That’s no BEAR… That’s a GRIZZLY!!

 

Clever of Shelley to perceive that the smaller of the two bears is the cub… the cute, round, oversized ears that need to be grown into is clearly the give-away here… and that’s right, Cherry, make sure tht Shelley RUNS so that the bears can give chase and Mother bear can teach baby bear how it’s done- how we keep bellies full and energy up… but then there are always those misconceptions about Bears and what to do when confronted… climbing a tree is a shaky plan at best, especially when it involves having to beat the bear TO the tree and then actually CLIMB said tree…

Cherry, where’s your damn gun?  You had it when you went running from camp inferno!

content05222013

But Mark & Wes are almost there, and Mark is packing, at least he was before… 

 

oh. look. a. bear. we. better. get. there. fast.

Well, if there was ever a time to over-emote and use REALLY LARGE FONT, it would be, like, right now.  But I suppose not… And Cherry, what exactly ARE you doing with your hands?  Shielding your eyes from the what? The sun?  Given the pallet chosen for these Armageddon quality scenes, I would assume that the sun has been blotted from the sky…

content05212013

I see by the ribbing and the construction that Mark and Wes are traveling in style- the model a-45 Old Town Canoe- which again was stored carefully for the next time the owner of the “abandoned” cabin hiked in.  Won’t they be surprised to find their canoe missing, but I suppose not- not when they don’t take the time to lock it up!

If a thought bubble were to pop up over Wes’s blonde locks, I imagine it would say something like, “You go, Bear! My evil plan is almost coming to fruition, even if it means that I might be stuck out here in the woods, Survivor style for a few more weeks… at least I won’t have to serve that spoiled brat breakfast in bed any more…”

But then we will probably never learn who the blonde in the frame on the bedstand is…     frame

 

Mommy Bear not Happy…

Oops, forgot the Bear family in the Disney/ Bambi Montage the other day… Mommy Bear looking a might pissed off, and Cherry, WHERE is your GUN?!? You had it a couple of frames ago, and now there isn’t even a glimpse of it!

content05202013

It would seem that Shelley really has only two “looks” (hey one more than Zoolander, but OK, then…) 1) The “I am pissed and deprived and my cell phone doesn’t work” and 2) “I feel a massive migraine coming on,” an example of which is being displayed nicely in Frame 2…

But guess what?  The Canoe won‘t hold all of you!! Ha!  This will force them to play the “cannibals and missionaries” game trying to see how they cross the lake without getting eaten…  only this time it has to do with Bears and other top predators being chased to the lake shore by the massive forest fire!

Best. Trail. Ever.

Wow!  That’s going to leave a ‘mark’ (Trail that is, heh, heh…) Take THAT, Shelley!  And for all your city slicking, cell phone checking, outdoors hating ways!  Stupid?  Who or what are you calling stupid, bitch?  I tell you I am in control here… as if my auburn highlights don’t send a strong enough signal!  I am the ALPHA! Take heed!

content05182013

Do you think Cherry is really sorry?  I don’t.  I think she’s been wanting to bitch-slap Shelley since the night she had to serve her dinner at Lost Forest and play “The Good Wife” while Mark and Wes played “Hide the Bowie Knife…” under the table during coffee and desert… So STAY CALM, Shelley.  Your histrionics, told-you-so’s and recriminations are NOT going to save our sorry asses from the Wolf/ Moose/ poor camping fire/propane stove configuration decision resulting in a conflagration situation…

 

Run, Bambi, Run!

OK, so a while back I was suggesting that what was needed here was a little “Disney Magic…”

What I had in mind were flying cars, maybe a pumpkin that turns into a coach, anything to help out our intrepid campers…  But instead we get a scene right out of the Disney Classic, “Bambi,” where ‘evil man’ has set the forest aflame and the animals, large and small, of all possible genus, are sent running for their lives…  Or did the artist simply go to the “Mark Trail animal clip art collection” and start to cut and paste?  I mean, really? What do we see?  Grouse cavorting with Raccoon shacking up with White Tail?  Not likely…

content05172013

And as Cherry and Shelley head toward the lake, possibly to choose a fate of drowning and hypothermia over being fried to death, we see that Cherry had the foresight to put a jacket on and grab the ol’ Peacemaker.  Apparently Shelley only brought one outfit- the obnoxious green slacks paired with purple shirt…  I wonder if she had time to throw on all the layers, including that itchy turtleneck sweater?

But did she grab her phone?

The sun never sets on… MARK TRAIL

Apparently Wes crashed the sea plane in the land of the midnight sun… given the immediacy of his “did you hear that?” comment, and the fact that the ladies were still snug in their beds at night when the 20-pounder went off, and the fact that it looks like they are paddling in full daylight, once again is making me question the whole space/time continuum in the Trail-verse… And where there’s smoke there’s what, gentlemen? FIRE! And again, what’s with the stubble on Wes’s face and the not-a-whisker on Mark’s?  Must be that Mark took a pledge to A) always have razor and B) use razor even in the direst of circumstances…

content05162013

And rather than being on a lake (or up a creek) without a paddle, looks like the abandoned cabin came complete with a sound canoe and TWO paddles!  Oh what good fortune!  I see that Mark has taken the forward position in the canoe- the POWER STROKE.  Let’s hope the Wes earned his canoeing merit badge at some point in his outdoor training or else the canoe might not be making the most direct line toward the smoke and fire and their ladies in distress!

I will say that this story line is moving right along…  no drama at the “abandoned cabin…” only a mere way-station  to carry the men back to where the real story is.  But did they leave a note for the cabin owner? Any journalist worth his press card should have his pencil and notepad handy… let’s hope Mark had the decency to leave his calling card to inform the owner of who filched his property, and under what circumstance…

Well, there goes the lifetime membership to Smokey’s Club…

…with all honor and privileges… The Trail clan will never live this one down…  I smell cover up in the making… a “wildfire,” no doubt caused by a lightning strike, will now proceed to consume thousands of acres of otherwise pristine habitat… oh the homelessness that will ensue!  The carnage!  The loss of life!  And that’s not even counting the people involved!

But what of the shrapnel produced by the exploding 20-pounder?  I mean, really, that should have torn right through even the heaviest of canvas tents and spoiled the pajama party!  Not that I am wishing, mind you, but one would think that the blast would have gone out concentrically and not given either of these silly humans the slightest quarter…

content05152013

 

Again, this is a pretty dark story as all Fans of Mark Trail must by now admit…  “When Good Camping goes Bad” is probably the working title for this story line.  So while Valhalla burns, Mark and Wes are cozy in their little found cabin by the lake… will new characters be introduced?  What if the cabin isn’t truly “abandoned” as Mark seems so sure to think…  Oh the mind races!

They said together…

No waiting in aisle 3!  Step right up, ladies, let’s get you checked out!  BOOM!  Apparently the writers did their own YouTube research- what exactly does an overheated 20# tank of propane do when introduced to heat?  Produce a thundering explosion complete with fireball…

And together they both exclaim, “What in the world is that?” Really?  No “What the’s…”? But maybe that exclamation is reserved for Mark himself…  Since Mark would never let the F-enheimer fly past his lips and since we are rarely given a chance to see what is going on in the private Trail-brain, we now imagine what the missing word is!

But back to the story, dark and getting darker…  if the objective was to introduce Shelley to the “great outdoors,” and get her to like it, it would seem that this is only going from bad to worse…

content05142013

Such a look of abject terror on Cherry’s face, though, the like of which I doubt we have ever seen.  Could this be the end?  Could they be stranded in the woods, only jammy-clad and helpless?  Will they all make it back alive, or will Doc now have to raise Rusty?  What of Mark and Wes?  Surely this explosion and fireball will be seen from almost anywhere in the time zone… And did Wes file a flight plan?  Did Mark take out a camping permit?  Surely there are administrative bread crumbs that would lead people to them once Big Brother notices that their plans have not been maintained…

Kaboom!

But Oh Boy!  Who could have seen this one coming?  Cherry Trail!  Fire still smoldering???  And I though you knew the Outdoor Code!!  Certainly you know that an unattended campfire needs to be “cold to the touch!”  And to have set up the camp kitchen in such a way as to may this even possible…  propane next to fire-ring… NOT!

content05132013

At least this answers the question as to rooming arrangements (I would say tenting, except that the cot/ mattress/ pillow/ pajama/ headroom configuration would not support such a notion) … what, no mint on the pillow?  I won’t even go into the whole ‘weight of equipment’ issue, since I am sure we are all tired of that by now… but really???

And there’s Shelley, all Eeyore-like… arms folded, bent over in despair… were they roused by the ruckus, or has she been moping all night on the edge of her bed??

But for those who are curious, and I suppose I am, there are any number of YouTube videos of “Propane tanks vs. Campfire/ .50 Caliber, etc…”  Why am I not surprised??  This should create quite an explosion if the “smoldering fire” is hot enough…

* * * From Uncle Lumpy at Comics Curmudgeon * * * 

Gah, how much stuff do these people take “camping”?  I realize they flew in by seaplane and Shelley likes her comforts and all, but here we’ve got full beds with mattresses and pillows, a cookstove with a 20-pound propane tank, not to mention table, chairs, canopy, rods, waders, and creels, plus Mark’s no-doubt impressive armory. And look at the size of that tent — I bet you could bowl in there.

Thank goodness Shelley and Cherry found room to pack their matching tailored Bettie Page loungewear, adding a note of retro luxury to the idea of “roughing it.”  Anyway, as soon as all the baggage and trees burn up in the coming forest fire, it will be refreshing to see Shelley save the day with a quick call to the rangers from her much-maligned cell phone.  After their ordeal, none of our adventurers will stray beyond two bars of reception ever again. It will make a GOOD story!

And the chase continues…

… apparently for hours now… maybe even days…  weren’t the wolves in hot pursuit of the moose calf at least a day ago?  Didn’t Mark and Wes get a night’s sleep in after we first learned of the wolf/ moose situation??   Who knows, time is a slippery concept in the Trail-verse.  Poor mommy and baby moose.  Must suck to be preyed upon.  “Just leave me the hell alone, all right?  Aren’t there any mice to snack on?   Haven’t you ever seen the movie ‘Never Cry wolf?’  And now there’s this f-ing metal clangy thing in my way…”

Wonder if the ladies are in the same tent? Whether they set up camp with boy-boy, girl-girl tent assignments…  eliminates any possibility of inappropriate noises emanating at night…

content05112013

At least today we don’t have to look at Wes’s sallow, ashen, sunken-cheeked face or Mark’s overly jaunty cap perched on the back of his head… Or listen to the whiny one elicit random noises about cell phone reception and missing civilization…

And I am still adding up the combined weight of all the crap they have in “camp…” including now a full-size stove and propane tank.  This just doesn’t make any sense.  But then I probably spend too much time thinking about these things…