Monday, September 05, 2011

Bears, Bears Everywhere

This part of southern Colorado is overrun with bears, who are finding that humans' trash containers and back yards have more food that the drought-parched hillsides. This morning we heard on the police radio that there was a bear cub trapped in a trash dumpster at the high school in nearby LaVeta. Thankfully, it is a holiday, so school was not in session. We know they got the cub out of the dumpster, though we don't know how. I hope Mama Bear wasn't nearby.

Over the weekend, a mother bear and two cubs were wandering around the LaVeta cemetery. The local marshall determined that they weren't headed on into town. He was afraid that if he tried to get them to move away, they just might head for main street, so he left them alone. There are almost daily bear sightings in the LaVeta area.

Our campsite here in the state park is along a road that goes to the Department of Wildlife's facility. Some days we have seen three or four wildlife trucks going up and down the road with bear traps on the back end. We finally asked if they were releasing trapped bears nearby. No. When the move a trapped bear, they take it to a nearby wildlife area where they tag it, then spray it down with water. That keeps the bear cool as they transport it to another part of the state.

Today we saw a bear in the campground while we were cleaning fire pits. Fortunately, it was in one of those bear traps. We stopped by to take a picture. If you click on the photo, you may be able to see the bear's head behind the bars. It had already been tagged and watered down. In fact, it was sloshing in water inside that trap. But it was pretty calm--looking out through the bars and sticking its nose out another opening, but not growling.

Since the campground was full for the Labor Day weekend, we had an awful lot of ashes and wood to clean out of the fire pits. And a number of campers were gatherers--not hunter gatherers, but gatherers. That means they scoured the open areas in the park for firewood--which is not permitted. When they do that, often it needs splitting to burn properly. But since the gatherers don't come equipped to do that, they attempt to burn 12-foot long branches and stumps that are 12 inches in diameter. Happily, the park's maintenance crew helped John unload those huge pieces.

Tomorrow we will prepare our RV so we can drive to Denver on Wednesday. We will spend three and a half weeks at Cherry Creek and Chatfield state parks while we take care of medical and dental appointments, spend time with Eric, Liz, Kylie and John and with friends, and try to whittle down even more what we have in storage. It will be a busy time.

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