I always bear-bagged after getting rid of the bear can. I can’t say that I always did it in such a way that the bears could not get to it. It’s actually pretty hard to hang a bag in such a way that a bear can’t get it; you need the perfect tree. So my thought was more along the lines that I am at least going to make it hard for the bears to get to and give me enough time to yell and throw rocks and hope they go away. Also, I wont be the one to teach them that they can get food in someones tent. Sometimes the tree options are really limited.
So one day, after hiking with Popeye, Olive Oil and Caddy Shack, we arrived at Deep Lake, a couple days north of Snoqualmie. I did my chores, which included throwing a line over a branch to hang the food. This was another place with no real good trees, but since I happened to be the only one hanging, I figured the bears wouldn’t be eating my food. Dinner and conversation took up the time until after the sun had gone down, and it was time for Chinchilla and I to haul our food up into the tree.
I was working on the counter-balance, pushing the bags up and down to get them in the right place, when the branch broke. I managed to duck out of the way of the falling food bags, but the best branch on the best tree was broken. And it was dark. So after a bit of cursing I started trying to get the line over a lesser branch. Lots more cursing ensued. This is one of my most hated tasks. I cursed a lot.
At some point I got the stick stuck in the branches of the trees, so I pulled on it. It would not budge. I was staring at the stupid stick with my headlamp, and pulling in all different directions. It still would not come. So I wrapped the end of the line around my wrist a couple of times to get a good grip and pulled with all my strength, leaning back and using my legs. It popped loose and flew directly at my face where it hit me just left of my eye.
Some more cursing. Chinchilla (and the rest of the camp) were alerted of my condition because of the tone and volume of my cursing. So I walked over to Chinchilla and asked how bad it was. She took a look and said “Oh… that’s really bad.” So my thought is that skull was visible and I started thinking on when to push the 30+ mile day to a road so I can get to an emergency room.
I asked her to elaborate on what “really bad” meant. I didn’t really get a straight story except that there was a big egg on the side of my face. I could care less about bruising and what not. A black, swollen-shut eye wouldn’t really bother me; it’s not a trip-ender.
After a bit of discussion, we asked Popeye to come out to look at it. His first response was “Oh, it’s not bad.” I know that Popeye has seen some injuries in his day, and he knows not to tell people with serious injury that’s it’s serious or then they freak out and make it worse. So given that, I couldn’t really tell the seriousness of the cut on my face. I had Chinchilla and Popeye going back and forth saying “It’s really deep!” and “Oh, it’s nothing.”
Eventually I decided that it wasn’t bad enough that I needed to seek immediate medical attention, so I had Popeye and Chinchilla clean it out and bandage it up for the night.
I first saw it two days later at the Dinsmoores, and it was somewhere between “nothing” and “really deep.” I had a nice changing shade of black/purple/red/yellow on my eye for the next week or so. I also exercised caution when throwing sticks/rocks attached to strings and pulling on them. I could have lost my eye, but I got lucky.