March 22, 2021

#1 The Right Place At The Right Time

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In our very first episode of THE GOOD ALL AROUND US, Deanna takes us on a journey to the Great White North - Field, British Columbia, Canada. By the end of her heartwarming story, you too will be quite the elks-pert as we learn about our antlered (not horned) friends, the Canadian highway system ("Sorry aboot that!"), and two brave and caring guys (Jesse and Patrick) who just happened to be in THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME.

THE GOOD ALL AROUND US podcast is a celebration of uplifting stories and events from around the world.

Each week, hosts Deanna and Chris Ley will alternate telling stories of good things that have happened to real people all across the globe.

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Hey, Neighbors, it's Deanna. Today, I'm going to be sharing a story that I like to call The Right Place at the Right Time. Welcome to THE GOOD ALL AROUND US. Hi, Deanna. Hi, Chris. Our first episode... Are you excited? I'm super excited! SUPER EXCITED! This has been so much fun putting all this together. It's been fun putting it together with you. Thank you, sweetie. I'm ready to share a little bit about what's going on around here. So our home smells like a fine Italian restaurant. It does tonight. I don't know if we brought in Luigi, and he's in the kitchen as we speak, cooking us something. We brought the finest chefs from Stouffer's, and they're making lasagna. Okay. Yes, it's very... easy. Very easy. Welcome, welcome, welcome to THE GOOD ALL AROUND US podcast. We are happy to have you here. I'm Chris Ley. I'm Deanna Ley. And we want to share with you a little bit of a disclosure before we jump into all this. So gang, we are actually recording this in our home. Correct. So therefore, you're probably going to hear the dogs or the cats from time to time. That's right. We have a lot of them. It's really their house. We just live here. That's how it works. We have our oldest dog, Sandy, and we have a new COVID puppy who's one year old. That's right. We got her right at the beginning of quarantine. Best time to potty train a dog. During quarantine. Absolutely. Her name is CoCo. I give them silly nicknames. So Coco is "CoCo Bean". And Sandy is "Sanderson Pooper". You're welcome, Mr. Cooper! And then we have three cats. We do. And they are... Kiki who acts like a dog. She comes when she's called. She's phenomenal. And then we have Blue, who is as large as a dog... weighs about 20 pounds. And then we have Roo who is the sweetest. Not the brightest. But definitely the sweetest. Definitely not the brightest. of all of our animals. That's our zoo. That's what we deal with every day. So if you hear them while we're recording, please excuse the noise. But we do believe that pets should be welcome here on THE GOOD ALL AROUND US. ...Because what makes you happier than the lick of a dog or Yes, what does make you happier than the lick of a dog? Than petting a dog... or petting a cat... or the dander of a cat. That's right. Alright, moving on. That's our zoo. So full disclosure, we research these stories on the internet, (which I like to call the interwebs) and look for multiple sources. Then we compile our stories to share with each other and all of you. So today, Deanna is the host and I'm hearing her story, this story, from her perspective for the very first time ever. Just like you. If there are some things that are omitted or incorrect, for that, we apologize. You can send us stuff, but we're not going to do anything about it because we're moving on. Movin' on! With all that being said It is time for you to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE. Deanna Ley, take it away. So a lot of great stories start off with someone being there at the right place at the right time. And that's exactly what happened in early 2021. And because of that one lucky elk is alive today. So, let's talk about elk for a second. I learned on the Pedia of Wic Okay. That elk are the largest species of the deer family and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America, Central and East Asia. And then I had to Google what terrestrial means. I know what extraterrestrial means. So terrestrial is "of the Earth". Yes. And extra is "not of the Earth". Extra "of the Earth". More "of the Earth"... more... more "of the outer space". So, it's really cool because they have a life span of 10 to 13 years in the wild, about the age of a dog. Okay. Do you know what the male and the female elk are called? Yes. Bob and Loretta. No. No. The males are bulls. Yeah. Bulls. And then hold on. I know this... not cow... cows? Yes. Yes, actually, that's right. The females are called cows. So babies, baby elks gestate for 200- 260 days. Okay. I thought that was interesting. That is interesting. Males weigh 700 pounds. Females come in at around 500. We've seen male elks. They're huge. They are very large, actually. When you're standing shoulder to shoulder with them, which I would never suggest, ever. Yes. Do not try this at home. Do not say that The Good All Around Us podcast told us to stand shoulder to shoulder with an elk. But the males are 4.9 feet at their shoulder and the females are 4.3 feet. Now, of course, you add on the neck and the head and the (antlers) antlers... I was going to say horns. You knew what I was going to say. This is shocking. Guess how fast they run? How fast an elk can run? Yes. So I know that the cheetah is the fastest land animal. So I'm going to say that the elk can run somewhere around 20 miles per hour. ...40. 40? 40 miles per hour. So it's like driving down a country road. Well, I think I'd be going 70 on the country road. Okay. So they are also known as the Wapiti. And that word comes from the Shawnee and the Cree word meaning white rump. Well, that makes perfect sense because they do have white rumps. And they are the most gregarious of all deer species. During the summer... Gregarious. Isn't that a fun word? It is a fun word, meaning that they are very social. They are very social. Yeah. During the summer, groups can reach up to 400 plus elk. Wow. Isn't that crazy? That is crazy. I kind of remember seeing a really large they call herds. They got to be herds, not packs, Wolves are packs. Herds are elks. Sure. And there's a whiny dog. See. A perfect example. I can remember seeing a really large herd of them when we were in Estes Park. Have you heard of elk? I have heard of elk. Bob and Loretta. I know them both. Yes. We used to live in Colorado, and we would go up to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park. And I think an elk is actually the mayor of Estes Park because there are so many of them, and they can go literally anywhere they want. Exactly. They stop traffic. You drive down the street, a herd of elk will be crossing the road. They lounge everywhere. On the golf course... Well, we found them on the baseball field. Remember that? So we walked up to them. How far do you think we were away? We didn't get right on top of them. We're smarter than that. But we walked up to them. I want to say we were maybe 10, 15 yards away, and they were just laying there kind of chilling because they're really domesticated because they're around humans, like all the time in Estes Park, and the smell. They smell so bad. I mean, they may be pretty gregarious and social together. Thank goodness for that. But they stink. They obviously can't smell each other. But truthfully, here's the real reason why they smell so bad. So the males... it's their musk, right? Yes. So I was going to say that they have a certain scent for a certain reason, but because this is a G-rated podcast, we will leave it at that. My suggestion is Pedia of Wic it yourself and read about it, because that's a lot of fun. You can say it. It may be G-rated, but... They pee on themselves. They do. The males pee on themselves. It gets all in their hair, but it actually attracts the females. and it makes them like them a whole lot more. Well, there you go. It keeps humans away. That certainly keeps humans away. Gross. I know. Okay, so let's get into our story a little bit, but we do have a little bit more background because we have a story that takes place in a small town of Field, British Columbia. Oh, we're going on a trip. We are. Get in the car, kids. Field has a population of a whopping 169 people. British Columbia is a province in Canada, although Field is kind of on the border between British Columbia and Alberta. So it's about 130 miles west of Calgary, which is a pretty well known city. Field itself is a mountain town. It's nestled right in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and it's in the confines of the Yoho National Park. YOHO! That's fun to say. Repeat after me. Yoho! Yoho. Not YOLO. YOLO. Yoho. The Yoho National Park. The elevation in the area is 4,121 feet above sea level. That's pretty funny? Elevation is hilarious to you? It is. Yes. It cracks me up, and the area attracts visitors, literally from all over the world, because of the numerous national parks. If you Google "national parks around Calgary", you'll find about 12 national parks and historic sites all within driving distance. After researching this, I want to go there like today. Okay, maybe not today, because right now, it's very cold, and there's a lot of snow on the ground. In fact, temperatures range from about 5 degrees in December to about 53 degrees in July. So let's plan a trip in July. Okay. Doesn't that sound nice? 53 in July sounds heavenly compared to the 90 something and 90% humidity of St. Louis. I agree. That's right. So anybody else a map geek? Are you waiting for people to raise their hand? Yes. They're all raising their hand. Raise your hand if you are a map geek like me Oh, I see you out there. Hello! Well, I had to Google it. So from St. Louis, which is where we are, it would take 30 hours to drive from here to Field. Okay, so not too bad. North and then on west. You can easily do that. Can't you? Sure I can power through that.. 2, 3, 4 cups of coffee. So it's about 1,874 miles away from us. And just about 74? It's actually 73.9. So, yes. So we can take a trip there. And here's the really cool thing about Field. While it is a very small town, it is a thoroughfare because the Trans-Canada Highway is the only road access to the town. And that highway is very well traveled because it actually connects Glacier National Park of Canada to Banff National Park. Okay, I'm sure, you know, hugely popular National parks. So you have to actually go through Field using that Trans-Canada Highway to get to from one park to the other. Cool. And so, of course, I had to figure out what the Trans-Canada Highway is. And again, the Pedia of Wic did not let me down. So that and other sources told me that the federal provincial highway system that travels through all provinces of Canada from the Pacific Ocean on the West to the Atlantic Ocean on the East is what makes up the Trans-Canada Highway. Now, the main route spans 7,821 kilometers, which for those of us who are in the US using the customary units, it's about 4,860 miles. It's one of the longest routes of its type in the world. And as of 2019, it's actually the fourth longest, only being beat out by the Trans-Siberian Highway, Highway 1 in Australia, and the Pan-American Highway, which is number one for being the longest. And that's really super cool. It's 30,000 miles long. And I didn't know this. It goes Buenos Aires all the way up to Northern Alaska. That's pretty cool. I know... 30,000 miles. That's impressive. But, you know, it's even more impressive. The music that Trans-Siberian Highway puts out each year around the holiday season. Something to listen to, for sure. Well, the Trans-Canada Highway started being built in 1950 and completed in 1971. So while it may be a very cool stretch of road, it's very dangerous in this area because in the winter, this 18 mile stretch has 130 natural avalanche paths. So you're saying that anytime in 130 areas... No, in 18 miles... Oh, in 18 miles, there's 130 natural paths that could trigger and come right down on the highway at any time (at any time) because the snow fall they get, and the fact that it's in this valley, this river valley, you could actually see the paths of these avalanches that start at any time throughout the course of the season. So are they... are they constantly causing the avalanches? Manmade avalanches? avoid that. Yes. So there is a department called Parks Canada that works throughout the winter season each year to make sure avalanches don't happen. And they do this by creating avalanches. So let's create an avalanche to stop an avalanche. But actually, it's very scientific. It's geological, and it's done in a very controlled setting. They use explosives to set these avalanches off, which in turn makes that natural avalanche occur. But what it does is it prevents the roads from being closed to locals and tourists. And more importantly, I mean, avalanches are deadly. If an avalanche came down, it could cover the highway. It could kill people in a moment's notice, and they would be caught in the deadly path, and game over. So they cause these natural avalanches. I can almost hear the Mountie talking to the drivers. Well, sorry, folks. We wanted to avoid an avalanche, so we caused an avalanche. Sorry aboot that. Sorry. Yes. They spend a lot of time and a lot of money making sure that these avalanches are done correctly so that people don't get killed. And because trucks and goods travel using that highway, it has to be clear at all times. Okay. So I'm getting a good picture of what this highway looks like (Awesome) from just all of our travels and seeing all these things, and I can actually see the avalanche paths. Okay. Cool. Scary, right? It is scary because I've always worried when we drove through Colorado and all those other mountain towns in Utah and everything, I was always worried, not necessarily about just the snow avalanches, but the rocks falling. Oh, my gosh. You see the signs. Well, we came around one last time. We were out in Utah. We came around a corner and there was just a rock right in the middle of the highway and lots of swerving. Yes. So it can be deadly. They want to prevent people from getting killed. But most importantly, I think they just want to make sure that that highway stays clear and that it's safe for truckers and everyone involved. So on this day, it was February 3rd, 2021. A gentleman named Jesse Dahlberg (it was just this February?) Yeah. And another friend of his name, Patrick Sengers. They were actually watching the railroad crews, which Parks Canada has railroad crews and all sorts of different types of workers who are working on these controlled avalanches. But they were watching as the crews were getting ready to set off this controlled avalanche near Mount Dennis, which is just west of the town of Field. A few minutes before the avalanche happened, Jesse saw an elk crossing right in front of the slide path of the impending avalanche. Now, first of all, it's rare for elks to be alone, Right! But it was. I mean, thankfully, it was by itself because hadn't peed on itself recently. No. Yeah, because I guess if it had, then other elk would be around it. So maybe it was looking for other elk. Just out for a morning stroll. I don't know, but in an interview with the CBC, which is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News, Jesse shared, "I didn't know how big the avalanche was going to be, so I was hoping for the best. when I saw it. I thought there was no way the elk was going to survive." So picture this. These guys are just getting ready to watch the explosives take off, and then they end up seeing this elk crossing the path where they know the avalanche is going to fall. And so they were a little freaked out. I mean, they're like ...well, yeah, absolutely. They're like, he's in trouble. ...he...she? She not sure what type of elk it was. Okay, so they didn't describe it wasn't a male or a female. They didn't say that. I believe it was a female because they did not say it had horns. ...Antlers! But here's the thing. The avalanche went off and the two guys watched, obviously in horror as the elk disappeared from their view. And, quote, he said, "The wall of snow caught up to that elk so fast, it just blasted it." You've seen videos of avalanches and how incredibly fast there. I forget the speed that an avalanche typically goes downhill, but it's probably over 90 miles per hour, right? I mean, it's got to be flying. I did not look that up. That would have been interesting information to find. Obviously, they're not going to stop an avalanche just because an elk is in the way. They didn't know the elk was there. But these guys did. And so here's the thing... And this is what I absolutely love. These two men knew right then and there that they had to go see if the elk survived. So the avalanche settled. Everything was fine as they made their way up to the debris trail. They were shocked when they saw sticking up out of the snow. And this is like, to me, it would be the most (gasp!) moment in the world - they saw a nostril, an eye and a brown tuft of hair. Awww.. Poor baby. The rest of the elk was completely buried in the snow. I mean, can you imagine how scared that it was? It had to be scared out of its little elk mind. So he said, "I could tell it was alive. It was looking at me. I could see its nose moving. (with its one good eye) It couldn't move. It was in that snow like concrete." I'm sure it was compacted all around it. "It was alive, and I wanted to save it." So they sprung into action! Jesse started digging the snow right away from the elk with his hands. Can you imagine just like shoveling snow? And of course, they weren't prepared to do this very much, but luckily they had a shovel in the truck. So Patrick went back to the truck to get the shovel, and they worked really fast to free the elk, knowing that every second counted. I mean, it's probably been... I don't know how long it had been since the time the avalanche went off, the snow settled, the elk was buried... but they knew that the longer it was trapped in the snow, the less likely it would be to live. Yeah, because even though the nostril was exposed and it could get air, it had to be compressed. Oh... the weight of the snow, for sure. Yeah. Poor baby. According to Avalanche Canada, the survival rate for humans fully buried in avalanche is around 90%, but that's as long as the victim is found within 18 minutes. So a human found within 18 minutes is going to have a high probability of survival, right? Exactly. But this is pretty scary. The chance of survival falls pretty quickly past that point, reaching just 30% for victims buried up to 40 minutes. Okay. Hypothermia ...lack of oxygen. Exactly. Imagine being compressed and not being able to breathe and not being able to dig your way out. Yah, you probably can't even move your arms when you're that compacted in, right? Not at all. Time was passing quickly, and the men were determined to free the elk, so they worked as fast as they could, digging away the snow while at the same time trying to keep the elk as calm as possible. Now, here's the other thing, elk are not friendly creatures. So here they are, digging this elk out. The elk is freaked out. They're probably freaked out worrying that the elk is going to get free and hurt them. Right? I was going to say, get a paw loose. That's not right. They have hooves.... but thankfully, within 15 minutes of getting to the elk itself, they managed to free the animal's hind quarters, and they were able to remove enough snow to give the elk a shove. Oh, my gosh. It could have kicked them and killed them. I mean, I think everybody was in shock at this point. So thankfully, to both of the surprise of the gentlemen and the elk itself, it stumbled out of the snow. And this is awesome... "So I put my arms up and started cheering because I was so excited that it was alive. The whole time I didn't know if its back was broken or legs were broken. I was so happy," Jesse said. Then... listen to this... The now free elk walked a few feet away from the gentlemen. ...and stood there staring at them. Oh no, it turned around? It turned around as if to say "Thank you!" And I do have a photo of that that they happened to snap, and I will put that in our neighborhood community. Oh, my goodness. I can't wait to see it. And as Jesse and Patrick turned to leave, the elk watched them as they walked away. How cool is that? I know. You would think that it would just run away for good, but it really did turn around to thank them. It really did. And the picture literally says 1,000 words. I love that story. So Jesse shared how meaningful it was to him to be able to help save the elk, knowing it never would have survived without them being there at the right place at the right time. What a great story, Deanna! Look at you pulling an animal story out for the first one. Well played! Everybody loves an animal story. Who doesn't! Jesse and Patrick good on you for taking that action and hopping in there. What are the odds that the elk was even that high up on the surface of all of it? I mean, it's like astronomical that all of this was happening. They were there watching. That they were capable of going into it. It was meant to be. Very meant to be. And you know what, Deanna? I'll tell you what impressed me the most about this story. I think you've become quite the ELKSPERT. I would say I am. If you need to know anything about the Trans-Canada Highway, I'm happy to share that information. Sorry aboot that, folks. Sorry aboot that. Great story! I loved it. Thank you. I can't wait to hear yours next week. Oh, yah, mine's coming up next. I'm working on it right now. I'm excited for that. It's going to be different. There will be no elk. That's okay. That's the beauty of what we're doing here. The beauty of what we're doing is we're bringing the finest stories from around the globe. And it can be about elk or can be not about elk. And either way - good because I do not want to be hamstrung into only elk stories - But either way, we guarantee it's going to make you smile. It's going to make you laugh. It might even make you tear up a smidge or two along the way. But regardless, we know we want to help you HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE. I love it. Great story. Thank you, Deanna. Thank you, Chris. Excellent. Hey, guys. If you liked that story, please let us know. Go to iTunes (Apple Podcasts). Give us a five star rating. You could say, "I really enjoy elk" or "Elk have hooves". Whatever you want. But a five star rating would really help us to get up in the chart there at Apple. And if you really, really like us. What can they do, Deanna? They can go to Patreon and become a Neighbor in our community. We'd love for you to move in. We'd love for you to join our private Facebook group and support THE GOOD ALL AROUND US. There's all sorts of cool things for being one of our Neighbors. I can't wait for you to borrow our mower. That's right. All the links for all that stuff is down in the show notes so you can click on those and easily get to that. And finally, most importantly, probably of all, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to the podcast. So you get all of the new episodes when they arrive. That's right. That's right. Well, I hope you enjoyed this. I hope you were able to HAPPY UP YOUR LIFE today. Great story. Thank you for joining us on THE GOOD ALL AROUND US. Bye, everybody. Have a good, good day!