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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On the road

Bigfoot statue at the Bigfoot Museum
in Willow Creek. 
The codger's spending more time on the road.

The 8 hour drive to Chimineas wasn't enough.

I extended my camera trapping range north to Humbolt County, the fog belt, California's NW coast. 

The charisma of the red tree vole made me do it.  

This corner of tree vole country is 250-road miles from home, and for half of the ride I track the winding course of the Trinity River.

This is also the heart of Bigfoot county, but the only big feet I saw were those of middle-aged men in waders.

They leave their pug marks between the road shoulder and the banks of the Trinity.

Trinity River with middle-aged men in waders.

The ride to the Chimineas Ranch on the other hand is even longer -- 400 miles from home -- and the scenery only gets interesting the last hour or so when you leave Rt 5.

I prefer the ride to Humbolt County, where I am not vulnerable to the uncanny physiological effect of wide open space on the weight of my accelerator foot.

A few months ago the codger fell victim to this phenomenon on a remote stretch of highway, which caught the attention of an officer of the California Highway Patrol.

It wasn't far from where James Dean met his ending 56 years ago.

I thanked the officer with mixed feelings and drove home in a blue funk.

I paid the fine, paid the fee to attend on-line traffic school, and read the lessons every morning over coffee.

When I passed the written exam the burden of guilt and worry disappeared.

The codger no longer races with the flock down Rt 5.

He looks like a lame old goose in the right lane, cursing the 18 wheelers.

And when he crosses into the fast lane he lives with the ire of Nascar impersonators who ride his tail, flash headlights, sneer, flip me off, and pass in a huff.

No longer does he just look like a codger.

Now he truly drives like one.

It makes for long and trying road trips.

My adventures are reserved for the woods. They begin when I arrive, not when I hit the road.

Meanwhile, the ongoing quest for tree voles continues.

If you are interested, read one of my old buddy's accounts in Rivers Wind Notes


Wicked Yankee said...

Hi Codger
I love your blog. You even inspired me to use my own camera trap to catch glimpses of the coyotes in my neck of the woods on Cape Cod. It's been fun.

Sorry to hear about your run in with the law.

Sasquatch must not like camera traps or else we might have seen one by now, but def let us know if you see one. Good luck with the red tree vole.

Jacques P. said...

Dear Codger
Driving at night from Chicoutimi to Quebec City through the Laurentides wilderness, I recently experienced the same phenomenon only to be stopped and fined by a zealous officer. There goes the money I was planning to spend on my first cam. I'll have to wait til next month's pension check to feel adventurous again. The Laurentides park is North of the Jacques Cartier National Park (Province of Quebec, Canada) where you camped with your family in the mid 1980's. It is home to thousands of moose, black bear and white-tailed deer that are kept off the highway by a intricate system of fences and underpasses.Driving in this ares is like getting through a concentration camp guarded by wild game. Despite the security, I almost hit a deer that jumped the fence to the freeway. I had more luck with animals than police officers.
I too am driving rather slow these days... only to better enjoy the scenery and starting to feel like a... codger.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Glad to hear from you camera trappers. Maybe the cops are doing us a favor. With what I paid I could have bought the parts for two home brews.

cliff said...

I checked out the remains of your camera after the fight with the brush cutter....not looking good.

I'll have to read up on the Red tree vole, I did climb a tree once to set a camera on what looked like a nest made of moss in a large maple tree, only to find out it was a bees nest, made for an exciting trip out of the tree.

P.V. August said...

Long live slow driving codgers, or is it -- slow driving codgers live longer? Both work!

Nice story and good lesson.

Living life in the literal slow lane,

Pete August

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks guys, and Cliff -- I'll bet that was a rapid descent. (My comments to your blog always bounce back -- must check to see if they actually get through).

Yes Pete, life in the slow lane ain't bad, especially since the rush was usually about getting to another meeting on time.

Trailblazer said...

Codge...why haven't you gotten a pic of a real sasquatch yet? C'mon! What's the hold up??!!


Camera Trap Codger said...

TB, One of these days I will present the evidence that explains why they are impossible to camera trap..

cliff said...

The reason you will never photograph the Sasquatch....

I knew a logger that lived in Toledo, Wa, just a few miles from where I live, and while he was logging in northern
california they lost all kinds of equiptment to thieves. To prevent this he came up with the idea of making large tracks and started the myth of the Sasquatch, it took off and he never lost anything after that. The story finally became a legend.