June 16, 2003
In Cimarron we stayed at the historic Saint James Hotel. On Saturday evening our host Doug Palmer gave us the driving tour of the massive Philmont Boy Scout Ranch. At 137,000 acres of pristine Rocky Mountain splendor, it was a stunning sight to see. There are literally thousands of visiting Scouts from all over the world on the ranch in the summer, so as we drove up the creek beds looking for elk we could see clusters of Scouts in their rain ponchos making camp in distant glens. Each camp had a peculiar attribute and that is they had twin telephone-like poles with big bags hoisted high in the air between them. This is their food and each camp has to have one to keep the food away from the bears. Especially at night.
Once a bear eats human food, they won’t stop until they get more. Doug told us, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” Once they taste our food they become hooked and won’t go back to their native diet. The ranch catches these “habitualized” bears and often truck them 100 miles up in to the wilderness, but they all come back. They can’t resist the salt, the fat and the sugar.
So I’m on this new diet (never been on one before) and yesterday’s paper said three out of five kids are at risk for diabetes because of our American diet and I’m thinking, “Even bears don’t want to eat their own food once they’ve had a Big Mac. No wonder we’re all blimps.”
“A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself. He can live without hope, without friends, without books, even without music, as long as he can listen to his own thoughts.”
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