Trekking Tales: Animal stories

I was surprised when a butterfly turned into a grasshopper


Butterflies, their flight soundless, catch our attention with their colours and graceful movement. That’s what I thought I was seeing when walking through a patch of crunchy grass in one late August.

These flying critters were tan at the front, black-tipped with yellow further along their bodies, their flight somewhat erratic. The slight whirring noise should have alerted me, but I was surprised when one landed in front of me, and, tucking its wings away, turned into a grasshopper.

As I walked further, flyers of other sizes and colours effected a similar transformation. But then, to my continued delight, ‘real’ butterflies flew around me too.


Last fall, we had some apples sitting in a box on our picnic table on the back porch. Rather careless of us, given the population of “John’s” squirrels.

Of course, at least one of them sniffed them out. Kindly, they (or it) did not take a bite from each apple. One red-skinned piece of fruit was obviously tastier than the rest, so we left it on the table for them, while removing the box with the remainder to safety for our own consumption.

Squirrel-sized holes soon appeared, delving deeper into the fleshy part of the apple. But what are these tiny red pieces? This fussy critter did not think the skin was worth eating!  Along the edge of the table, it had lined up many wee bits of the apple’s skin, chomped so close along the inside surface that they soon curled up, after being spat out!


As we drove north of Wasa towards Canal Flats and Fairmount Hot Springs in the East Kootenays, on a dull, damp spring day, a gopher’s quick reactions entertained us.

It came running up over the bank on the opposite side of the road towards the pavement. Continuing his mad dash onto the road, he suddenly realized that this was a very bad idea and spun around, mid-air, in an abrupt about-face.

The wheels of the oncoming van just missed his tail as he leapt to safety.

“He’ll have a tale to tell his grandchildren,” punned John.

Gypsy and the bears

We have finally succumbed to the urge to add a pet to our family once again and were led to the perfect candidate near East Barriere Lake. Our brand new, tabby, white-socked kitten settled down happily on the back seat for the drive home. With traffic plentiful and somewhat wild on July long weekend, we chose the slower route home along the east side of North Thompson River past Dunn Lake.

The day was damp so we hoped to see game. A few deer feasted on long grass but we were past the Alpine Meadows Resort before we saw a bear.

A black one, coat shining, was standing in the middle of the road below us as we crested a hill. We watched with joy as we saw why she was waiting. One small, gangly cub emerged from the scrub-covered slope above her. Another scrambled out soon after. A pause, and then number three arrived.


As the cubs, all black, moved around mama, still on the road, I fumbled for the camera, but watching was more important than recording the moment. Her offspring all accounted for, Mama led her family off the road where they disappeared down the steep slope. And the kitten? Gypsy slept through it all – but that didn’t stop her from trying to guide my pen as I wrote these words about her first hour with us.