My family is traveling to Yellowstone National Park in about a month and my mom has been getting a little bit concerned about bears. Apparently, there are a lot of bears at Yellowstone and she’s worried we may run into one. She’s been reading up on bear spray and assures us we’ll be able to get some as soon as we get to the park.
Actually, I guess you can buy the stuff at 7-11 in that part of the country.
I don’t know why she’s so concerned, to be honest. When it comes to National Parks and bears, I have the worst luck.
About ten years ago, Pat and I took a trip to Washington DC. We spent most of our time in the city but for a day trip, we went to Shenandoah National Park. It was a foggy day and unfortunately, most of the views of the valley were obscured.
As we were driving, Pat suddenly shouted “BEAR” and pointed across the road to where a bear was clearly hanging out waiting to be noticed. I fumbled with my camera and took one picture:
As you can see, it is a blurry picture of what might be a bear walking back into the forest. Looks like the butt of a black bear from what I can tell. I’m sure it was a bear but this picture could be used as proof of Bigfoot about as easily as it could be used as proof of a bear.
That would not be my final failed encounter with a bear in a National Park.
A few years later, our family was visiting Yosemite National Park. We’d taken a short hike to Bridalveil falls and we were walking back to the car when my sister-in-law shouted “BEAR” and pointed so we could all see the bear that was currently walking across the path between us and the parking lot.
In order for her to point at the bear, however, her hand needed to be in precisely the same space currently occupied by my face.
So she shouted ‘BEAR” and pointed to the bear walking across the path. In so doing, she smacked me in the face and knocked off my glasses.
Now since her hand struck my face at almost the precise moment she shouted “BEAR,” I didn’t really hear what she’d said. Instead, I was focused on the fact that I’d just gotten smacked in the face and ouch.
Also, where were my glasses?
After a moment of confusion, I realized that I’d been smacked in the face because there was a bear but it took me a while to figure out where the bear was located. Also, I had to find my glasses.
So I found my glasses and grabbed my camera so I could take a picture of the bear.
Here’s the picture:
As you can see, I had once again managed to capture nothing more than a blurry shot of a bear’s butt. Brown this time. Or so it would seem.
This one actually looks a little bit more like Bigfoot than the other one.
My luck with bears and National Parks, therefore, has been successful only insofar as I have been able to look at bears walking away from me and, if one shows up, there is a 50% chance that I’ll get smacked in the face. If mom wants to see the butts of bears, I think she’ll have a lot of great opportunities.
I don’t think she’s going to need bear spray for that, though.
And if anyone shouts “BEAR,” I’m going to duck.