Monday, May 28, 2018

It's A Wild Life - Bear Paw Block

This month's wild life block features the Bear Paw block - 

Take a trip down memory lane with me... I am reminded of a camping trip from when I was 11 years old...  

We were caravan-ing with our my grandparents in their truck camper.  My dad had borrowed a truck camper from a co-worker and we were going on the longest vacation I had ever heard of.  Three weeks! (I think... or maybe it just felt like that. lol!)

(This picture was taken a few years before our big trip...)

Our route covered Mesa Verde, the Four Corners, Arches National Park, Salt Lake City, Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons.  

We encountered a variety of weather... we had warm and sunny, hot even, rain and snow.

At the Arches I recall hiking one of the trails.  We weren't really prepared... we didn't carry water with us... ooops!  Despite the signs telling us and everything!  As we approached the top of the trail on a very warm day we passed a guy going down that DID have water... water AND ice that jiggled in a little metal canteen.  We considered jumping him for the water, but let him go.

While in Yellowstone there were bear... 

Let me give you a little back story and some details that make the story a little more funny... 

1)  The space in the campers were tight so my brother and I would split up and take turns sleeping on the floor of Grandma & Grandpa's camper.  My brother was a rough sleeper... he would toss and turn and jostle the truck around.  And the campers were not equipped to prepare meals inside... they were basically for sleeping only.

2)  We were visiting YS in the first full week that the entire park and all campgrounds were open... and we had tent campers across the road from us.  

It was early June, I think... While we nearly fried our brains at Arches, we were cold in Yellowstone!  

It was raining and the rain eventually turned to snow.  In order to prepare dinner out of the rain, the trucks were backed up tailgate to tailgate with a tarp draped over the opening to protect the camp stove and food from getting completely soggy.  After dinner was eaten and cleaned up the camp stove was tucked away in the cubby space on the side of the camper...  

Since it was raining and we couldn't enjoy a campfire we all retired for the night.  I was with Grandma & Grandpa... I recall waking up (I have no idea of the time) with some jostling of the truck and then Grandpa shining a flashlight across the road.  The campers across the road had sought shelter and protection in their car and had started their VW Bug (a very distinctive sound).  

There was a bear in the campground!  Not just in the campground, but ON our tailgate trying to pull out the camp stove... and then it was trying to get the food in a cooler that the campers across the way had left out.

I don't know how long the excitement carried on because this little girl was tuckered out and fell back to sleep...  In the morning, when we all emerged from our campers, my Mom & Dad had not a clue about what took place.  They thought it was just my brother tossing and turning again!  And they thought that the neighbors across the way were cold so they started their car to run the heater.

Oh, my!  The memories...

Fast forward 30 years to a time we were camping with our friends at Monument Lake near Stonewall, CO - the bear activity was exceptionally bad that year... 

We were enjoying a campfire and some S'mores and other goodies...

This picture was actually taken in the morning as the campers enjoyed doughboys.  Biscuit dough cooked on sticks and then filled with yummy goodness like jam or breakfast sausage (or let your imagination take off with the filling) 

a bear passed through the camp site area, very nonchalantly, on his way to the dumpster.  

The excitement that ensued was quite entertaining!  Some of the campers, with roasted marshmallows in hand, wanted to get a closer look so they followed him!  That was the last time we camped with our soft-sided pop-up camper. 

Ok, so I have great respect for wildlife and prefer to keep my close encounters with bear to the Bear Paw Block.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane! 

What sort of camping memories do you have?  

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear your stories.

Sew Happy!


Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series

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  1. I remember eating so many marshmallows one night over a campfire that I have sworn them off for the rest of my lift. It was either from the tummy ache or the fact that a skunk crawled into the light tent where my brother and I slept that night and ate what remained in the bag... ;)

    1. Oh My! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  2. When a 2 ton Brahma bull walked up to our campfire and hung out for a while. My kids were under 8 and I was worried that the bull would knock them down, tear up the campsite, etc. But I guess he was just chillin' because he got tired of us and went across the road to another campsite that was playing country western, and hung out there for a while. Guess he just wanted company.

  3. Hi Melva,
    Wowee - those are some camping memories! I'm glad no one was injured at all - people or bear! My parents were in their late 40s when I was born so I only recall one tent camping trip. I thought it was a blast even though it poured the entire weekend. For some reason, that was the end of our tent camping - the upgraded to an RV. HAHA! Happy Memorial Day! ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. My cousins always tent camped... and it seems as though it rained nearly every time they put up the tent. I don't like tent camping for this reason! I'll take our tiny-tiny house on the truck any day!

  4. I have lots of camping memories. With 4 boys and 1 girl, we did a lot of camping. Here's a couple: We camped while taking our oldest son to visit several colleges and universities in Ohio and Michigan and I kept running into gals in the various bathrooms who needed to talk about their problems (I guess I must be a good listener) and Tu-Na Helper threatened to go with me so I'd come back sooner and not worry him. Then there was the two week camping trip when we took our German exchange student on a camping trip to several national parks as it was her first camping (tenting) experience. We could hardly sleep in Kingman AZ because it was 100 degrees when we went to bed and 99 when we got up and then three days later we were freezing at the Grand Tetons. In Yellowstone, our German student locked the car keys in the van with the motor running (with $5/gal gas). Luckily, the locksmith was helping another person in the area so it was only a 30 minute wait and not a 3 hour wait to be rescued. We kept telling her that she would eventually look back on the trip and laugh as it will become a funny memory. We are laughing about that memory but I don't think she has yet.

    1. Such fun memories! Thanks for sharing =D

  5. Oh, such memories you bring to mind! In the mid 60s my dad built a camper for the back of the pick-up. (looking much like yours) Of course it was nothing like campers today. Gas burners for cooking, a 5 gallon bucket under the toilet seat (which was only for emergencies). No electricity, we used kerosene lanterns for lighting in the evenings. No refridge, but an ice box... you get the picture. It took us on many adventures. We left Ohio for Colorado Springs one year. Canada one year. A trip to all of the Great Lakes. To see my dad's brother in Virginia Beach. SW Ohio to visit my dad's aunt. . . .
    Then because my dad liked to fish, we later got a smallish boat and went to Lake Erie nearly every weekend. By that time, my teen aged years, I was suffering from too much family time, all I wanted to do was be alone and read. My dad bought me a fishing pole of my own in hopes (I guess) of enjoying it more. After about a year, I was reading a book in my lap and only loosely holding that pole, well a fish gabbed my hook and took off, pulling my pole out of my hands...
    Once while fishing, we stopped to talk to a couple sisters cleaning fish, they had a unique system. I watched as my dad chatted with them, then tried their method myself. Thank heavens for those sisters, I copied them exactly and it earned me the right to stay back at the camper and read. My family brought in the fish and I cleaned them, while they went out for more. A weekend could bring in several hundred lake perch, but cleaning them with those sister's method went quickly and I could go back to my books.
    When the camper wasn't being used, it sat next to the barn and was a great place for teenaged slumber parties, oh the stories!
    We never saw a bear, but once in Canada, a moose came crashing thru the brush (a bit scary really, we kids were afraid to use the outhouse after that) This was a time when there weren't even deer left in NW Ohio, so while it was scary, it was something to brag about when we got back home.

    1. It sounds like sasqwatch coming through the woods when it is just a deer. I cannot imagine what it sounds like when a moose is approaching! Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Oh my goodness, I enjoyed reading this! Perfect stories to go with your beautiful block. I've only camped out once and I loved it. My family was never campers, but I did get to go with a friend who's family led a Boy Scout Troup. Lot's of fun and laughs and thankfully no bears :)

  7. Thank you Tish, for your kind words. I think everyone should experience camping at least once in life. Even if only once... :)