Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boyz in the Big Apple

Rangers on the prowl!

Well here it is! Lets make a book of Monadnock Ranger Stories. The stories can be interesting, funny or helpful to campers and hikers. I will write up a few of mine and include them on this blog page to start the stories. Send the stories to for review, editing and inclusion.

The goal is to assemble one hundred short stories of experiences you have had as a ranger or camper or hiker on Grand Monadnock. When published all proceeds will be donated to help support a non-profit that supports the interest of Monadnock State Park. That non-profit has not yet been determined so your thoughts and suggestions are open for that as well.

My favorite stories is listed on this page:

  1. You of little brain ! Smarter than we think !
  2. It’s a Skunk!
  3. Charlie – The Barking Raccoon
  4. You can run but you cannot hide ~ a Bus
  5. A better way to educate our youth?

If you know a good ranger story that has humor in it let us know ~ we actually might write the book.

Working on an idea for a book


story #1

You of little brain ! Smarter than we think !

Oh Snake! Oh Snake!

The great minds of science know so much and yet ~ Do they really?
I read an article recently where science has determined that animals don’t really reason or think. They only respond instinctively to their habitat and in accordance to the particular evolution of their species. Some scientists disagree but this is the generally accepted thought.
In the spring the park receives our firewood packs to offer to campers. We keep a large supply at headquarters and a usage supply near our store for customers. The day the firewood was delivered I was on duty as ranger at the gate of the park. The truck rolled up with the firewood. I asked him to leave a couple of pallets of the firewood at the gate and then unload the rest of the supply in our storage yard. The driver unloaded three pallets and left the gate to deposit the rest of his load.
I opened the shed and began putting the firewood packages in the storage shed. I unloaded the first pallet and began to unload the second one when I noticed a Garden Snake coming out from under the pallet. I continued to unload the wood and then stacked the pallets against the side of the building. The snake was still on the roadway where the pallet had been that he came out of, so I gently prodded the snake off the road and watched as the snake moved on out into the woods. It felt good to know that he would find a good life here at the park.

Pretty soon the delivery truck came back and gathered the pallets. The afternoon went on without anything of interest happening. About three hours had passed and I went over toward the storage shed where the wood had been stored away. On the ground where the pallet had been was the snake. He was looking for his home.
It made me think of other times when animals that cannot reason seemed to know how to process a situation. 
Pulling out a dirt road in Wisconsin one time I came up on a Doe deer with a Faun. The mother turned and faced my vehicle making me stop the car. She stood there snorting at me and acting as if she would charge the car. The Faun then ran into the bush off to the right. Once the Faun was clear the Doe ran up the road in front of the car and off into the bush to the left. This all happened in a matter of seconds but very clearly showed that the Doe knew exactly what she was going to do in that situation. She was prepared to sacrifice herself so her Faun would safely get away.
I live in the woods and see these things all the time. If I am going to the store I have to reason what to take, where I am going, what road I will use and make many other mental decisions based on thought and reasoning. Maybe it would be simpler to be “just an animal” and do all of these things instinctively.
There are many other encounters like this that have happened to me. They happen frequently, but what do you think? Any animals making intelligent decisions around you lately?

Ever watch a squirrel figure out how to get into a birdfeeder?


story #2

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It’s a Skunk!

Photo: Baby striped skunks

OMG ~ It's a Skunk!

A common resident of the New England woods is Skunk. Monadnock State Park is no exception to this fact and has a well rounded population. It is not uncommon to hear a noise rummaging through food supplies or sniffing around a campsite and realizing that your visitor is Skunk. The first time I encountered Skunk was while going up the mountain at night on a rescue several years back. I saw two eyes looking at me from up the trail as my headlight focused on Skunk. I stopped and waited for him to mosey off the trail before proceeding up the mountain.

One evening as I was walking around the campground area in the early evening to make sure everything was quiet. I looked over at a family enjoying their meal at the table in a site. They sat at one end of the table and were completely unaware that Skunk was at the other end of the table enjoying his meal as well. I went in to the campsite and pointed to the Skunk while telling the people to be very calm. The campers quietly got up and walked to the edge of their site. It was funny to watch seven adults and children standing there watching the Skunk consume everything he could find on the table.

While working at headquarters on a weekend Skunk came by again. This time six college girls were camping in the old campground near headquarters of the park. The campground was full of campers and it was in the fall time. I heard a scream in the campground and two of the girls came running out of the woods toward the toll booth where I was working. At that hour I was the only ranger on duty and had to stay at the booth until all campers were checked in for the night. The girls were out of breath and screeching as they tried to tell me that they needed me to come to their camp. I asked them to tell me what the problem was and one explained that a Skunk entered their camp and was in one of their tents. Did you have any food in your tent, I asked. Just some candy bars the girl replied. They explained that they tried to get him to leave but he would not leave the tent and was rummaging through all of their things. It’s not often that an old ranger can impress pretty young co-eds so I told them I would help them out. I closed up the toll booth and went with them to their camp. Sure enough, there was Skunk eating a candy bar in the door of the tent. I took my flashlight and shinned it in his eyes. The Skunk began to move out of the tent and walk away. Then he turned and walked toward one of the girls. He looked at her for a moment and walked into the forest. At that point he started going from campsite to campsite with me running around ahead of him to warn campers that he was coming. It was a site to see and everyone had a visit from Skunk. The park manager came up in the park truck. He asked me what was going on. I told him about the Skunk but he didn’t seem moved by the event. His only comment was; “You forgot to lock the wood shed!”.

Skunk regularly patrols the park and visits with campers here and there. He doesn’t seem to have any fear of folks and mostly minds his own business which is finding camper’s food.

Jim Beard aka Noodin

story #3

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Barking Raccoon

Charlie – The Barking Raccoon

by: James B. Beard aka Noodin

At Monadnock State Park in the Gilson Pond Campground I set up my summer camp in the early spring. Usually as soon as the snow has gradually melted away and about two to three weeks before the campground actually opens for the public. It is a peaceful, quiet time to sit by a fire with the stillness of the forest all around. This one night I sat there enjoying the fire when I heard a barking noise. No dogs are allowed on Mt Monadnock so it was a little bit of a surprise to hear a dog barking. I listened intently and the barking continued but it didn’t quite sound like a dog. Kind of a Woof, Woof but deeper and not as high pitched and rich in sound as a dog. The sound came from down around our lower loop of the campground and seemed to be moving up the hill. The next time it barked it sounded like it was almost in my site. Then I looked toward the bathrooms in the park and saw something run across the parking lot. It was about the size of a dog but more round and furry. I could not make out for sure what it was but it looked like a very large raccoon. It continued its’ barking as it went on up the hill and then it went away. I had never heard a raccoon make a barking noise before and thought that it was a little unusual. As summer came I would periodically hear my friend, Charlie the raccoon, barking his way around the camping area at night. Now and then I would hear a scream from campsites nearby as Charlie would meander through checking out the food sources.

One evening I was asleep in my camp. It was a very warm summer evening and the campground was full. I awoke when headlights shinned into my Pop-up camper. I had all the flaps down so it was kind of like a screen room and I was lying on the bed in my shorts with no covers. The light was immense like spot lights shining in and woke me instantly. I looked out and a girl had exited the car. She was standing in front of her car lights in nothing more than very brief panties and a bra. At first I thought I was imagining this but there she was calling in asking if anyone was there. I answered her and she said she needed to talk to me and I should come out. I told her to wait a minute while I put on some clothes. By the time I came out she had grabbed some clothing from her car and stood waiting for me.

I asked her what the problem was and she explained that she and her girlfriend were sleeping in their campsite, B-2. She heard a barking sound. Both girls were in hammock tents. When she looked out with her flashlight she saw a huge raccoon on the table going through their cooler. She explained that she shined her light on the Raccoon and tried to shoo it away but it would not leave. Then she and her friend threw sticks at the Raccoon to get it to move off. The Raccoon did not run off but instead started to charge at the girls. As they ran toward their car the other girl tripped and badly smashed her knee. That girl was sitting in the car sobbing as we talked.

I asked her what she wanted to do and advised her that she should take her friend to a nearby emergency room for treatment of the injured knee. She answered that she wanted me to go down to her campsite and make the Raccoon go away. Well, over time I have learned that Charlie the barking Raccoon fears no man and I was not about to challenge him at three thirty in the morning in his own element. I told the girls to go to the emergency room and if they got back before daylight to come to my camp for the rest of the night.  The girls did not return that night but Charlie had pretty much torn up the whole campsite. I decided to come back later to help the girls pick up the site. When I did come back the girls had gathered their things and were gone.

Every once in awhile I wake at night when I hear Charlie the barking Raccoon wandering about and I smile remembering the girl in the panties and bra looking for someone to do battle with him.

by: James B. Beard aka Noodin

story #4

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

hide ~ a Bus

You can run but you cannot hide ~ a Bus

By James Beard aka Noodin

Saturdays are really busy on Mt Monadnock. Hikers come from all over the world to walk her 
trails and see the beautiful views from the summit. The particular Saturday I remember is when I opened the park. Our regular hikers start showing up around seven or eight o:clock and we greet each one as they come in. At about nine o:clock one of our regulars mentioned that he saw a large tour bus headed up Rte 202 and wondered if it was on the way here to the park. I told him no buses were scheduled and that we normally do not allow buses on Saturdays because of the amount of traffic and limited parking. We started watching for the bus, knowing it woud be coming when we received a radio call from the Old Tow Road entry. Taylor called over to let us know a bus had passed her entry traveling toward Marlboro, NH.

So the bus was not headed toward the park! Well, kinda not headed toward the park. A few minutes later we got a radio call from Taylor indicating that one of the resident neighbors was at her gate and complaining that a large bus had stopped in front of his home and let out about fifty people who crossed his land and started up the mountain. The manager came by our toll booth at about that time and we determined that we should intercept them along the trail and let them know they need to use the entry as well as pay the hiker fee at the park. I suggested to the manager that I could go over to the Old Tol Road entry and help out. She said that would be fine and off I went.

When I arrived at the Old Toll Road one of the rangers had already gone up the mountain to look for the errant hikers. Taylor was still at the booth and told me that our neighbor resident was really mad and gave her a hard time.

I asked her to describe the man. She told me he was middle aged with a grey beard and long hair. I had a feeling that I knew who she was describing. A year before one of trucks broke down in front of a neighbors house. We had to leave the truck to be towed and this neighbor was less than friendly about it. Then I decided to take a ride over to his place.

As I thought might be the case, there in front of his place was a huge tour bus parked along side of the road. I went up to the bus and tapped on the window. Pretty soon the driver came to the door. I introduced myself and asked if he had let people off at that place to climb the mountain. He said he knew this was not right and tried to tell the tour guide that. When he passed the sign for the park entry he figured something was funny. He told me the tour guide told him that the guide knew what he was doing and to just follow instructions.

I replied to him; “Well, you have two choices. You can stay here and the Marlboro Police will be by in a few minutes to give you a huge ticket for parking here, or, you can follow me back to headquarters and wait for your passengers there.”

The bus driver did not have to think too hard on that one. Soon the bus was following me back up to the main entry of the park to wait for his passengers. The hikers were intercepted and told to come down to headquarters after the hike to pay the fees and depart on their bus.

After a few hours we received a call from Taylor at the Old Toll Road. The hikers had come down
to that entry and the tour guide insisted that we send the bus over to pick them up. The park manager came on the radio and told Taylor to tell the tour guide that the bus would be sent over when we had confirmation that the fees had been paid. The total fee for all of the hikers came to $100.00 for twenty hikers. The tour guide complained a little more but finally relented and paid the hiking fee. The bus was sent over and all was good.

All of the tour guides I have encountered that come to the mountain are happy to pay the fee. They understand that the park is maintaining trails, facilities and patrolling the mountain to help hikers as well as protecting the mountain. It is rare for someone to go to such extremes to avoid supporting the park.

By James Beard aka Noodin


story #5

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A better way to educate our youth?

I'll Tell You a Story !
by James Beard aka Noodin

Young people come to the mountain to meet a story teller called Noodin at the Hikers Cabin and to hear a story.

Hikers Cabib, White Dot Trail
Grand Monadnock
Twelve high school youth with two teachers knock on the door. The door opens and each person files into the large open room. As they enter they are looking around with a caution and natural curiosity. They see strange items laid out on the table and around the fireplace. They have entered a different world!

You know the youth are glad to be out of school. It is obvious they are taken with going to the Grand Monadnock Mountain in southwestern New Hampshire in the middle of the winter. Walking up the snow bound trail from the White Dot trailhead to the hikers cabin is beautiful in the serenity of the forest, the mountain and the winter snow. It is a gray, cold and overcast day and yet the quietness of the forest is enchanting and holds its own beauty.

James Beard aka Noodin
The fire is giving an ambiance of comfort and a minimum of heat in the large hearth. It crackles now and then just to keep everyones attention. The building is not insulated and does not hold the heat well. The room is comfortable and has a warm welcoming feel even if it is a little on the chilly side. After all, it is ten degrees outside. Everyone sits in a circle with the fireplace taking one side of the circle. This is the home of Noodin at Monadnock State Park.

What is that strange smell? A girl asks. That is sage, I answer. My name is Jim Beard in English. My name in the native language of my teachers is Noodin. I am an adopted one to these people and have been given some things by them to share with you.
I pick up a shell with leaves of sage burning and walk around the circle allowing each person to take a wiff of the pungent aroma of the sage. Sage is used by Native American people to open any gathering, I explain. They use it to invite good spirits and feelings of the people and to bring everyone in the gathering to a oneness in focusing. After walking around the circle I put the shell containing the burning sage on the floor in the middle of the circle.

Hold this for me, I say to a boy as I hand him a drum. He looks at it and feels the tightness of the Elk Hide on the drum. He looks at the way the Elk cord is tied to hold the drum together. I then hand a shaker to a girl in the circle. This is called a shizigwan I tell her. Shizigwan means shaker.

I will tell you a story and we will need these things in the story, I explain. The story is of the creation of all things and the connection of all things of the universe. As I tell the story there is not a sound other than the words of the story, the drum and the shaker. It is an ancient oral teaching of the people. Not to be written down but passed from one to another through all time.

We are all connected to all that is and to one another. It is our responsibility to care for one another and all that we know. To be respectful to all that is.
There are many items on the table by the door. You can look at them before you leave and I will answer any questions I can about them.

We are sitting in a circle.
I explain to them; No one in the circle is above another or below. We all are equal in the creation. That I share in the circle does not put me above or below. Your teachers sitting in the circle are at one with you. Not above and not below. Native people use the circle to teach that we are all equal and should be right size with one another. A feather will be passed around. Each person will have the opportunity to speak when handed the feather. You can say whatever you feel called to say and no one may speak other than the one holding the feather. When you have finished saying what you have to share then you pass the feather to the next person.

Each person speaks in turn as the feather travels around the circle. The first time only a few words are spoken hesitantly by the youth. The feather travels again and the group opens up. The people share their hardships and concerns and gratitude’s. All of the people in the circle respect the feather and no one speaks out of turn. One can feel the sense of healing in the circle. Tensions dissappear and a feeling of oneness and relaxation begins to fill the room.

As they leave the cabin each one is welcomed to return whenever they wish. I know that I will see many of them again over time when they come to visit Grand Monadnock Mountain and the Hikers Cabin.

 By: James Beard aka Noodin

Other books: White Mocs on the Red Road & Golden Eagle ~ What you say!

“To be centered is to stand alone together” Noodin

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