Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bugs, Bear, Tours, Moose... it just goes on.....

I'm just not posting as often as I'd like to....  a couple of reasons...  we're working a lot of hours, but also, the internet service is the pits....  It might take me an hour or more to send a blog.  That doesn't include getting the photos ready while I'm still off line.  So....  life isn't always perfect....  but it's still good.  

I have at least 2 (okay...  more than that) ideas and photos for blogs...  but today just ain't the day....  It's already going on 7pm...  and.... I'm tired.

Have I written that our work starts at 6 am...  until 4:30 pm Monday through Thursday?  Now, before you gasp and say... Oh... I'm retired....  I'll say right here that this is our choice.  This refuge does NOT ask us to work like that.  They do ask that we each work 32 hours a week to offset the cost of what it costs the refuge for us to stay here....  electric, water etc,  This includes using the washer and dryer and probably a few things I've forgotten tonight.  But I don't know of any volunteers who are "in it" for the money....  some places do pay a stipend, but I think most folks are really like us...  just giving back a little to our country that is such a great place to be.

I think I forgot in previous posts to mention...
In June!  Okay...  there isn't much left.  But this is just outside the Visitor Center...  Snow that was plowed over to the tree line.  They had 120" of snow this past winter...  and if it all came down at once without any melting in between, that would be 10' of snow.  Unbelievable!  But we've had some really nice days, so it will all be gone soon.

However, the black flies are horrific right now.  I have welts all around my face...  and even on my skull...  they love either my hair or my shampoo...  I don't know.
I know...  not a very flattering picture...  
This is a "selfie" I took while on the Gator.  Take note of all those flies swarming around my head.  Notice that I have on a hardhat...  and a bug net covering my ears and neck...  still....  I have huge welts that itch like crazy.  Ah....  the price I pay to enjoy the life up here....

And the life includes the wildlife...
Look at these two bears...  standing up to see what's coming up the road...    Only me on the Gator.  These guys are probably 2 years old.  Mom kicked them out because she's had this year's cubs....  they'll probably hang out together throughout this summer then establish their own territory.

I have 4 game cameras out...  not much action, but still....
Shots like this moose...

This young bear sitting down to do some personal hygiene...

Or...   how about this White-tail deer...
Investigating my game camera...  look how inquisitive she is...  Kind of a strange angle, but her hind leg really is okay.

I love shots like this...  stuff I wouldn't see if not for my game cameras.

One reason Bill & I like volunteering at these remote refuges is that often they are very much understaffed.  They really appreciate extra help.  But also they are usually very flexible.  For example...  today, after driving to the local concrete plant for a septic tank part...  and the the big hardware store 10 miles away...  and gassing up the utility truck along the way...  I brought up a couple bales of hay from the storage unit...  maybe did a few other things...  but then saw a person kind of wandering around the Visitor Center.  Well, due to lack of volunteers, the door was locked, so I asked her if she'd like to go inside.  We struck up a conversation and then I asked her if she'd like a tour of the refuge.  She was from Miami, Florida...  and yes, she'd like that.  

So...  the next hour and a half I took her on a tour...  it's a refuge with a lot of history...  and I won't go into it all now...  but will say that nuclear bombs were housed here during the Cold War.  That's another story...  I drove her around (I didn't have a refuge vehicle so my little Scion was the limo of the day)...  and we had a great time.  We saw our first bear minutes after getting started...  

Then later we saw...
This sow and her 2 cubs.

We don't always have such good luck in seeing wildlife, but... believe me, I'm just as thrilled as my visitors when we do.

I got her back to the VC around 1:30 or 2pm...  she decided to walk one of the trails and I headed home.  Rain was in the air...  I decided to wait to do the rest of the trail maintenance (did I say I did several miles of trail maintenance this morning....  bow saw, pruners, etc..... ?) and unpacked my new Canon Rebel that just came in the mail today.

Just one exciting moment after another!

I know that I'm kinda skipping around with this...  but, believe me...  that's what life is like here these days.

That's All For Today!


  1. Even with the flies, that is such a cool place to be. I am told there are moose in Yellowstone and the Big Horns. I hope to see some before I leave this area. I was not lucky enough to see any bears in Yellowstone last week. You guys are doing a great job.

  2. I couldn't handle the flies and bugs. I love seeing the wildlife but I'll enjoy your pictures for that. That picture of the two bears sitting up looking down the road is priceless.

  3. Love the pictures. Other than the flies, I would imagine that you are having the time of your life. But of course, you and Bill always find great things to do and places to go.

  4. At 32 hours per week from both of you, that refuge has a real bargain for the little it costs them to provide your site. Having said that, I am one of those volunteers that also doesn't look at the money side of it. It's a great life, and that head gear is about as stylish as my pants in socks routine because of the ticks here. I think we both give Donna Cave a run for her money. ;)

  5. I'm with Jim and Sandie. Thanks for taking us around.

  6. You are really enjoying your time there, such a beautiful place. We don't miss the black flies around here though.
    Nice to keep yourself busy and having fun at the same time.

  7. The refuge is very lucky to have you two! Loved your photos today, especially the two bears standing.

  8. Yup. Lucky refuge to have you. The flies would drive me nuts too.

  9. Yes I agree, they're lucky to have you guys. You're seeing lots of cool wildlife too! And I LOVE your Header Photo.

  10. Just one exciting moment after another :) LOVE your game photos!!!! Don't know if I could stand the bugs!!! You are very brave!!

  11. The flies swarming your head photo is great. You look all business, with the netting and the look! The bears on back legs photo is great, too. I'm envious of you with your game camera! Love those gadgets! But not yet do I own one.

  12. Cool pictures of the bears. We've only seen one passing through the Canadian Rockies. Volunteer work is just that, it's someone who has the desire to participate in life and making things better for others. Work doesn't have to be related to money, maybe the satisfaction one derives from doingi it! See you guys in near the end of July.