The Big Bad Bear Story- The Final Chapter
Pure unadulterated terror. Have you ever experienced this in your life? I don’t mean a scary roller coaster ride or a gory horror movie that you watched alone in your house when you were six years old. I’m talking about the type of terror that makes your knuckles white and the hairs on your neck rise. Yes a feeling so horrifying that your whole body becomes paralyzed with fear and you are unable to speak, cry, or scream.
When that grizzly clamped her mammoth claws on my shoulder this is exactly the feeling I had, magnified a thousand times. Suddenly I felt this massive tug as she viciously pulled me in from behind into her enormous body. Her gargantuan arms, wrapped so tightly around my body, I felt like I was going to explode any second. I can’t even put into words the enormous power and strength of this animal because it was unreal. Unless you’ve experienced this yourself (which I certainly hope you don’t) you can’t even begin to understand what this felt like. Now she’s squeezing me harder but then decides to shove me to the ground tossing me like a puny rag doll. Sergey tries to distract the animal by throwing a stick at her. The bear ignores him and continues to go after me. As he nears me, Sergey makes a very loud noise. The bear turns around and looks at him. Sergey makes the noise again. The bear stands straight up and roars with such ferocity that the trees seem to shake. I hear all kinds of vile sounds emanating from her body. Her stomach is growling and now she opens her mouth wide. Not only is she enraged but hungry as well. A lethal combination. She lunges out at Sergey but he manages to avert her by climbing on top of a big rock. He decides to now stand on the rock on the tip of his toes, once again making that same noise with his arms raised above him. (I’m thinking yeah right like that’s going to work) Miraculously the bear backs off thinking that Sergey is bigger than her. I can’t believe it. Maybe I should try that. Well maybe not.
The bear is now looking for me once again. This time I make it up that tree that I had been eyeing before. I hear Sergey yell out to me, “Lee, I’ll be back, don’t move, stay where you are. Stay on the tree.” He disappears somewhere. Now I’m alone once again. The bear instantly finds me sitting atop the branch. Well what did I expect? Bears are predators who are highly skilled at finding their prey. I also know how adept they are at climbing up trees so I start to pray to myself that this bear will just give it up and leave me alone. Fat chance.
She heads toward the tree and shoots me up a look that says “YOU ARE DEAD MEAT.” She attempts to climb but the tree is very thin and she can’t seem to get a good grip. But this bear is relentless and now decides to shake the tree violently hoping to bring me to the ground this way. She shakes and shakes but I’m clutching on tightly. I refuse to go down. If she’s going to kill me she’s going to have to come up and get me. I am going to die on my terms, not hers. This continues for some time. I don’t know how long because time is now irrelevant to me. All the while I’m thinking where is Sergey and Diana? What the heck is taking them so long? Now I’m angry and I’m thinking this is all Diana’s fault. I didn’t even want to go hiking. Why did I let myself be talked into this? I could have been home enjoying my weekend sitting by the TV doing absolutely nothing and that would have been fine with me. Instead I’m about to be torn into shreds by this six hundred pound ball of fur while Diana has just left me there to die. The bear now tries jumping up towards me extending her paws to try and grab me but I’m just high enough that she can’t reach me. Now I lie flat on the branch like I’m sleeping. The bear shakes the tree a little bit more but not with the same intensity as before until finally she stops. I’m still flat on my back and I don’t move. I stay like this for another two minutes. Then I slowly get back up and I see that the bear is no longer near the tree. I’m thinking, yes I won, she gave up.
She heads towards the stream. She is now about thirty feet away from me. She stops and notices my backpack. Near it, is the other half of my sandwich. She sniffs at it, takes a bite, and then another bite. Then quickly she spits it out of her mouth as if she just tasted the most disgusting thing ever. She turns back, looks at me in a very repulsed fashion as if to say, “You dare insult me with white bread.” In fact this was the same exact look that Diana had given me earlier in the day when I pulled out my sandwich. It was so surreal, like I was looking at Diana in a bear’s body.
Once again the bear comes towards me, except this time she is running full speed. My heart stops because now I know I am dead man. Remember earlier when I implied that psychological terror is far worse than physical pain. Well I lied. I take that back. I was just trying to sound brave. I really didn’t want to feel the pain that this bear was about to inflict on me. While she is running she jumps up the tree, grabs me and pulls me down. She lifts me up into her arms, and squeezes so hard I feel my rib cage cracking. Yes folks a real BEAR HUG. Not the kind that you get from your older brother when you’re play wrestling with him at twelve years old. I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of their sockets. She throws me on the ground and tramples me. Now I feel her dreadful teeth on my legs, arms, and fingers. I start to scream so loud that I almost rip out my vocal chords.
All of a sudden I hear a voice, “Lee don’t move, stay still, pretend you’re dead.” I can make out that it’s Diana’s voice but my only concern is to survive so I cover my neck with my hands not wanting her to bite me there. This is when I hear something being thrown at the bear. I don’t know what it is but suddenly she gets off of me and heads towards the object. As this moment, Diana tries to pull me away but the bear won’t let her as he growls at her very fiercely. Sergey then tries but the same thing happens. She is not letting anybody go near me. Then I notice that Diana’s leg is bleeding and her pants are slightly torn. I ask her what happened. She tells me that she had stepped into a bear trap as she was running away from the bear. She said the pain was so intense that she actually passed out. She was lying on the ground for an hour until Sergey spotted her. Now I feel guilty for blaming this on her. She didn’t abandon me after all, and now she was doing everything she could to save me.
A bear trap? What does this tell me? Maybe this bear got loose from the zoo. Yes, that makes sense because there is a zoo in Bear Mountain Park. That had to be it because Grizzlies do not live in this region. Why else would it be here?
The bear now is sniffing the object. I don’t know what it is yet until she takes it out of the bag. Finally I make out what it is. It’s a loaf of whole-wheat bread. She takes a small bite and then a bigger one. She continues to eat away until she’s eaten half of the loaf. Now she’s hovering over it trying to protect it, making sure that nobody comes near it. She’s treating it like it’s piece of gold. She puts it back in her mouth and heads towards me once again. She is breathing heavily, slimy drool coating her mouth. I am frozen in fear. I bend my head down not wanting to make eye contact with her. Then, inexplicably, she makes a half turn away from me, squats slightly and leaves her scat on the ground. She turns back to me as if to say, “This is for you man.” She turns and leaves with the bread in her mouth.
At that moment I had something in common with the bear. Out of sheer terror, I lost all control and also pooped-but it was in my pants. Well at least I waited until the very last moment.
That’s it. The nightmare was finally over. The bear was gone for good. Diana and Sergey drag me away and lift me up to the rock where I just pass out from fear and exhaustion. Needless to say we did not do an overnight. From this day on I have never even touched a slice of white bread. Well not really but I just thought that would sound good.