Mice, Men, and The Lady Rose

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

On a rare, still and sultry night on a west coast trail beach, we left the tent flap open just a smidgen to make the thick, body-odored air more tolerable. Late in the night, gentle scratchings and crunchings awakened us. A tiny moving thing scampered across my sleeping bag. Wayne yelled, “The little s.o.b. ran across my face!”

I believe I know about mice. To thwart a mouse, if there are no bear boxes available, you must place all desirable mouse food in a sack and hang it high. If you stay in the same place two nights in a row be wary. Your average mouse will have located your stuff the first night. Be cool; be clever; be crafty. Fool him by storing your pack and your food in a new spot the second night. I speak from experience. At Carmanah a mouse chewed through the canvas of my pack to reach some overlooked trail mix. Trail mix is very desirable mouse food.

On the athletic ability of mice

One evening, at Cribs Creek, after the food was hung, I discovered a partial bag of trail mix still in my pack. Feeling smug, I took the little baggy of nuts and lashed it to a loose rope end near the main food bag. At least six inches separated the two bags as they swung in space. The small bag was so light and unstable, it swayed in the wind. I was confident no reasonable mouse would attempt such a challenge. Wrong! The next morning the hanging baggy had a neatly dissected hole. Only the raisins remained. We may need further study, but I suspect raisins are not desirable mouse food.

Dave Foster, during his glory days


A Lady and the Rose

For many years we sailed from Port Alberni to Bamfield on the Lady Rose. Today, the lady Rose is retired and her sister ship, the MV Frances Barkley sail the Alberni inlet with its load of mail, supplies for the many remote outposts along the way and, of course, its precious cargo of West Coast Trail trekkers. .


The Bamfield dock was crowded with ragged, worn-out hikers waiting for the Lady Rose. Among the throng was a proud group of finishers from Port Alberni. They were all women; some moms and daughters, some just friends but all pleased and excited to be going home. We boarded the ship and steamed up the inlet. As we neared Port Alberni a small, open boat came out to meet us and turned to run along side. A man and small child on board began waving wildly. One of the homeward-bound ladies rushed to the railing, calling and waving with great gusto before she charged through the passageway to the lower deck. When the Lady Rose slowed almost to a stop we all leaned over the side to watch the boat come along side. Below at water level, the small girl was handed across the gap of water to a pair of waiting hands. A few minutes later the happy mother reappeared on deck squeezing and kissing her chattering daughter. We all waved at the father’s departing boat. Such a warm and loving ship, this Lady Rose.




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