Stories From The Tamaracks:

'I Remember When...'






A Tamaracks Lodge pack train crossing a stream while on a hunting trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in the early 1940's. The dude in the left front has his legs elevated to keep them dry. One of the packers, center, is leading a pack string. At the far upper right Ken Demmons, the Tamarack's manager and guide, is leading a pack horse. Photo Courtesy of Tom Demmons.

October 12, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Stories From Long Ago About The Tamaracks of Seeley Lake Compiled by Jack Demmons

This is Part 7 of a series of articles about The Tamaracks Lodge which were prepared by Tom Demmons, son of Ken and Valle Demmons, who were long-time residents of the Lodge and helped manage it through the years. Part 7 contains stories told to Tom by his uncle Frank Anderson, who had taken over the Seeley Lake Post Office and was managing Kenny Freshour's store while he was in the Navy. (Frank had married Allie Demmons, Ken's sister.)

Now one autumn day there was considerable action at The Tamaracks. I was standin' outside the Lodge when a bear cub wandered into the area. One of the dudes, along with his small "weenie-dog" started chasin' it. Up a tree the cub went a bawlin', and then from around the corner of one of the cabins comes the mama bear. The dude didn't have a chance to run away and up the same tree he goes, followed by the cub's mother, whose teeth are clickin' and snappin'. The weenie-dog is a yelpin' and carryin' on between the legs of the dude's wife, who is out on the porch of their cabin screamin' bloody murder.

Now Ken was in the Lodge and heard the commotion. Out he came with a rifle and fired two rounds into the air - he didn't want to kill the bear. Those bears must have been real gun shy, because the mama bear suddenly forgot about a free lunch and came boilin' out of the tree and ran off a short distance, then sat down on her haunches, eyeballin' us.

The dude is down in short order and hits the ground a runnin', and right behind him on the other side of the tree comes the cub, bark flying, and he takes off for his mother, who is now standin' on her feet a roarin'! The two bears then decided they had more important business elsewhere and headed out to the south. That was the last we saw of them. God, what a scene! Later, when I told the story in Seeley Lake I laughed so hard I almost collapsed.


[Jack Demmons remembers a time when his cousin Ken visited their home at Piltzville near Bonner - Jack's dad, a life-long logger, was Ken's uncle. Ken had taken a group of hunters into the Bob Marshall area, and on the second day he and several of the dudes were on a trail along the South Fork of the Flathead River, southeast of the Big Prairie Ranger Station, when a grizzly suddenly reared up out of the brush right next to him. The horses were spooked, but Ken managed to fire one shot and hit the grizzly, which rolled down the bank to the river and then swam across it. After the bear got out of the river Ken fired once more and that finished the grizzly. Jack remembers Ken saying he had had several encounters with grizzlies through the years, but that was his closest.]

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