I read with some personal interest of the ACR Mountain Lion Project underway with the Bouverie Preserve as its headquarters.
That preserve, formerly the ranch and home of David Pleydell Bouverie, was once one of my favorite fishing haunts and where I spent many nights camping among the beasts of the forest.
David Bouverie was a friend of my father’s. I first met David when my dad stopped by his house on the way to taking me trout fishing in the canyon. I think I was about 10 at the time.
Over the next 10 years or so, he allowed us to fish there virtually anytime we wanted. All we had to do was call him in advance and let him know we were coming. Most often, he was there to greet us as we drove by the house.
David was a classic English gentleman. Early on, he took to addressing me as “young master Lynch.” He was a warm, generous and engaging man and I always looked forward to our conversations.
To get to the best fishing spots, we’d have to pass through several closed gates and wind along the narrow road that wound alongside the creek as the densely wooded canyon narrowed.
We’d park at the lower end and then work our way all the way up to the high falls where the canyon ended.
It was a magical, mystical place, especially where the tall redwoods were so thick that you felt like you were in a living, green cathedral. The creek was small, but ran clear and cold, and there were plenty of rainbow trout in it.
In addition to fishing there with my dad in those early years, my Boy Scout troop had David’s permission to use the canyon for our camping trips. I spent quite a few weekends camping by the creek with my fellow scouts and practicing whatever skills we were suppose to, although often I’d sneak off to do some fishing.
In all those many days and nights in the canyon, when the Valley was much less populated and developed than it is now, I never saw a critter larger than a rabbit.
Not even deer, let alone a bear or mountain lion,
One of the more reckless things we did while camping was to play Capture the Flag after dark. This involved dividing into two teams and then hiding our flags on opposite sides of the creek some distance from each other. The idea was to sneak over, steal the other team’s flag, and then make it back to your base where your flag was, without being tagged. It was a wild and hazardous game when played in dense woods at night.
Still, none of us was ever seriously hurt, or attacked by a wild animal.
Perhaps we were the beasts at that time, and the lions and other beasts simply wanted nothing to do with us.
David’s canyon was a wild and beautiful place that he kept that way by limiting access to a few friends and one small troop of scouts. I’m glad that today it is also safe for sexier, and more interesting, beasts than those that roamed it when I was a boy.