Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Bombs = NO Bears!
I went to visit one of my best friends in the Canadian Rockies last week and one of the things I noticed while I was there was the many conversations about bears. I heard it all: from seeing bears, backing up slowly from bears, running from bears, spraying bears, hiking in large groups to scare away bears – you name it, I heard it. Maybe it was just me, but it sure seemed that the subject of bears made its way into most conversations, so of course, I started feeling a little nervous about the hikes we had planned to take in “Bear Country”.
This nervousness intensified just a touch on the day we were driving to our Chester Lake hike and my friend Sarah turned to her friend, Torben and asked, “Did you remember the bear spray?”
“Nope. Didn’t you?”
Torben didn’t seem too concerned, Sarah seemed just a little concerned, and I was silently freaking out in the back seat. “What?” It’s like they were playing Russian Roulette with my life here. Were these two people really my friends or was it their plan all along to drive me to my certain violent death? “Let’s see how a little Ohio girl does in the mountains with a big ol’ black momma bear. Ha Ha Ha!”
Obviously, that conversation only played out between my two ears, but I did speak up and calmly inquire about proper protocol upon meeting a bear. When we arrived at our destination, we realized that it had snowed at least a foot, so that alone, lessened the odds quite a bit that a bear would be out looking for food – thank goodness! My friends also reassured me that if we stayed together, chances are we would be just fine.
Great plan - except my little eliptical cardio workouts back home were no match for the three hour uphill climb in the mountains. You would think that the incentive to stay close for my own safety would be enough to motivate me to keep up with my friends, but I always found myself lagging behind. Add to that, Torben - being the man he is - was dropping fart bombs at a rate so great and with a stink so foul that I believe they could have killed an actual bear – strangely comforting, really. Still, every time he dropped another one down my way, my vocal cry of agony was so great that Sarah would actually turn around in alarm, fearful that I had spotted a bear.
I knew I had to find the strength to pass Torben and save myself. My worries were no longer about surviving a bear attack – heck, what sane bear would approach a stench like that? Of course, there’s always the possibility of a crazy bear in the mountains. But, if that kind of odor actually turned a bear on, then I was safe – I smell like roses! Torben, however, would be in big trouble! My new goal now, was getting ahead of the pack and breathing in the fresh mountain air.
I did it! Sarah and Torben had mercy on me and let me lead the three of us to Chester Lake and it was beautiful. The whole hike was breathtaking. I got a little grumpy at the end b/c I was getting tired, but it was totally worth the trip. We never did see a bear that day and I choose to thank Torben for that. Sure, we’ll never know if his stink bombs actually kept the bears away, but if you would have been there with me that day, I’m confident you would be thanking him too.
Still, I would have liked to seen a bear at some point on my trip to the Rockies….
Posted by Sheri at Wednesday, October 22, 2008