Bears & Berries – Day 11

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In the spirit of keeping everyone on staff informed and actually connected with what we were doing in the field, we would occasionally take some of our office staff to the field with us and let them tag along so they could see what we would do when on travel.  They, of course, liked a good trip and, also, they liked knowing that their work back home really mattered and that it helped us do what we did when we were out on the road.

So one week, arrangements were made to have several of our office people come out and travel with us up a few mountains to some sites over a period of several days and experience the mountain roads and top of mountain experiences that we were so often able to experience.  This was all good and we enjoyed each other’s company so it was going to be a fun trip.

Off we went to a mountain high up in the Cascades somewhere.  There was some snow on the ground – it was going to be a long, slow, and cold trip up and back.  But everyone was bundled up, had some coffee, and it was going to be a good day.  We were actually having to go up the mountain to meet with some contractors – we were setting up something on the mountain but, first, we were having to have some construction done on a facility.  This was to be an inspection trip.

The trip up took longer than probably it would normally have taken, and we had all been drinking lots of coffee from our thermos.  Well, there’s something about these mountain sites – there aren’t bathrooms up on these mountains.  We always carried the essentials in the back of our trucks to take care of things, but for us guys this was usually not a problem.  We mostly just needed somewhere out of the wind…  Unfortunately, we hadn’t planned well for our female traveling associates.

So, yes.  We got to the top of this isolated mountain.  It was above timberline so no trees – just bushes.  And our traveling mates all needed to relieve themselves.  No one was bashful – we all knew each other quite well – so we had to do whatever we needed to do to get through this minor situation before we could get on with the waiting contractors.

We opened the back of the truck and gave everyone their own roll, and pointed over to a fairly large berry (of some kind) bush.  A bit out of the way but going too far up there was not possible – we were on the tip of a mountain and it would have been a long roll down the side if someone had gone too far from the site we were at.

Off our brave and fun companions went – over to behind the berry bush.  Lots of silliness and muted conversation.  Not exactly sure how things went except that they were back in something of a hurry.

Seems the other side of the bush had a lot of – shall we say – animal scat.  Our somewhat shaken friends used much more colorful ways to describe what they had found – as they looked at their new boots all messy now with what seemed to be fresh and fairly large squished droppings.  Oh man.  And it was fresh.  Very fresh.  Not only that, but our friends described how it looked like something had recently been in the bush eating the berries – the little limbs and twigs had been freshly snapped and there were berries all over the ground.  Quite some stories, for sure.

So after the telling of their adventure, it was agreed that we would go take care of some of our work while they stayed by the truck and cleaned up – this was going to take awhile.

We began our work with the contractors and one asked, “Did they see what kind of bush that was where they were?”  To which we had no real reply.  We were told that the large bushes up on this mountain were very delectable berry bushes and the berries were at their peak.  And, by the way, bears loved those kinds of berries.  “No kidding,” we said.  “Go on.”

“Well,” one of the men said, “we got up here about an hour before you did but ended up staying in our trucks for awhile because there was a bear up here eating over on that bush” – he pointed at the bush recently visited by our intrepid office friends – “and he was rubbing in it and itching and really going at.”  “No kidding, ” we said again.

“Yep.  This is bear country.  Black bear.  They are pretty private but they like their berries this time of year.”

“Really.  No kidding.”  It’s all we could think of to say.

So we all finished our work and our best friends had a nice day on the mountain walking around close to our truck and that was that.  It wasn’t until we started down the mountain that we told them what the workers up on the mountain had told us about their relief bush.  Oh man, did we have some laughs driving down the mountain.

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And to top this trip off, we stopped in Renton to visit where Jimi Hendrix is buried.  What a way to end the day.

A memory…

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