Posts Tagged With: bears


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Blogging right now is tough for me. Typing one finger with left hand is slow and tedious. I’ve hesitated to eat out since eating left-handed is “sloppy”.  Neighbor Jan enticed me to a Sunday breakfast at the Native Sons Hall. And, I’m getting more adept with my left hand. She was just rewarded with a plaque for being the best CERT volunteer of the year. We celebrated, and heard a great bear story.

We sat across from two guys, one an electrician the other a general contractor. I took their cards and they are around-somewhere. I believe the contractor’s name was Paul Belleni. He was fixing a broken water pipe at a house in Arnold and heard a sound. He turned around to face a mama bear with two cubs. She let out a distinct cry unlike anything he’d ever heard,  and the two cubs scooted up trees immediately. One tree bent to the ground with baby in it. Mama bear dashed past Belleni to protect her cub and he decided to run. He went down hill through a gully and ran for his life with mama behind him and eventually came out on the sixteenth tee at Sequoia Woods Golf course. One of the golfers said “Hey, you, what the hell are you doin’?” (Or something like that as Paul whizzed past.)  Then they spotted the bear. At that point the bear gave up and returned to her cubs. Whew!

He told us with emotion in his voice her claws were so long they were like a second hand.  Looks like a  bent tree saved his bacon. The story came to light as I told my recent encounter with a bear, I’ve had four, but none as dangerous as Paul Beleni’s close call.  But, my cougar story, hey…another time.

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Libby, Montana

Yesterday I drove the motorhome the 89 miles from Kalispell to Libby, Montana.

We continued traveling along U.S.Highway 2 West.

The traffic continued light along Highway 2…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…



Highway 2 was built in the 1930’s. Yesterday we ran in to a nine-mile rebuild of the roadway…


We parked overnight at VFW Post #1540…


Here’s the usual dinette photo…


Once we got settled in, we walked around town and took a few photos…












Yesterday was the first decent weather day I’ve experienced in a long time. Even though the temperature got to 81…the humidity was only 40%. Combined with a sunny/cloudy day and a pleasant all-day breeze, it was most enjoyable. During my yesterday’s morning walk is was 68 degrees…today 20 degrees cooler at 48.

Forecast high temperature for today is 69 degrees. Yes! Mucho Bettero!

We’ll continue our westward travel later this morning.

Enjoying friendly VFW Posts is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Montana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Wax museums and stuffed animal museums are something I dislike, but Jude Shepherd from the Blaine County Museum said, “What about three buffalo tumbling over a cliff, stampeded by Indians?” She had me hooked.  Look at these little birds above. Could you tell they are stuffed?

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I was stunned at the realism of this diorama. The camera doesn’t do it justice.

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The  Wild Life Museum is nothing short of amazing for its collection of large animals, the life-like poses, realistic artwork backgrounds and sheer numbers of beautiful, large animals.

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A hunting cougar.

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One giant diorama holds a pond with a beaver dam. Ducks swim on the surface and fish swim below the water line. Inside of the dam, you mama beaver with her kits.

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Dahl and big horned sheep.

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A coyote.

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Bears in and out of their den.

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Arctic foxes. (You’ll notice a spot of glare from the lights on this photo and the two that follow are really bad).

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Baby coyotes playing and nipping each other in such a natural manner, I couldn’t resist posting them in spite of the glare.

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You feel as though you’ve just come upon this little fawn as you walk in the woods. The trees,by the way, real. The talented setting worker chooses trees and bushes in the wild.  She removes the branches and copies them with foliage and replaces them to look exactly like the original. Another talented artist paints and blends in the back ground.

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Some trees need artificial bark. Jude showed me a piece.  Its made of rubber.

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A little elk calf.

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And this endearing little calf scratching his ear.

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And the birds, too, are plentiful and are naturally mixed with the large animal scenes.

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A night scene of a porcupine in the moonlight.

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I didn’t count nor ask how many, but there is easily over 100 animals in this exhibit. Just a few doors down from the Blaine County Museum. Make it a point to find this marvelous jewel. Pictures only tell half the tale.

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If you need another reason to stop off in Chinook, here is Kim, from the Eagles, handing me my first decent beer since I got on the road this trip, Pig Ass Porter. Yum. Jim always orders my beer by asking first for the darkest beer ya got,  like 30 weight motor oil. Now that is worth swirling your tongue around.

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Bear Gulch Trail

Yesterday…on our final full day at Thousand Trails Thunderbird RV Resort in Monroe,Washington…Mary and I took an afternoon walk on Bear Gulch Trail which runs along a ridge above the campground. It was a delightful day to take some photos. You may click on them to see an enlarged view…

In case you are wondering…no…we did not see any bears.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Last night, shots rang out and I knew the feral pig hunters were actively patrolling. The picture above is a skinny pig compared to the pictures my neighbor, Gary Gonzalez  got of five pigs invading his yard July 4th.  Sunday night,  one of my Hanging Tree neighbors in a golf cart-like vehicle, with a powerful strobe light and a cross bow,  was cruising the road flashing the woods looking for pigs.  I’d planned to take a cool evening walk  Monday night and thought better of it. Not only because of the hunters but because Gerry Baumgartner, another Hanging Tree neighbor reported he had been visited by a bear twice in the last two weeks and the neighbor above him has had three visits from two different bears. Both have armed themselves with canned horns.  Its beginning to feel like an armed encampment here.

Bears and pigs are related and their meat tastes similar. I know that for a fact since I once butchered a bear for my brother who hunted and killed a bear in neighboring Tuolumne County when he was only 18 years old.  Bears and feral pigs compete for the same food. Both can be aggressive and can and will attack humans if cornered or threatened, though that rarely happens.  In the 1980’s I encountered feral pigs in Wilseyville and Railroad Flat, the upper, mountainous western part of Calaveras County. I’ve lived in Murphys since 1978 and have never seen a bear within two miles of my place, nor have I seen feral pigs. I find it somewhat disturbing to realize that the bear population and feral pigs are wandering into new territory. It makes me wonder what shift in the environmental balance caused them to hunger out of their range? From past experience, it is usually human activity that upsets the balance. In any case, one neighbor was feeling very sympathetic to the feral pigs being hunted and considered setting out corn for them.  It seemed to be the right time to get educated about feral pigs and the damage they do. I looked at a couple of sources but Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the most thorough information on feral pigs and I copied my pictures from them:

There are approximately four million feral pigs in the United States. Fact:  more people are killed by pigs than sharks. Domestic pigs were originally brought here from Spain and allowed to propagate in the wilds of California. Russian razorbacks and pigs from Germany were brought to New Hampshire, the Carolinas and California in the early 1900’s. They are ferocious fighters, can produce two or more litters per year and live for 25 years. They’ve become a serious problem in 23 states.

Mountain lions, bobcats and bears will feed on young pigs but the adult pigs are voracious predators. President Roosevelt once watched a pig dismember a jaguar.

” They especially relish acorns as well as hickory and beech nuts in the autumn. At other times of the year they eat forbs, grasses, leaves, berries and other fruits, roots and tubers, corn and other agricultural crops, insects, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, eggs of ground-nesting birds, young rabbits, fawns and young livestock, such as lambs, calves, kids. They can also kill larger livestock that are weak from illness or injury. When fresh meat is not available, feral pigs will also readily scavenge carrion.”

They destroy wetland habitat, muddying the waters, breaking down the banks of rivers, destroy aquatic plants and have been known to corner larger prey and hunt as a group, breaking  legs and getting an animal on the ground. Their powerful bite can snap a kneecap or crush a peach pit with equal ease. They have been known to gnaw down a small tree and trample bushes in the wild. In domestic gardens and landscaped areas the damage is formidable. So, I say to my neighbor, don’t feel sorry for these invaders and let us support our hunters. In Wisconsin, they can be taken at anytime. In California, hunters need a pig tag, unless you are defending your property or livestock.  I’m told they are  better tasting than what we buy at the store. Luau time.

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Ark 2000, the beautiful gate into the PAWS sanctuary, is a fitting icon for a place that is rescuing animals. This non-profit sanctuary has 100’s of acres of freedom for “discarded” circus animals to retire to the peace and serenity of the land.  Good food, no more tortuous routines at the whip or pick. Restful and good.
There are fences, to be sure, but nothing like the cages of their past. These three Bengal tigers, though hard to photograph through the fencing, play and growl at each other in a friendly way while we watch  from a safe distance.

This old female Bengal yawned on the warm sunny hillside as though to affirm, life here is good.

Richly colored coats of tigers in Calaveras County are so out of place, and beautiful. The lion habitat, nearby, has a huge maned male who couldn’t keep his eyes off the females. They are separated since PAWS is not a zoo. They don’t encourage offspring. The lions and bears managed to  keep clear of the fencing and were not interested in photographers

And at each area, the food and wine are plentiful and delicious. Here Jan Hovey pours Hovey Wine. Steve Hovey has been making wine for over 20 years and is now proudly presenting his expertise under his own name.

This female  Asian elephant has a missing toe on one hind leg and a deformed ankle from long years on a chain. She seemed so happy and comfortable. And it is a cheering sight to see her free at last.

Man’s inhumanity to man is nothing compared to what humans do to animals. This, of course, is not the worst of it. She happily nudges and scratches her trunk on the fencing. Some trees in the sanctuary have steel posts around them to protect them from being pushed over by the pachyderms.

At first the sanctuary did not take in bull elephants. They can be dangerous and are unbelievably strong. They had to increase the fence strength for bulls and now they have two.

At the final buffet and auction area, near the African and Asian elephant barns, we visitors enjoyed dozens of different wines. A wine glass comes with your ticket and you carry it from kiosk to kiosk. Here Margot Osborn pours Chatom wines.

Irish has  Pog Mo Thoin, which is Irish for a mixture of whatever is left over. Well, sort of. It has three varietals and was quite tasty at that.

This marvelous dish of pesto flavored broiled tomatoes with mozarella was stellar, but the caterers, Jeff Newland and ll Fornaio,  prepared pumpkin ravioli to die for.  Of course, the whole luncheon is vegetarian. I keep promising myself to commit to becoming a vegetarian. Living on the road as much as Jim and I do makes it a harder fit.

At the parking lot, is a recycled old derelict put to good use. It reminds us not to stay over long. PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary has a program where families can visit. This event was adults only. They are very protective of their charges and the employees know them by their names and can identify one from another. They have pictures of the animals with their names and can tell you stories of their muddled past. A great project that we in Calaveras County enjoy along with out of town visitors.

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