Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Adventure of the Really Smart Bear

I don't have nearly as much to say about animals as you ladies do (though of course I love them) so I thought I might entertain you all with a story I'm pretty sure you haven't heard - the time I met a wild black bear!

Once upon a time my family used to take long vacations to an area to do ALL THE THINGS there are to do in that area. This particular time we were visiting the Smoky Mountains - a section of the Appalachians in the North Carolina area. Well, you can hardly do ALL THE THINGS in the Appalachians without spending some time hiking the Appalachian Trail! And to do it properly (which my family is big on) you really should backpack along the Appalachian trail - that's what it's for after all! At the time I was in junior high and I thought this would be lots of fun, so I was very excited.

As it turns out, it wasn't exactly the fun I was planning on. Hiking is hard work and hiking with a pack makes it harder. So, when we got to the lean-to where we were to sleep, I actually managed to sleep fairly well, despite the hard wooden shelves and lack of pillows. There were two other groups with us - a father and his two sons and a college age guy on his own. The college guy had decided to get up early and walk to a nearby ridge to watch the sunrise the next morning. He took down his pack from the pulley system (to keep things out of the reach of bears, just in case) and less than 10 seconds later he heard the bear approaching. He sprinted back to the lean-to, closed the gate and woke us all up just in time to see this huge bear only a few feet away grabbing his pack and taking it off into the forest. All the kids thought it was really cool - the adults on the other hand were kind of freaking out, since we only had a flimsy chain-link fence between us.

Anyway, we sat around for a few hours waiting for the bear to go away so we could get the guy's pack back. He was really lucky (and the bear was really smart) because somehow the bear figured out how to work the pack's zippers - nothing was badly damaged, and once the bear decided he was done with the pack, we were able to get it back no problem. Still, great story for the grandkids, eh? :-)

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