So there we were, hiking behind the cabin on a beautiful Sunday morning. Carol and I were making our way north over some slight, rolling hills. The sun had been up for about an hour and we both already had our morning coffee. Tradition has it that I have the coffee ready to go with the touch of a button at day break. Most of the time I have to lay in bed, waiting for the sun to lighten the morning sky before I can start the process. This particular morning was no different. I was ready to kick the day into gear, so to speak.
The afternoon before, the boys and I were trying to install new fascia boards on the front of the “A· of the cabin. The 4×4 that frames the large, triangle pieces of glass and the front Arcadia door was getting well weathered. It had been oiled and stained several times over the years, but has been giving in to the elements over the last few years. It had lx2 fascia boards that provided some defense again the rains but also lost the battles to the elements. So they were stripped off and discarded and actually became the last exposed wood of the original cabin when it was first erected in Goodyear, Arizona some fifty years ago. The addition Dad put on covered the original back timbers and the cedar shake roof was not part of the original construction but added shortly before Dad purchased it.
Anyway, back to the new fascia boards. After purchasing them at the new Home Depot in Show Low, the boys and I spent a good part of the morning preparing them for installation. We had to custom cut and shape the miters, notch out for the 4×12 x .”th ick, steel splice plates that Dad made to allow the top six foot of the cabin to be removed made necessary for clearance so it could be trucked to the White Mountains.
After all the pre-fit preparations were made, Carol stained the new, rough sawn fascia. When it was fairly dry, Jeremy and I dawned gloves and Chad grabbed his hammer and nails and we started the final installation. Just then our neighbors from next door decided to come over for a visit. The other couple strolling down the lane decided to stop in also. The boys and I weren’t completely rude, but we did keep working, but at a little slower pace. Carol kept a conversation going with these folks, as I kept working, passing along instructions while keeping an eye on the weather, as we were expected a little monsoon rain shower about 3:00 PM. We were all doing a little “multi-tasking” but visiting took the back seat to the construction effort.
Carol shared the story about Mickey’s cabin just to the east of us. The story keeps getting better and better. Carol is thinking about making it into a romantic novel. Their story to share was about having bears in the neighborhood. Now this was getting exciting. Bears! We sti II have elk jumping our fence just about every night to get to the green grass in the meadow and neighbor’s lawns. But bears like to head for the garbage cans. The smellier the better. We have always made a point to keep our smelly garbage inside because of the local skunks and raccoons. But bears are a lot more exciting.
Got a little side tracked with a little too much background. Where was I? Oh yes. So there we were, hiking behind the cabin on a beautiful Sunday morning. Carol and I were commenting on the new flowers that were popping up after the summer rains gave them a jump start. I told Carol that I did notice new elk hoof prints by the cabin and down across the freshly raked cinders of our drive. This is where our construction from the afternoon before left our lay down area a little disheveled. But knowing how careful Carol placed the rocks lining the drive and the raking of the loose cinders to blend in her handy work in redistributing to fill in thin spots on our lost visit, I was not about to leave it a mess.
Just then I heard a growl. Carol whispered “What was that?• A bear, I calmly said.
No. that’s just a dog. They were barking at various times at night when the elk were heading in, she exclaimed. Then, another growl. It is a bear! she said. Let’s head to the railroad bed. Would you feel better if I were packing? I would prefer pepper spray. Pepper spray has to be sprayed in their eyes. No, just around them. I don’t think so. It’s best right between their eyes. Let’s head toward the RR bed. Why do you want to head there? So we can out run them. Oh, Run Forest Run!
That remind me of the old story of the two guys that were hiking in the woods. They spotted a giant black bear standing on the other side of a meadow sniffing at the air. Then suddenly it started heading for them. One hiker sat down on a log, kicked off his hiking boots pulled out his sneakers from his bock pock, quickly slipped them on and laced thetn tight. The other hiker said, “You can’t outrun that bear”. I don’t have to he replied, I just have to outrun you. And off he went.