Yoho National Park

Yoohoo! Haha Yoho looks like yoohoo!

Yoho National Park: Good for seeing wolves, bears and hopefully never a cougar. I’ve seen a cougar before. Those things are big and the could easily kill you. So don’t try to get a picture with a cougar! They might get very mad!!!

The park also has an abundance of fossils. That’s why I rock hounded a couple pounds of fossils and crossed the border with it. You never know when you might need a fossil.

Some of the fossils are 508 million years old. Million. Humans can’t even fathom what a million looks like. Can you imagine a million rubber bands on a rubber band ball? Well start there.

I remember staying some place where there was holes in the sand and bubbles coming out of the sand in the river. Naturally, I put a stick in the hole. Then water burst up in the air and I got some freezing water in my eye!

Man, what a time to be alive.

Emerald Lake

Wonder why it’s called Emerald Lake…

Now this is one crazy lake. Have you see the water on this lake? It’s bright green. Something about powdered limestone creates the color.

So now you know, sometime when you want to create a green lake, use powdered limestone.

And see that little lodge? They have a diving board that comes out the top floor window. They had to take it down after I used it though because there’s no lake, just rocks below. Also they said it, “wasn’t a diving board” and “not a toy.”

Stanley Park

I know all the people in this photo personally.

Now I don’t want to get into it, but it was summer and I went out pretty far during low tide on the rocks in just a bra and some other clothes I forget. Probably. To be fair, it was hot. Apparently the cops didn’t see it that way. Whatever happened to the law that all cops are bound to? “Protect and serve?” I guess that doesn’t apply to naked people.

Most of the manmade structures were built between 1911-1937. How crazy old is that? Nobody is still alive that was born then. That means everyone who got to see the park being built are all dead now and their memory completely wiped off the face of the planet forever. Really makes you think, huh?

My friends and I walked along the seawall until we wanted to leave and then we got in the car and left.

The end? Nope. One more story.

My friends and I did disbursed free camping down an old logging road. We made a campfire in somebody’s old spot. Probably a cowboy.

We were cooking hot dogs on a fire with no pit dug or rocks around the circle. And the tent was about 2 feet from the fire. We were a few feet from a water source, a glacially fed river. So my friend starts chopping wood for an hour and…

Little did we know we were camped right next to an animal trail!

Just when we had settled in and eaten our hot dogs, suddenly I hear my friend yell to the wood chopping friend, “BIG CAT!”

We both looked confused and saw a cougar!!

Fight. Flight. Freeze.

The wood chopping friend towered over the cougar with her axe and sweater and let out a loud roar like a lion. That was the right thing to do.

I fucking booked it to the car. That’s bad because a cougar can think you’re prey and chase you.

My friend that shouted “big cat!” just stood in place watching the action. That’s also bad.

“Walk backwards into the car slowly,” wood chopper friend said. They backed into the car as the cougar perused the campsite.

But I had locked the doors! It was a habit and I was scared and not thinking. So I quickly unlocked the car doors and they got in.

Our hearts were racing. 3 hearts.

“Let’s get out of here!” I said like Scooby Doo.

“Shit, our fire is still going,” one of them said.

“And the keys are in the tent,” I said, ready to sacrifice one of my friends for my car keys.

I couldn’t think. The level-headed friend made the plan in her head and let us know what was going to happen.

“Look, the cougar was just curious. If he wanted to kill us he could have. He’s probably hiding in the bushes watching us right now. Here’s what we’re going to do. One of you hold my knife and be ready to stab it in the face if it tries anything. This is survival. I’ll put out the fire and get the keys. Then we get all our shit tomorrow when it’s gone.”

We both nodded.

“Now, who’s going to take my knife?” I froze in place. I couldn’t stab it in the head or the face or whatever. My life was valuable. If I died, my single banana selling business would probably go nowhere.

“Don’t lock the doors this time,” one of them said.

They slowly got out. I watched intently from the safety of my car.

Tiptoeing around, one of them got the keys out of the tent, dumped a few gallons of water on the fire, and the knife wielding friend kept watch for the cougar, every once in a while turning to a noise that didn’t exist. It was pretty scary to see the smoke from the extinguished fire puff into the air, clouding us from seeing the cougar at all.

My friends got back in the car and we left in my Isuzu Rodeo with the bad breaks.

When we got to a hotel nearby, we realized one of my friends who had actually swum in the glacial river next to the campground had left her panties and bra on the roof of the car, which means a bra and panties flew off the top of the car in our panic and now some cougar is wearing them.

Signing off,

Shannon O’Brien