The HellStar : A Poetic Tirade

© Jon Herman

I wrote this many years ago after an extremely hot week working on wilderness trails.

In dismay,
I look up,
Look up to the sky,
That infinite blue,
Where the burning light from skyward descends,
As into the vastness the blistering orb ascends,
The great blazing star,
The furious glowing face in the sky,
The Star from Hell.

It crackles its way to Noontide,
And grows stronger by the minute,
Like a cosmic heat lamp,
It bakes my brains,
Brakes my bains,
Bainks my brins.
Uh oh.
Oh no.
Oh shit.

Blasting bombardment of brilliant photons,
Shatters the water into blinding fragments of shimmering light.
Light that blasts its way to the back of my skull.
Light that coats my reddening skin with glowing heat;
That wrings water from my tortured cells,
And lights up my innards,
Until . . .

Until I’m like an egg in a skillet,
A drop of water on fresh lava,
A snowball in hell,
So some chance I got now,
Under that nuclear ball of heavenly fire.

Oh HellStar,
I whimper,
I cower,
I plead, beg and complain as you burn onward,
Onward across the washed-out blue sky,
Hot to trot,
Toward the remote snowy peaks.


As the rolling Earth carries me away,
Away from your fury,
I wish you good riddance,
For soon,
The night will kick your ass.

A Close Call

The following describes an incident that occurred during a late winter/early spring cross country ski trip in Yellowstone National Park. For some reason this story makes me laugh, despite the potentially serious nature of the incident.

My friend Mike and I were a couple of poor college students on vacation during spring break in 1976. Mike had experience as a cross country skier, but this trip was the first time I’d ever been on skis, not to mention on skis and carrying a full backpack. Mike had some decent equipment whereas mine was basic. My poles were bamboo and the skis were wooden and old. One had a cracked tip that was covered with a plastic cap. My boots were a pair of poorly insulated, flexible three-pin boots that were likely made for day touring and not for backcountry use. But that’s the kind of equipment I had and so that’s what I went with. Being new to skiing, I really didn’t know any better anyway. Ignorance is bliss.

Mike at one of the geyser basins, Yellowstone National Park.

I fell down a lot at first, including the time I had to crash to avoid sliding into a group of apprehensive bison along the Madison River. Mike and I were pretty young and my inexperience, in retrospect, was comical. But we learned some good lessons and had a great trip overall. The weather was mostly sunny, the snowpack was deep and spring was just starting. Wildlife was becoming active and we daily saw bison, elk, deer, coyotes, trumpeter swans, geese and more. We skied on a snowy groomed road shared with snowmobiles and snow coaches. The trip took us from West Yellowstone up to the Old Faithful geyser basin and back, camping out several nights along the way. Everything went smoothly until our final camp along the Madison River,  just seven miles from West Yellowstone.

It was the early morning of March 12, 1976 and the temperature was down to around minus 30 Fharenheit. As that night grew colder, I shivered and dozed off and on until about 0500 when Mike and I both woke up shaking uncontrollably. My REI down bag was rated to minus 30 but I discovered that the rating just means that it barely keeps you alive. I was wearing two pair socks, long underwear, jeans, t-shirt, undershirt, wool shirt, down sweater, down coat, scarf, hat and mitts in my sleeping bag. I was sleeping alongside my boots and water bottle too, so it was crowded in there! There wasn’t enough room to move, aside from shivering.

We were so damn cold we turned on a flashlight and decided to start the stove. Our rented four-season expedition tent had a zip-out section of floor for using a cook stove in the tent (our stove was a small Svea 123 white gas stove). Supposed to be safe , but we hadn’t tried that yet as we had, up to that time, been cooking outside the tent.

Despite our initial efforts, the damn stove wouldn’t start. We topped it off with more fuel and added more to the spirit cup to prime the stove. I closed the stove’s fuel valve and we lit the fuel in the spirit cup and behold! We had flamage and a lot of it. Apparently the valve had frozen part way open and we couldn’t get it shut off. The tent lit up with orange flames and heat as flaming gas sputtered out of the stove faster and faster. I held our cook pot inverted over the growing flames and Mike pressed out the frost covered tent walls to stop them from burning. We didn’t know what to do and were almost in a state of panic.

Mike suddenly rushed to the zippered door at the far end of the tent and told me to throw the stove out when he got it open. He pulled at the zipper, but nothing happened. It was frozen. I yelled at him to hurry. There was burning fuel on my mittens and sleeping bag. Mike gave a mighty heave and the zipper finally gave way in a shower of frost flakes. Mike ducked aside and I tossed the flaming stove out into the snowy darkness, scattering more burning gas on the tent and on me. We put the fires out quickly, beating at them with our mittens. Mike lurched halfway out of the tent and wrestled with the fiery stove and finally got it out. We crawled back into our bags, shaking (but not from cold). We ate a large amount of granola and that, along with adrenaline, warmed us up. We went back to sleep, each of us very glad to be alive. That was too close a call. If we’d lost the tent, in that kind of temperature and without our gear (or partial gear even), seven miles from civilization, we likely wouldn’t have survived very long.

The next day at noon, we arrived in West Yellowstone after a fine morning’s travel in the warmish sunlight, under a crisp blue sky. West Yellowstone was chock full of noisy, fume-belching snowmobiles for the annual races that weekend, so we retrieved the car, bought some bread, cheese and ale and got the hell out of there. We drove to Salmon, where we spent a night and from there back to Spokane.

Looking back on this incident makes me laugh, but it could’ve turned out very badly for us. I’m once again grateful that Mike and I survived and that we learned a very valuable lesson: no fire of any kind in the tent!  I still have that venerable old Svea, but never use it. Modern butane canister stoves are much safer and much lighter. That being said, I still don’t think it’s a good idea to cook in the tent!

Habitat Loss

I recently spotted this young bull elk browsing in what looks like a healthy, pristine forest. What’s missing is the audio. Audio that is far from pristine nature. Behind the elk, not far away, was an ominous cacophony of brutal noises that foretells the destruction of the elk’s habitat. The chattering growl of multiple chainsaws, large trees thudding to the ground, the low rumbling thunder of giant earth-moving machines scraping into boulders, the almost supernatural howl of a large shredder. It was all there, all at once, only a few hundred yards away.

I was happy to see the elk looking healthy and enjoying his meal, but that happiness was overshadowed by the rapid development taking place in the forest behind him. The location is the Nelson Dairy area of Suncadia destination resort. Suncadia is located in the Cascade Mountains, just off of Interstate 90 and about 80 miles east of Seattle.

The Nelson Dairy area has variously been known as the Nelson Preserve and The Nelson Conservancy. Both of those titles seem like a mockery now as one witnesses the gouging of new roads through the forest, the rapid construction of huge homes (or vacation getaways, whatever people call them) made with enormous amounts of wood (former trees). The dust, noise and rumble of construction pervades the forest, even down to the trails along the scenic Cle Elum River.

Seeing that young elk and listening to the hyper destruction of its habitat was sobering. The lcoal elk herd has historically depended on the 7,000 plus acres of Suncadia as year-round habitat. With development increasing all around, that habitat is more important than ever to all the local wildlife, including deer, bear, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and other species. For a long time, development in Suncadia was sluggish and it seemed that the dramtic loss of habitat was a long way into the future. I don’t know precisely what economic factors are causing the recent surge, but the build rate all over the resort’s property is phenomenal and disheartening.

The elk and other wildlife are being squeezed into smaller pockets of habitat, and at the same time they have to venture into developed areas to get what they need. This is already happening in terms of elk and deer appearing on the golf courses and in the adjacent town of Roslyn. Inevitably, the wildlife will suffer.

The people who spent a lot of money to live in Suncadia might suffer too. They might be dismayed to see the bucolic setting that they initially enjoyed and bought into is now giving way to development, diminishing their privacy, peace and pace of life. Who wants to sit on the flagstone patio of their $2,000,000 home and hear nail guns, chainsaws, skill saws, bulldozers, excavators and heavy trucks all day?

The fate of our area seems sealed. Big money talks and it drowns out dissent. Local politicians take campaign money from realtors and developers (and some of them are realtors and developers), land and water rights are bought and sold, the wealthy build huge weekend homes. Nature, along with local human inhabitants, continues to fade away. This continues to be one of the sad themes of the American West.

Time Standing Still

There are moments in life, if one is lucky, where time seems to stand still and the moment you’re in is perfection. I feel fortunate to have had a few. Outwardly, they seem unremarkable. It’s the interaction of the mind with the moment that makes it special, and that interaction is the mind taking no action, but simply taking in what’s around it. Looking, listening, breathing. I lived one of these wonderful moments on a beautiful fall morning at a headland near the mouth of the Columbia River.

I was on a solo trip and had just climbed Mt. St. Helens. The day after the climb, I drove to Long Beach, Washington, where I was fortunate to wind up in a nice campsite at Cape Disappointment State Park near the mouth of the Columbia River. The site was right on the ocean, in sight and hearing of the roaring surf and the sea birds. I spent a peaceful night there and woke up only a few times, listening to sporadic rain showers tapping on the rain fly and above that, the distant calls of migrating geese.


After a sunrise walk along the beach, I packed up my car and drove the short distance to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at old Fort Canby. I toured the exhibits there and then wandered up the cape toward the Coast Guard Station. I walked on a trail past Deadman’s Cove and up a steep old concrete road that led up to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. When I got to the lighthouse, I was happy to find that I had the place to myself. After checking out the historic light and the newer observation deck, I wandered over to a short chain link fence on the edge of the bluff. It had been a mostly overcast morning, but now the clouds were breaking and sunlight was shining through. Below me, the sea crashed into the dark, rocky cliffs of the cape. Gulls and cormorants squawked, wheeled and zoomed low over the frothy waters.

Warm sunlight on my face, I watched the birds flying to and fro from their white-stained cliff roosts. Looking out to the northeast, I saw people on the distant Columbia River north jetty. To the southwest, I watched fishing boats bob on the sparkling swells beyond the Columbia Bar. The sunlight felt so good. I closed my eyes and listened to the birds, to the surf, and to the faint ringing of a buoy bell far away. The bell was intermittent, coming and going with the breeze that swooshed through the nearby fir trees.


In that wonderful moment was a profound peace. For once my mind was out of the way and the beauty of now was everything. And then my mind noticed it and in the noticing diminished it. But I still had the feeling, and still do. Experiences like that remind us of what can be when our minds are still and we place ourselves in peaceful, quiet settings. When we take the time to look, listen and breathe. Since having a quiet mind is a matter of the brain not-doing, one would think it would be easy to achieve. Of course it’s not, at least not for most of us. Too many things fill our minds, thoughts whirl and intrude.

Our society and way of life generally doesn’t encourage moments like that; it’s up to us to seek them out and allow them to happen. The rewards are subtle, but also profound.

Drawing on Experience for Pacific Crest

Someone asked me the other day about my own experiences on the Pacific Crest Trail and how I drew on those for my novel Pacific Crest. Good question!

Over the years I’ve hiked portions of the PCT in Oregon and Washington. My first ever backpack trip was on the PCT from Snoqualmie Pass south to Mount Rainier. We never made it to Rainier. After a long bus ride from Spokane to the pass, my friend Charlie and I set out on the trail, enthused and energetic. We were young and inexperienced, wearing crappy boots and not carrying enough food. We lasted five days on the trail.

Mount Rainier
The Pacific Crest Trail runs along that ridge on Blowout Mountain. Mount Rainier in the background.

Our initial progress slowed due to unusually deep snow left over from winter; six feet in places. It was the middle of July and the snow caught us by surprise. It caused us to lose the trail, and time, repeatedly. Pretty stressful for a couple of novice backpackers. The continued soaking of our cheap J.C. Penny boots caused blisters. In addition, the boots themselves were falling apart. We made it as far as Green Pass and hit more snow there. Without a word, we turned back, hungry and miserable, and much wiser. At Tacoma Pass a Forest Service employee gave us a ride out.

Subsequent experiences were better. I hiked the northern segment from Rainy Pass to Manning Provincial Park as well as the section from Snoqualmie Pass to Deception Pass and parts of the PCT around Mount Jefferson in Oregon.

Hiking aside, most of my time on the PCT has been spent working on the trail as a Forest Service employee with the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest. As part of a trail crew, I sawed logs, dug drainage ditches, cut brush, moved rocks off the trail, backpacked with tools, patrolled as a wilderness ranger, fought fires and more.

Working on the trail, I was able to talk to a lot of long distance hikers (ones who’d started at the Mexican border) and gain insights from them as to what the experience was like. Some were exhausted and grimly powering on to the finish. Others were still energized and looking forward to the rest of the journey though some of best scenery on the entire PCT.

On Writing a Mystery Novel

I love mysteries, whether in novel form or in good movies and TV shows. I love the hard-boiled Noir as well as the more sophisticated works of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. I discovered mysteries in the 1980’s, not long after getting burned out on Westerns. (By the way, where are the good new westerns these days? I’ve made a few tentative efforts to find some but seems like all that’s out there are old recycled Louie L’Amour novels and variations thereof.)

In the late 80’s, somebody introduced me to the Sue Grafton books, and then I found Earl Emerson’s Thomas Black series, and from there on to Tony Hillerman, Nevada Barr, John D. MacDonald, Aaron Elkins, Walter Mosley, J.A. Jance, Gregory McDonald and many more. I finally got around to reading the classics, too. The ones that started it all. Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett. And how could I forget Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? I read and re-read the Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid in high school, having been lucky enough to have that bulky “Complete Sherlock Holmes” volume. At that time, I didn’t explore mysteries beyond Sherlock Holmes. That might’ve been due to my high school era obsession with “Lord of the Rings”. Also, there wasn’t the plethora of great choices in mysteries that showed up later.

Anyway, having found that I enjoy writing, and given that I love mysteries and admire their authors, I thought I’d try my hand at writing one. Credit National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with getting me started in November of 2015. I didn’t complete the goal of a 50,000+ word novel that month, but I did come up with the solid groundwork for a mystery novel that eventually became Pacific Crest. When I left my day job in April of 2017, I finally had the time to really focus on the book. It was great to have that time for more in-depth research, new writing and editing of old writing.

As with most things one hasn’t done before, the task turned out to be more challenging and difficult that I’d imagined. How can you know how to do it until you do it? It was hard work, but rewarding. There weren’t many moments when I didn’t like what I was doing. Over the last year and a half, I made adjustments and changes in the manuscript, finally wrote what I thought was a satisfying ending and then edited the hell out of the manuscript, several times. Using the word processing program Scrivener was a huge help in keeping the book organized while I wrote and made changes. For the final edits, I transferred the book to MS Word and used Track Changes to keep tabs on what I was doing. And then I sent it to two different editors. Both (Erin Cusick and David Downing) provided invaluable insights and advice for the book and were key in turning out a readable manuscript.

After that came the hard part. The early days of carefree writing were done. The joy of storytelling had passed its peak. The thrill of thinking up new plot twists was over. Now came the grunt work. The time of reckoning when all the grammar and spelling mistakes, plot and character inconsistencies, timeline errors, erratic story flow, etc. must be remedied, as per the observations and advice of the editors. But of course when you change one thing, that affects other parts of a book, so you have to change those too, which leads to further changes elsewhere, etc. etc.

To make an already long story a bit shorter, I made a lot of changes. I threw out over a hundred pages that the book didn’t need; most of it superfluous character development and incidents that had no real bearing on the story line. It was all good background for me in terms of developing the characters and plot, but not important to the actual story telling. Once that was done, it was time to polish the book into a coherent manuscript.

When it came to the final copy edit before publication, I did that myself. So any typos, grammatical errors, etc, are all mine. Finally, I self-published the book on Amazon in late October of 2018, first as a Kindle e-book and then as a paperback. I hope it turns out to be a story that readers will enjoy. My sincere thanks to those who’ve purchased and read the book and provided valuable feedback! I encourage readers to leave a review on the book’s page at Amazon.

Addendum, February 12, 2020: I’m updating this post because I updated the book again! A University of Washington course on proofreading and grammar opened my eyes to various minor errors in the previous version of the book, so I went over it yet again. Along the way, I found a few other errors in timing and continuity that I repaired. I think the latest version, recently updated, is easier to read and more coherent than before. The new version was published last week and is, as before, available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook and a paperback. Work on the as-yet unnamed sequel continues, slowly but surely.

Orange Sun, July 30, 2018

This morning the sun was an orange disk rising through a murky pall of forest fire smoke. According to news reports, the smoke is a thick brew of burnt trees that’s flowing in from Siberia, Canada and Washington State.

We had our own smoke-generating fire last night when a west-bound car caught fire along I-90 between the Roslyn and Cle Elum exits. It started around 6 p.m. and the piney woods on the north side of the freeway lit up immediately. Fortunately the fire fighting response was fast and furious. I listened on the scanner as fire engines and crews rolled in and set up to put water on the flames. The Incident Commander ordered up air resources right way. No dithering there! Within a half hour of that, there were fixed-wing and rotor craft dropping water on the fire. I saw at least three airplanes with pontoons flying back and forth between Lake Cle Elum and the fire.

Despite being certain that the fire would be put down, I still retrieved my go-bag from the closet and mentally prepared to evacuate. When someone got on the radio and asked about evacuating Suncadia resort, I got a little nervous. However, by sundown, the fire was contained and being extinguished. Dawn was lucky to miss the fun as she was camping in the high country.

My hat is off to the crews and their leaders. Quick, decisive action prevented the dry Ponderosa pine forest from turning into a full-blown freight train of a crown fire. If there had been a sustained wind of 10+ mph, that fire would’ve been difficult to catch. Depending on the wind direction, it could’ve swept through the trees toward Roslyn or Cle Elum.

This is starting to feel like last year, when the Jolly Mountain Fire threatened local communities. Another fire feels inevitable given the extreme weather conditions, dryness and potential ignitions sources of lightning, accident or human stupidity. We’re going to keep our go-bags handy and up to date.

Water dropping plane on approach to Lake Cle Elum during last year’s Jolly Mountain Fire.

Travels and Observations of Southwest Washington State

Observations from a recent drive-through on back roads of Southwest Washington State:

Huge lawns! Whether a big or small house, rich or poor; vast beautiful lawns and clusters of color-blasting rhododendrons. It must take hours to mow one of those lawns and you definitely need a riding lawn mower.

Derelict Boats! Mossy, fungus-stained boats of all sizes and types. River boats, surf boats, ocean-going fishing boats. They’re stashed everywhere; behind barns, in front and back yards, next to roads with “For Sale” signs on them. Boats tucked away in likely and unlikely corners, near and far away from water. Tens of thousands of derelict boats that look beyond redemption, scattered over the landscape. I took it as a warning to never, ever buy a boat as this would be its likely fate (at least at my hands).

No goddamn mega-mansions! Some nice houses, but no arrogant mansions cluttering up the landscape, bragging from some hilltop.

At the other end of the housing spectrum, there’s a lot of houses that are hard to believe still harbor human inhabitants. I’m talking about houses, single and double-wide trailers that look like something out of a Stephen King novel. Dim, dark, somber looking dwellings choked by weeds and grass, sagging roofs covered with cones and debris from towering conifers and maples, clumps of moss and fungus coating the siding, ragged shreds of old paint curling away from the walls. And yet you’ll see one or more vehicles parked outside, maybe some smoke drifting out of a chimney, dim orange light in a window, or a person walking across a pasture out back. It must be infinitely depressing living in such an environment. I can’t speculate on why or how people come to live like that. I’m sure there’s some sad stories there.

On a brighter note, the flora of Southwest Washington is vigorous and green, the waterways beautiful in their verdant lushness.

That concludes my observations from a brief drive through that strange land.

Logging the Roslyn Urban Forest

The moment of truth has arrived, along with the loggers and their huge machines at my favorite local hiking trail and they will continue over it, “restoring” the forest. I admit to being way out of the loop on this issue due to not attending meetings about the project, and I didn’t give any input to the city about it. I might’ve done more if the local newspaper had been able to cover the story, but there wasn’t any detailed reporting about it during the planning process. At least not that I know of.

So now it’s too late. The project is fully underway and we’ve been hearing the rumble of loaders, the raspy grind of chainsaws, the crash and thud of big trees hitting the ground, the howling roar of a feller buncher. Without knowing much about the science behind this, I have to question it from an aesthetic and environmental viewpoint.

Especially in light of what I saw this morning. It was just after sunrise, tree tops glowing green with the first rays of sunlight as I walked up the forest trail with our golden lab Guy. This is our morning ritual, walking from home the short distance to the Roslyn Urban Forest and up a steep hill into the woods. We follow the soft, pine needle covered trail through the forest and then onto once-logged private land. It’s been a great spring in the forest, with multitudes of birds singing, ushering in each new day. I’ve been hearing robins, nuthatches, woodpeckers, flickers, sparrows and more.

Greeted by a wall o’ logs right across the trail.

What I saw this morning was shocking. The trail and the land on either side is now blocked by a large, U-shaped wall of logs pushed out ahead of the operation. The number of trees being cut seems to go beyond mere thinning and resembles industrial levels of logging. Where I envisioned a careful removal of smaller trees and brush growing too close to tall, fire-resistant trees, I saw instead a wholesale removal of what looks like at least 35% of the trees, many of them the taller, fire-resistant specimens. In some places there is no longer any canopy, which will allow for the rapid and thick growth of brush to replace the absent trees.

Looks like a clearcut to me.

The soil has been heavily impacted too, with heavy equipment in action, gouging out ruts and tracks throughout the forest. Some of the recreational trails have been obliterated by heavy equipment, leaving a 12 foot wide swathe of lumpy, powdery dust. Restoration will be costly and who is going to pay for that?

The planners did designate a riparian zone where no logging will take place, but in at least one location trees had been marked with a red stripe for cutting within the flagged RPZ. Someone came back later and painted over those marks with black paint. Has this happened elsewhere in the 300-acre forest?

After seeing the extent of the logging, I wonder about the fate of local birds nesting in the forest. It’s the time of year when songbirds are hatching and raising their families. The project must be having a huge negative impact on birds and wildlife. I wonder if this was addressed prior to the project. I also wonder if it’s even legal to undertake such a huge project during nesting season. Songbirds are supposed to be protected by federal law.

“Thinning” left a big old hole in the canopy. All the better to grow brush, which can burn just as vigorously as trees, especially when the absence of trees allows for higher temperatures and lower relative humidity.

All of this makes me wonder if the project was properly planned and being properly monitored. I hope to find out more about the process. I’m sure there are plenty of fine words and phrases to justify the way the thinning is being done, but to me it’s being overdone.

From my perspective, the phrase “forest restoration” seems like a human construct for justifying meddling in actual, natural forest restoration. The trees in the Roslyn Forest were mostly 60-100+ years old, indicating to my uneducated mind that the forest was a third to halfway on its way to being an old growth forest again. Careful thinning would’ve aided that process. The level of thinning I saw this morning appears to set the forest back.

So what was the goal of this project? To eventually have an old growth forest of tall trees with a shading canopy to retard the growth of brush? To reduce the wildfire threat? To make money for the city? To fulfill the obligations of the city’s stewardship plan? I’ve got a lot of questions and will try to keep my perspective as I learn more.

Very thin indeed.

Trashey the Bear

Trashey the Bear paid our home a visit yesterday evening. I was sitting on the couch reading and didn’t hear a thing. Neither did Dawn or Guy. While we were oblivious, Trashey was on our back patio, silently maneuvering one of our garbage cans from behind a lawn chair, without disturbing the lawn chair. He dragged it down a walkway and quietly tipped it over, removed the lid and carried off a big bag of garbage without spilling anything.

We looked out the window and saw the garbage can lying on its side, lid off. What the hell? We went outside to investigate. As we were standing next to the fallen garbage can trying to figure out what happened or who did it, Dawn looked up, pointed down the back alley and said, “I think I know who did it!” And so we saw Trashey on a nearby hillside, pulling stuff out of our garbage bag. Some shouting and hand clapping made him leave and I went over to pick up the garbage. But first I had to drive away two deer who rushed in and started eating the trash. I think the deer are colluding with Trashy.

Twelve years I’ve stored those garbage cans on the back patio with no problems. We even have game camera video of three bears walking past the garbage cans. No problems until Trashey the genius showed up. He’s getting somewhat famous in the community as being particularly bold and unafraid in his quest for an easy living.

I didn’t have a camera handy, so recorded Trashy with a Toonograph.

Update on 7/22/18: Recent news reports mention the capture and relocation of a trash-raiding brown-phase black bear. It is likely our very own Trashey. I wish him the best in his new life. Hopefully he won’t return.

Postscript, October 2, 2018- I learned that poor Trashey died during the deportation process, a victim of effects from the tranquilizers. Apparently this happens quit often but we never hear about it. It’s a sad fate for our forest brethren. Now there’s another bear hanging around town and getting into garbage. I worry about that as we have no other place to put our garbage cans other than on the back patio. So far, so good. The bear raided one of my neighbor’s cans and hauled a bag of trash into the woods.