969 Geocaches – 2426km on foot – 96lbs – 354 Days!
I had a great morning. It was not raining, it was a comfortable walking temperature, 5 geocaches were found quickly, and I hiked 7km in a beautiful forest. This was the kind of morning I envisioned when I first thought up the geocache diet. The trail did not lead me to a waterfall, a lookout, or a beach; it was just a nice forest just far enough away from town so you could not hear anything but the sound of the woods. The trail was well groomed and not very muddy for the amount of rain we have had recently and I made good time. I am very lucky to be able to walk this type of trail in the winter as I will be a little hesitant to walk in this particular area by myself in the spring. The bears are sleeping now.
Yes, we are in bear country – cougar country as well. I have read numerous log entries on geocaching.comfor geocaches in this area and there have been a fair number of sightings. I have done a lot of hiking on Vancouver Island and I have never seen a bear on the trails (many while in the safety of a vehicle) and I have never seen a cougar in the wild. If I was always walking in a group I would not be worried at all, but since I am doing a lot of the trails by myself I am a bit apprehensive. I thought I was pretty relaxed today until a bird in the bushes almost made me jump out of my skin. This time of year I do not have to worry too much about bears as they hibernate. They will come outside from time to time but they spend most of their time sleeping. In the spring bears come out to the lower levels to feed after laying low for the winter, and in the fall they are in the same areas filling up for winter. In the summer they move a little further up into the hills and are fairly inactive in the heat of the day. On Vancouver Island you will most likely see only black bears (there are a few grizzlies in remote northern parts of the island) and they are smaller and less aggressive than grizzly bears. If you want to be attacked by a bear in the Canadian wilds then it is better to be a black bear than a grizzly, though in my opinion that is saying it is better to be hit by a pick-up truck than an 18-wheeler.
Cougars can be a little more unpredictable but they are also elusive and not often seen. I have never seen a cougar in the wild but I am sure at least one has seen me. Neither cougars nor bears will attack unless they feel cornered or provoked. I am not really too concerned with bears and cougars but I will be on the lookout for hiking partners in the spring and autumn just to feel a little safer.
I am keeping pace towards hitting my targets so far. I have walked just below the average of 6.8 km a day I need to walk 2500km this year and I am just above the 2.7 geocache finds a day needed to reach 1000 finds. Can I keep this pace up? I think so. Every day the amount of daylight is increasing and I should be able to start walking more often first thing in the morning and the evenings. For now I have to be content with mid-day caching or caching in the dark on busy days.