I spent my next day at Little Bear Bay inside. I woke up to rain, and this continued until the late afternoon. It only really stops just before sunset, which is just a slow darkening of the skies to black. I’m was not quite out of reach of civilization here, but close. My only contact was faint AM radio, fading in and out which was very frustrating when the very occasional weather forecast on Global radio gives comes on. But I at least had a vague idea that tomorrow might be a better day, followed by yet another drenching of rain. In the meanwhile, I divide my time between blogging, reading actual books, and some short walks when the rain isn’t falling too much.
The next day did dawn with clearing skies so I decided to try a more ambitious hike to Upper Stella Lake. Perhaps the fish would be more cooperative there. Arriving at the lake, I pass the North Stella camping site; just one camp site with its own biffy. But I noted another spot that was a road blocked 15 meters in. It would make an okay site only a minutes walk to North Stella. I wonder if I’d be charged for it? Further down the lake, there is a nice small boat launch, and what looks like some tenting spots, if a little unlevel in the trees. There is even a biffy of sorts, just a throne with no roof or walls.
I decide to head to the Stella Beach site. This is a bigger campground, something like ten sites here: a couple in the sun, rest shady. The standard BC facilities are here too: biffies, picnic tables, and firepit. Most sites are fairly level – there are a couple of dud sites that would suck for an RV if you had to take them, but still doable with a lot of levelers and a small rig. If I came up here with the rig, I’d head for the north site, with its one camping spot and biffy all to yourself!
I work my way back north towards my camp. Having seen few fishing spots available, I give each one a good try, but no fish for dinner again for me. At least the sun came out in the afternoon – it was chilly to start fishing in the wind!
I return to camp fishless, but at least there is no rain. There was even a bit of color in the sunset looking out at the strait. Tomorrow, I resolved if the weather is good to try the view point one more time and see what it’s like with some clear skies!
The unexpected discoveries continued the next day. The rain started in again overnight, hard at times. But in between bursts of rain, I heard a familiar pan lid rattling as I laid in bed. I doubted it on the first tiny rattle, but then I heard a momentary gnawing, and a rustle. My heart sank, knowing I had a new mouse friend, Blacky the second, had decided to make themselves at home.
A vigil sitting up watching a shadow pass CO2 LED detector glow confirmed it. I turned the light on and there it was, a dark brown mouse that paused momentarily before scurrying into the front cab area. Could the same dark mouse have been dormant for four weeks, as I traveled to Vancouver Island, through my stay at Living Forest Campground, and through five days here at Little Bear Bay? I’m in an open spot here, and have not had the door open for any amount of time while here. It can’t be the same mouse, there must be a hole in my RV they come into. I laid out some bits of food in a corner and it’s gone when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The occasional scurrying and gnawing just rubs it in that I’ll have to deal with this. It will be a mouse in a trap this time; can’t get that lucky twice with a mouse leaving on their own accord!
The rain continues through the morning, lighter and heavier at times. I debated it, should I go and check out Pye Falls again after the heavy rain last night? But it is wet out, and I was having a challenges both staying dry and staying warm. My power is minimal – I’ve been running the RV engine for twenty minutes in the morning to recharge the batteries a bit and using the heat/AC of the cab to warm things up a bit and dry them out. I’ve learned that during my little heating session, it helps to open up windows and let as much of the moist air out as possible, at the expense of not warming things up as much. But things cool down fast anyways. Getting rid of moisture is next to impossible while it is raining if you don’t have heat and ventilation. I ran the engine for thirty minutes today – the power dropped a little more last night, I was at 11.7 volts which my battery should never sit at for any amount of time. I’ll use up a little more gas charging more, as the weather does not look to be bringing me any sun to recharge.
Charging duties done, I decide a second trip to Pye falls is worth it, the rain is lighter at the moment and the journey will be no more than an hour round trip. But I suit up with my full rain gear, knowing that getting it dry once I’m back is going to take forever. But I remember that I’m not on a schedule anymore – I can choose to pack up at anytime and head for my next intended stop – Sayward town campground, with power hookup that I will use to warm up and dry things out.
The trail out was even more hazardous than before. There is standing water, and in one low spot, the creek has filled in a section. You needed to hop between high spots to stay dry. Then I came to the first rope section and found an unexpected sight. The tree that was holding the rope that you use climbing up had fallen since my last visit. The rope was uselessly lying beside the trail, with the top part of the tree snapped off partially blocking the trail. I realized the danger of the situation and study the scene carefully. The tree is fully down, but the slope is so steep it might slide down. I approached it carefully, being sure to not be downside of it. Pushing it with my hiking stick, I see it is indeed not that stable. But I can pass, very carefully not touching the tree, and not stepping in the very soft debris churned up by the falling tree. Yes, I took a calculated risk, but I judged it to be small. Don’t do what I do folks.
Past the fallen tree the added hazards were only what sopping wet ground adds to the situation as I climbed up to the high viewpoint. The water roars even more now, and mist sprays me as soon as I step out on the unprotected outcrop. I see this time that the falls in this state are really all one big fall, lower being visible from the bottom viewpoint and upper being visible from my little out jut, going around it and down into the boiling pool at the bottom. I frame my pictures carefully, but quickly – the spray and rain is wetting my Sony camera. But I make sure this time to get a couple of videos to show the awesome power of all this water falling around me. I’ll stick up one on YouTube, the video in this case is worth the upload time on my part.
I returned to my RV wet, having very carefully navigated the trail back. I wouldn’t recommend this trail on a wet day like this for an unexperienced hiker and even then, there is some risk as the fallen tree shows! The rain sets in harder and I hunker down. I never made it to the view point as the skies stayed rainy with low clouds, denying me a proper view.
One thing I remembered today is my marine radio – brought with me for emergencies on the water, but it has a great secondary feature – weather forecast channels. Turning it on, I find that I do indeed get both forecasts relatively clearly, and finally have a forecast for tomorrow, which looks to be drier. I intended to try the view point again if the forecast held, then Monday get out before the next dump of rain came in.
The day dawned with rain, but it stopped after breakfast. But the clouds were still low – no point in heading to the viewpoint. I contented myself with little walks around camp, hoping the skies will clear. Lunch rolled around and there looked to be slow progress on the skies opening up. But after lunch, I see it was a false hope – the skies darken again and intermittent rain sets in.
I occupied my time devising a way to get my unwanted house guest to leave. The mouse was bold enough last night to come out in the light, and grab the food off the little buffet I’d left on a square of toilet paper for him. My plan was to add a mouse trap to that buffet when I got back to where I could buy one.
Sitting in the RV waiting for the rain to end leaves the brain to creative thoughts, at least if you don’t occupy it with distractions. I thought, if the mouse will come to my buffet in the corner by the bathroom, why wouldn’t it be tempted by something left on the first step down the stairs leading out of the RV? I could leave at little crumb at the top step and then something bigger one step down on the familiar toilet paper, perhaps glued down a bit with a bit of jam. I’d be waiting in the cab bed above him, one hand on a broom. When he jumped down and grabbed the bait, I’d push the broom at him, hoping he’d take the obvious escape down the second step, and then down out of the RV.
As the weather was just not cooperating with me, I set things up, adding little details. I used my windshield sunscreen to block off the back of the RV. I blocked off the best escape from the stairs to the front cab with a pizza box. I even laid out in the bed, practicing my best broom shooing motion to get the mouse to go out, rather than back into his hidey hole in the front cab. Hey, it wasn’t like I had a lot of entertainment options, I could read my book, play my offline games a bit, or stroll around the camp a bit when it wasn’t raining. Might as well prepare something useful that might save me from having to live another night with mouse scrabbling. If it worked, you could call me Wiley R. Coyote, for I truly would be wilier than that cartoon beast if my plans was successful.
Right after dinner I set up in my lair above my bait and waited. It was not long until I saw a mouse. A mouse *outside* the RV, that scurried right underneath. Now I was playing double or nothing, should my mouse defense skills on the door not be so good on a potential assault from outside. I remember that I had swept out the rig this afternoon – the outside mouse was probably vacuuming up the crumbs. I see it scurry away and then nothing more for a long while. Eventually I take a break and bring back the radio to keep me company for a little longer. About two and a half hours into my vigil, Blacky II finally appears. The mouse pokes out one side, then right beside the broom, looking out at the large morsel I have set out on the step below. It seems the little food bit at the top of the step is not even noticed. But the mouse stares at the large food bit and turns away. I wait patiently. It might be thinking over the situation, screwing up its courage for the big food play. I waited above, wondering if Blacky had rejected my offering. But eventually the mouse nose poked out again, and it jumped down the step! I hastily jammed my broom down there, but I was way too slow. Blacky jumped up and back into the front cab.
I was dejected at this point – Blacky might not try again tonight. I waited a little longer; perhaps my inept play didn’t scare the mouse off permanently. At least the radio keeps me occupied while waiting. Twenty minutes later, I saw the mouse poke out again. This time I resolved to wait until Blacky had fully committed and grabbed the bait – the mouse will be distracted and I will have more time to get the broom between him and his preferred exit. Blacky looked around, and jumped down again. The mouse circled about, checking every direction, but I wait. Finally, he went to grab the bait and as I anticipated, it was stuck by the now hardened jam. As Blacky was tugging the granola cluster, I struck with my broom, getting it down this time before he had a chance to run to the edge of the stair and up. But Blacky did not give up without a fight – he scurried off to the cab side of the stair, I countered with my broom. Then there was a mad dash back and forth, the mouse and me with the broom! I broke the broom off but kept going with the handle. Suddenly I feel a connection with soft flesh – it seemed I have wounded Blacky. He laid prone for a moment at the side of the bottom step I had managed to sweep him to. I wasted no time and tried to flip him out, but he recovers and jumps down on his own, quickly scurrying out of site.
I made a celebratory drink – three and a quarter hours of mouse stalking have yielded a mouse evicted! I hoped my blow was glancing and Blacky lives, having eaten some of my best granola. It was a pretty mouse, with multi colored black, brown and white fur. But I tried my best to get it out without injury to myself or the mouse – that is all I can do to preserve my karma.
So, Little Bear Bay was a pretty good spot. One other camper finally showed up for the last night I was there, although there were a few people just wandering through for a drive. One thing I noted is the biffy is a common stopping spot on the weekend – makes sense with people out for a Sunday drive. I took my time packing up on my travel day. Sayward is only a little more than an hour away and the one gas station / grocery store is right on the way. I’ll have time to explore a bit, at least what my gas ration allows me to.