressing down the hill after me) I was physically exhausted and only wanted to sleep.

It was maybe an hour or so into my sleep when an all too familiar sound of a coyote cut into my dreams.  I could tell that the coyote was on the path that I had just left to make camp—I being maybe 6 meters from off my path—I never sleep on paths or trails that I have been travelling. 

Anyway, I howled back at the animal only to let it know that I knew that it was there and that I wasn’t a little human child—and to please leave me be.   I guess that the animal had gotten the message, for it must have gone away, for I didn’t hear from it again.

I lay there in my sack listing for maybe 10 minutes for the animal to possibly return—when I heard nothing, I had thought to go on back to sleep, but that coyote had me worried enough to crawl on out of my sack and get to setting up a fire.  To my bad luck, my flashlight wouldn’t work—I must have hit it on a rock or something—who knew.

Anyway, the night was just that—night—good and dark.  I couldn’t see anything, and not wanting to take the chance of tripping over anything, I felt my way around the ground on hands and knees—feeling for dry leaves or grass to get a fire started, so that I could possibly see out further for some larger branches or logs to add to my fire.

After some crawling around and pricked fingers, I finally was able to get a small fire going.  Using the light of the fire, I went out a little further from camp in search of some larger fuel (wood).  Of a sudden, I heard it!  It was the sound of maybe a long, heavy, and hollow plastic tubing being scraped across a tiled floor—a long, and raspy hiss—the hiss of a cougar, puma, mountain lion, or whatever.

I knew then that I was not alone, and that possibly I was in trouble—I certainly would have been less secure had I not had that fire going.

That cat was maybe no more than 15 meters or so from me.  I couldn’t see it through the darkness, but I knew that it was there—crouching and gaging.

I had figured that maybe I was in its path to its food or maybe even its family.  For sure, I knew that it was out there, and that it didn’t seem to care about finding another route.

After I had a nice little fire going, I started to build another one between me and the big cat. Once that was started, and I had gathered a sizable wood pile, I decided to try and get more sleep. 

Nope!  That wasn’t going to happen—again that beast started to hiss.  I remember having seen many American India shows to think that maybe if I were to do some kind of dance that maybe the cat would get the idea that I was awake and aware that it was out there and that I wasn’t some small child that it could pry or lure away from its family—or from the security of the fire.  So I sat to hooping ‘n a hollering around that first campfire—dancing as I had seen in the movies.

I danced and chanted until I was so overcome with the need to sleep that I tried slipping back into my sleeping bag.

Again!  With the hissing.  Frustrated and determined to either be eaten right then and there or to drive that animal away from my camp so that I could get some sort of rest before sunrise, I grabbed a large branch from off my wood pile, and set a tip of it to a bright flame.  I then walked off into the sound of the cat with that torch held out in front of me. 

I must have appeared like some crazy man charging off into the darkness—no other “human” around—screaming at the top of my lungs, “You want me—come and get me now, or get the hell out of here and leave me alone!”

I never did see that cat—not even a reflection of its eyes—but I knew that it had been there.  I also knew that for the rest of the night, I slept undisturbed. 

More entries: Half-Wit (3), Come Home Son, Life Is A Risk, Words Are Not Action, JOY, Here's a shot of me doing my one--and only one--yearly exercise (1), Indeed A Higher Law of Justice, Gotcha! (1), A Belated "I'm Sorry", The Fruits of Our Labor?

View all entries from Without tenses >

06:03 AM Feb 05 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

I think that the lesson I learned from this experience was that many times we can spend much of our lives worrying about a thing—being afraid, unsure, insecure, etc.—as I could have spent a sleepless night with that cougar hissing at me all night.  I am by no means a hero, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus—I am just a normal human being trying to get by this life being the best person I can be, and if something like that cougar should want to challenge my life—well then, I am gonna either ask it to join me or go someplace else and let me sleep, play, dance—whatever I feel like doing.

05:38 AM Feb 05 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

I believe that the most important key in any relationship—combative or otherwise—is that one is able to control oneself. 

04:33 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

Very visual your words.  Thank you for sharing. 

04:31 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

I believe in fate, as thought it's written an book - our path that can be easy, difficult, thorny, strewn with flowers, unknown, forgotton or famous. All in all, I'm asking not to make the matter worse and also making my path cleaning the branches after branches, fighting with clawing vines and dodging the poisonous bite of a viper..

04:09 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

Yes, like that—like a whisper that seems to sake the very soul of fate.

04:02 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

I also believe in powers. As though somebody's watching you all the time and all of sudden they make themselves known by flashing past like a shadow saving your life or by child's talk into your ear saying to take life easy or by a just a stranger whose wise words stay in your memory all your life.

04:01 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

Yes, there is no place of nature that a person should not be able to travel in peace–but should that person try to hurt or disrupt the natural peace of life then he or she must accept that nature will try and protect itself. 

03:58 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

Yes, the big size will help. Also a rattling toy to scare a bear off. But If I'm the wood I'll be behaving like a mouse, not waking up the Potapych. That's how bear in Russian or just Misha.

03:57 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

I truly believe in powers at work that are outside my understanding or my natural strength.

03:54 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

The needles and senseless killing of anything is wrong and should not be made excusable by any man or any manmade-law.

03:52 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

We can always second-guess the actions of others, but unless we are actually there in a given situation–such as one that seems to be a matter of life and death–we do a great injustice to the natural instincts to the human mind and its ability to survive and to protect its interests. 

03:49 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

One man also in Canada was fighting for his life with a bear. He is a professional hunter but happened to be in the bush without a weapon. The season hasn't started yet. And all of a suddent he was attacked by a bear. The only thing he had is a lighter. It didn't help. Exhausted after fighting, he started climbing a tree. A bear got hold of leg and started gnawing it. A man just closed his eyes and was praying. All of a sudden, something scared a bear and he left. Man stayed alive. But I bet he was in a such great shock that his hunting carrer has finished forever.

He mentioned he saw an angel like flash of light. In that condition you could see God Himself. It's all shock and people can do anything. Who knows maybe a man has done something to a bear and he just couldn't remember. It's all a mystery what made a bear leave.

03:47 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

I would suggested, based on what I have read and heard, that with these dangerous animals and when attack is imminent that one should try and make him/herself appear as big as possible--possibly by raising your hands above your head; by no means, run–NEVER run.  And if it comes down to it–fight like you would an attacker on the street–fight like your life means more to you than the life of an attacker–no matter the nature of the beast.

03:42 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

Handwriter, cougar is a big animal like puma, like panther a little bit less the tiger and they're all predators and can rip your apart.

A man in Canada killed a lynx with his bare hands. He was trying to save his two dogs. The lynx was quite small and a man is big. Anyway he killed. It makes me shudder everytime I hear that story looking at the small dead lynx and a big man. Has there any way that could've been avoided that figting for life of both of them, I keep asking myself.

03:39 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

About bears--I read someone go so far as to say, "Bears are the number one threat to America today..."  I don't know anything about the wildlife in America, but I have read that with bears that if all else fails, "Fight Back!"

03:32 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

This has been my first attempt at sharing any of my experiences in a story-formatted presentation—and never before in English.  I have no sense of timing—among other things needed for great story writing.  I am hopeful that I might get some really good feedback and critics from all of you.   Please.  @(-_-)@

03:27 PM Feb 03 2014

ola33

ola33
Japan

Does the book says anything if a bear attacks?

And here nothing will help, no torches, no fists but pray. If a bear, big, small, old, young attacks, just pray!

02:19 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

I never knew about charging an attacking cougar before—I just had been tired and annoyed and had had enough.

02:16 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

A note from the book mentioned:

If a cougar attacks and makes contact:

  • Fight for your life. Use any weapon available: camera, binoculars, a knife, a fishing pole, or your fists. Direct your blows to the cougar’s eye’s, nose, ears, and face.
  • If a cougar attacks a child, adults should attempt to fight the cougar off by any means possible, including bare hands. It has worked, and the cougar rarely turns on its assailant.
  • If a cougar attacks and injures a child, then retreats a short distance after being driven off, guard the child and watch the cougar carefully—cougars have been known to return again and again, focused entirely on the child. 

12:53 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

For information about these amazing big cats, I would recommend reading Dave Smith's  Don't Get Eaten: The Dangers of Animals that Charge or Attack (The Mountaineers Books,), 

12:21 PM Feb 03 2014

handwriter

handwriter
Norway

* I didn't mention the name of the place by name, for I didn't want the government or its tourism to worry about my story causing possible tourists not to visit their beautiful and highly recommended place due to any fear brought on by my experience.