The Big Bad Bear Story- Part Deux
Now, I am not an expert on bears, nor do I pretend to be, but there was no mistaking that what it was standing just five feet in front of us was indeed a grizzly, the kind that you usually only find in the western part of our country. So what was it doing here and what was it going to do to us were certainly questions that entered both of our minds. One thing I knew was that bears are very territorial. We had just invaded this animal’s space, and she was not happy about it.
We turned around at the same time to look at the bear. There was no doubt that she spotted us, giving us this very menacing look, the way all wild scary animals look when stalking their prey. To say that I was terrified at this moment would be a huge understatement. My heart was beating rapidly, and the palms of my hand were getting sweaty. I knew that she was waiting for us to make the first move. Well, I wasn’t about to play her game because I knew what this would mean.
Diana, however, was getting impatient, and I could tell she wanted to make a run for it. I don’t know where she planned to run to, but I could see that she was slowly getting up. Then she whispered to me, “I have to get to Sergey, he has a big knife in his bag. It’s our only chance.” I have to admit I didn’t like hearing those last words from her. I thought it was too soon to reach that conclusion. I mean, if that was our only chance - we were in serious trouble. After all, I don’t think a knife was going to do the trick. Before I had the chance to tell her that, she quickly got up and ran down toward the stream not saying anything. I don’t know why she didn’t call out for Sergey at this point, but I guess she didn’t want to alarm the bear any more than she had. But her running was enough to get the bear going and now she was chasing after Diana.
Now, grizzlies might appear to be big, burly slow animals but that is not the case at all. They are fast, much faster than humans. I knew that the bear was going to catch to up to her. I had to do something. “Think Lee, think,” I said out loud to myself. I thought about just screaming but I knew that wasn’t going to do anything so I picked up rock and ran after the bear. Right now I had no idea what I was doing. I was acting on adrenaline. The bear was about five feet away from me when I threw the rock at her. It hit her flush on the side of her head. I realized, at this point, “BIG MISTAKE” What the heck was I thinking? A rock? As if that was going to anything. Even hunters with high powered rifles sometimes need two or three shots to take this animal down. All this did was direct the bear’s anger towards me.
So, as she turns around to face me, Diana is able to run away and hide some place. Now I am the one who’s in trouble. I’m shaking frantically. What do I do? I know I can’t outrun this beast. She darts out towards me and I start to run because that’s the only thing I could think of doing. Running away just seems to be the natural thing to do. I feel the bear getting closer and closer. Once again I hear that heavy breathing and that fierce growling. I trip over a rock and fall down. That’s it. It’s over. I’m dead. I am about to surrender as I put my backpack over my face to protect myself. I am lying down completely still, waiting for the bear to eat me alive.
But nothing happens. I don’t hear the bear. Did she think that I was dead and decided to just go away? I slowly get up to see what’s happening. As I am doing this, I see the bear’s shadow. This nightmare has not ended. She is just sitting there quietly, about three feet in front of me. I stare at the bear. She stares back at me. This continues for about five minutes. I try to stay still, but now I just slightly move and the bear senses this right away. She quickly jumps towards me. Now she’s about one foot away from me. I am looking down, too afraid to make eye contact with her. What is she doing? She is just toying with me and she seems to be having pleasure doing it. She wants to see me suffer. Killing me right away would be too easy. I can’t take this anymore. This psychological terror is the worst. Why doesn’t she just kill me and get it over with?
This continues for another ten minutes although it seems like an eternity. She’s taking her time, savoring this moment.
Finally, she slowly backs away from me and heads towards the rock that we were sitting on before. She finds Diana’s daypack and starts to rummage through it. Now I’m thinking to myself, why isn’t anybody here? Why hasn’t anybody passed through? This isn’t exactly an unknown trail and there are usually a lot of weekend hikers who walk through. Where are they? It’s as if they all knew that today of all days there was going to be a bear and decided to just stay home. We were the only losers who didn’t know about this. I knew I just couldn’t stay there because eventually this bear was going to annihilate me. I see a tree about ten feet behind me, and I’m wondering if I could climb it and just rest on the branch. I decide to give it a shot while the bear is busy looking for food in Diana’s bag. As I get up I don’t see the bear anymore. Where did it go? Now I am worried and frightened because I know that it could be anywhere.
I get up and see Sergey walking towards me. He is holding a camera but he doesn’t seem worried or concerned. I wonder if he even notices if there is a bear hiding. Didn’t Diana tell him? I try to warn him but as I do I see the expression on his face change. Now he looks scared. I know that he saw the bear because the look on his face says it all. However, I also know that the bear is now behind me, and I have no idea how close it is, so I just stare at Sergey. He motiones me with his hands to stay still. As much as I want to obey his orders, I am terrified because I know that the bear is ready to maul me at this point.
All of a sudden the bear is standing on all fours. I know this because I see the shadow in front of me. I put my hands over my head because I feel that the bear is about to pound on me. As I’m doing this I notice that Sergey is taking a picture with his camera. (that’s the picture you see on the website) Why he’s doing this I don’t know but this seems to get the bear angrier and now I feel her claw on my shoulder.
(stay tuned for the finale)