Creative story to lighten things up.
Stories have a life from life and so this one begins with some truth mixed with fiction and finds itself to somewhere in-between. Quite normal sounding words with grammar intact, humor imbibed, let us begin the story of Cointelpro and the cougar.
Cougars are by nature shy and retiring creatures. They eat and sleep much like cats do. They walk more frequently in the Dreamtime following lessons from their Whale Guides. Habitat has been reduced and human predators have increased. Those humans they have allied themselves with do not whimper or moan as risks increase. They are survivors and fierce. They have not forgotten their original instructions. Listen well to this tale and put aside the meanderings and mindchatter of your own.
Snow dusted the peaks and mists drifted between, so that with some increase of imagination, the ancient Himalayas were before one. A few fishermen parked near the lower road. A grader had started with the early spring thaw to clear the gravel road for summer traffic. Arrivals would be early, and Cougar must feed its young and be off to the high Cascades sooner than usual.
Graffiti and empty beer cans nearest the BLM protected land attested to redneck intrusions. Some hippies and environmentalists guarded the portal's entrance, keeping trolls away. A couple took their bikes and prepared to ride up to Jawbone Flats. Cougar would ride his bike in their path so that no memory remained. Like Spybot advanced version, usage tracks would be obscured, if not removed. The jarring of the bike jerked his vision and a miasma clouded in his mind - debris from urban dweller thoughts. He carefully followed the two mountain bikes ahead of him. A sign requested that all walk their bikes through the residential area. The two bikes were parked at the welcome shelter. Their dog was sniffing tails with two locals. A tall, gangly hippie greeted Cougar, who said hello, but did not pursue conversation. In the drizzle, Cougar passed through noting old mine equipment, a hydro generator, and the path to Opal Pool. As the road turned up from Battle Ax Creek, Cougar hefted the mountain bike and carefully followed a ravine off road, stepping where the ground was firm or trodden to hide his own tracks. He fastened the bike securely with a lock between two trees, and retraced his steps to the road. The gravel road wound itself up the hillside. Old jeep tracks and one mountain bike tread evidenced that others had come this way in the past week. Cougar moved steadily north along the road. The drizzle turned to thick snow that filled the air with glorious motion. Cougar stepped beneath a bough near a stream and fed. He looked for other sign nearby, not particularly concerned. His tracks to this point were effectively erased.
Stepping out again, he scanned the white ground for fresh sign, leaving his own imprints. After half an hour, another road joined the main road. This was the part of the loop hikers used venturing from Jawbone Flats. Human traffic should drop off dramatically further north. However, the jeep tracks remained. Cougar continued to scan the ground before him, as the miasma of his own mind lifted. Ahead, he could sense the space-time continuum took a reverse turn, but not quite yet. As he reached the point of turning, an old boiler, open to the sky, was to the streamside of the road. Curious, it must have been there for some time. Two twenty-year-old Doug fir reached up from within the boiler's center. Looking upslope, old boards littered the hillside, and a shed tottered on pilings. "Interesting." Cougar mused as he looked for a way up to explore further. Nothing, so he moved along the road until the slope lessened and then worked his way through the branches. He came upon a small road with steps leading up a rock-bordered path to the shed, which was not dilapidated. It had been recently constructed with materials much the same as those used to make new cabins at Jawbone with a rustic look.
A yellow sign prominently displayed beside the door warned intruders that law enforcement for the ranger district would be summoned. Through the door's window, the single room appeared clean and used. A bed was neatly made with a quilt covering it. A rocking chair sat close to a far window. A porch with table and chairs overlooked the road below where Cougar had first noticed the boiler. As he turned to retrace his steps, to the right, further uphill was an outdoor toilet with a lid. Before descending all the way to the main road, he turned south along the smaller road that passed beneath the porch of the cabin. A faint scent of a banked stove fire drifted down. At a nearby stream, a piece of PVC pipe channeled water for drinking. Not having seen where the road joined his own main road, Cougar followed it down and noted brush carefully laid to obscure the road to the cabin. Someone did not want casual visitors and was probably associated with Jawbone Flats a mile below.
Cougar followed thoughts that led nowhere wondering as to why someone would build such a cabin. As a precaution when he reached the Battle Ax side road, he carefully placed his own returning tracks into his ascending tracks. That would confuse anyone seeking to follow his back trail. His mind was quiet and the snow had stopped. The light dusting remained as temperatures hovered around freezing. He retrieved his bike and coasted to the outskirts of Jawbone, where he dismounted. On the bridge over Battle Ax, a man was walking toward him. His raingear was muddied. The upper slicker was yellow and black. His hair was gray and trimmed, his face weathered. He seemed out of place for Jawbone Flats. Cougar greeted him and passed on.
The stillness of the community was as before except for two young men just entering from the south end. As Cougar approached, he stared in amazement. The stocky fellow had a modified semi-automatic rifle with clip attached. It was strapped from his right shoulder with the barrel pointing to the ground. It could easily be brought up for quick firing.
He stood before the two in their early thirties, "Whatcha got that (rifle) for?"
The dark haired Italian-looking owner of the rifle said, "Cougar. They killed three sheep in the next valley over."
Cougar kept his face quiet. "I just been way up north, the way yore headin'. I seen no tracks and I know how to track."
"Most people never even know if a cougar is following them," the young man replied. "How far's this road go?"
"As far as you want to go," Cougar answered as he continued on out of Jawbone.
Just around the bend, as he was shifting gears to climb a hill, he saw two young hippie girls with full backpacks. He couldn't tell from their position as they stepped aside if they were coming or going.
They replied, "Coming."
"Did you see the guy with the semi-automatic rifle ahead of you?"
"No," they said with a look of concern.
"I been all up in the woods north of here. I didn't know there were guns up here. They said they were hunting cougar."
Cougar cracked a smile, "I'm more on the side of the cougars. Why don't you tell someone at Jawbone to contact the ranger station and check things out?"
"We will. Thanks for the heads up."
When Cougar got back to the trailhead, he saw two cars in the lot. The first had a W04 sticker and a Bush/Cheney sticker displayed. It was a small, dinky, pale green compact with a shell necklace hanging from the mirror. It did not look like a redneck vehicle except for the handgun magazine in the back seat. The other obviously belonged to the two girls. Their bumper sticker said Cascadian Forest Alliance. All the way back to Highway 22, Cougar kept a lookout for a Forest Service ranger. At the junction with 22 was a forest service district office. He pulled in and asked an employee that was leaving if semi-automatic rifles were allowed up at Jawbone Flats. He said yes, but added that a policeman happened to be inside, if he wanted to make a report. Cougar thanked him and walked inside the office.
The policeman came around to the front desk and greeted Cougar. He took notes and said he would have it checked out. "Unfortunately," he said, "this is cougar season on BLM land. If they have a permit, they're allowed to be in there. Only thing funny is that there is 'no valley just over the hill' where they claim a cougar was killing sheep."
Cougar added, "The license plate of the car was TEE-700, Oregon plates."
"Thanks. We'll call you if need more information."
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