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Posts Tagged ‘tall tales’

Tales Get Taller with Each Telling

        

Snake River, Wyoming, 2007

The difference between a fairy tale and a river trip: The fairy tale begins “once upon a time,” while the river trip tale begins” “No shit! There I was …”

         I came across the above words in one of my journals this morning.

          I wrote it in the late 1980s, shortly after spending a week paddling down the Salmon River through The River of No Return Wilderness Area. It was an exciting white-water adventure in which each day ended with our group sitting around a campfire discussing present and past float trips.

          I knew all the stories would get bigger with each telling, including my own.

          My first rafting trip took place in 1983, a pleasant outing in a friend’s raft on a stretch of the Snake River between Hagerman and Bliss in Southern Idaho.

Within a month, I had my own five-person raft and could be found on the water with friends many summer weekends. I didn’t miss a summer of rafting for nearly 25 years.

Thinking about those rafting adventures this morning, facing another week of isolation from people I love, brought me immense pleasure. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing I’m a journal keeper. Since our memories are so inclined to tall tales with each passing year, my journal entries, written immediately following an event, are more truthful than my scattered brain..

While the taller tales make for more interesting conversations, it’s best I think to stick to reality and truth. I just wish our political leaders understood this.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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This wide awake youngster reminded me of my oldest son, who would never take a nap. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

 “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.” – Francis Bacon

The lionesses, about half a dozen of them, with several cubs were camouflaged well beneath some bushes. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

African Safari: The Sneaky Lionesses 

I lost track of how many lions we saw in Africa. It was a lot. But several of the sightings will live on in my memory forever

Kim and I saw mating lions, fighting lions, sleeping lions, sneaky lions, yawning lions, stalking lions, full-belly lions, mama lions, baby lions and one young male who made a detour from the path he was walking with his mom and sibling to scratch his back on the tire of our Land Rover.

The sneaky lions were actually the most scary. We had been watching several female lions, tucked away beneath some thick bushes snoozing. They had several cubs among them, all also sleeping except for one frisky little bugger.

As we watched, the youngster played around by itself for a while, then decided it was hungry and began crawling all over the sleeping lionesses looking for a titty. .

One of the two mama lions who crept up to keep a close eye on us. It was spooky when we suddenly spotted her. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Three of the mamas flicked it away with their paws when it tried to nurse, but a fourth – I’m not sure if it was the cub’s actual mama or not as the nursing seemed to be a communal activity – finally allowed it to suckle.

Joseph, who was our guide for this lion viewing, decided to drive around the back of the bushes, on the far side of a short trench, for a better view. As we sat there watching the lion pride snoozing in the bush, we suddenly realized that two of the concerned mamas had crept up from the ditch and were watching us.

Our Land Rover suddenly felt a little less safe. Joseph must have felt so, too, for he turned the ignition to drive us away. But the engine sputtered instead of starting.

Carefully, keeping the vehicle between himself and the lions, he got out and opened the hood, then fiddled with something for a moment or two before getting back in the driver’s seat.

The vehicle started and Joseph, whom we could almost hear sigh in relief, drove off to a spot with a clear view of the surrounding landscape and got out and fiddled with the engine some more.

“Just an excess of dust,” he commented as we got back in the Land Rover and drove on for some more wildlife viewing.

Next Tall Tale: The lion fight

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