Mountain Man

Mountain Man

by Sean Edge

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Overview

Prologue Spring, Colorado, 1981 ONE of the severest winters in North American history exploded in a cataclysm of spring madness: rushing water, melting snow and ice thundered down the Colorado Rocky Mountains rearranging the high country and lowlands beyond recognition. Boulders torn from the warming earth crashed into trees; revised river courses and blocked creeks. Acres of uprooted pine littered the valley floors, glistened in the March sunshine. Yet this insanity had ended swiftly when nature blew away her winter temper and the warm Chinook winds breathed merciful life into the devastation. Stunned, mountain animals moved through the ruins like humans after a bombing raid: mooching ill tempered among the debris they scavenged for food; beavers utilised fallen timber to build underwater lodges away from the grizzly he-bear who lived on Devil Mountain! Named for its twin horned peaks, Devil Mountain was a fourteen thousand feet colossus dominating the wilderness with incomparable magnificence. Situated on the eastern fringe of the Roan Plateau skirting the Arapaho National Forest, it dwarfed everything. Billions of tons of impregnable landmass gouged from the earth’s core before the Ice Age had merged into a vast tangle of rock sweeping savagely to the sky; thrusting from the morass the mammoth devil-horns soared forever upward beyond the clouds. A terrifying presence plagued by the cruellest elements, Devil Mountain was shrouded with superstition of missing men who had ventured too high, was loathed, feared for the he-bear who prowled its awesome spaces. Like his mountain home the grizzly was majestic. Eight hundred pound Titan, he was the supreme power among animals. Eight feet tall on powerful hind legs, his call would fill the big country and meadows below warning of his dominance and perpetual anger. Nor did he like Man, or male lion from the nearby box canyon constantly urged by his mate to reclaim old territory from the he-bear. There had been friction between bear and cats since their arrival four seasons ago. Dismissing his enemies, he hurried along the wind line, the heady pleasure of his old female’s smell strong in his nostrils. She would be with the two cubs. Unlike other males, he loved his family. Above, a female eagle planed over the valley surveying winter’s legacy and land creatures eluding the he-bear. She’d watch awhile before collecting her mate: like the bear, she too had opposition in the box canyon where her mate flew with a new female from the south. Cresting a rise the grizzly bounded into the pine forest tottering on the steep approaches to his mountain. Totally his mountain! Born there, he had lived, loved and hunted through the seasons there, and one day would lie down and rest there. Forever! But today he was jubilant as spring fever arose from the ashes of winter: thawed ice and snow promised an abundance of fish and beaver and tiny the tiny roots he craved, but most of all the return of his mate and cubs. Stopping to fish in the creek dissecting the scrub below the mountain, he became excited at the thought of seeing her and the cubs. He knew they’d come to play here below the big timber and his mountain home. A stiff wind flung their scent. Growling approval he galloped off, his great bulk hurdling nimbly over the fallen pine. Moving to the far edge of the forest where the ground fell sharply into a narrow defile bordering the scrub, he stopped at a familiar odour: Man with his loud instrument of death was stalking his family. Off wind line they would not detect his smell. Climbing a tree, he saw them romping in a fold of the ground farther along the creek. His warning cry was reduced to a moan as they failed to hear. Jumping down he stood on his hind legs, angrily beat his chest with his paws, roar echoing defiantly throughout the valley. Enjoying her offspring his mate never heard. With enormous strides leapt over the defile and bounded towards the fold in the land. Arr

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781465310460
Publisher: Xlibris UK
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 241
File size: 684 KB

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