04 October, 2009

death after lunch, and other light tales of fear and woe

today i faced an enemy. outnumbered, outpowered, separated from my mate, i learned the true meaning of fear.* better yet, i lived to tell the tale.

mister monkey and i went to little qualicum falls today, a lovely (though altogether too civilised**) little hike close to parksville.  i had been there over a decade and a half ago and it stayed with me as one of the world's lovelier places. and it was. the lower falls especially. 
mister monkey and i ventured off the beaten path and started a little light rock climbing. at one point early on in the game i sat down and watched him continue to explore little pools and climb fallen timber. knowing my paranoid nature, he'd periodically wave to me to show me he was still in one piece and not bleeding out from an open wound behind a rock somewhere. i'd cheerfully wave back and go back to scratching the coating from my cheap (yet oh so fetching) sunglasses. 

at one point i looked up and there on the log where mister monkey had been standing less than a minute earlier, was mama black bear and her two well-fed cubs. 

panic feels like a punch to the gut. i stood up, hollered and pointed to mister monkey and then the rest is blank.  i do know that before running the hell out of there, i did turn around to take a photo of the furry trio, and then there is a blur of me sliding on my ass off a rocky outcrop, hoping like hell that mister monkey would somehow make it back to me (the log the bears were on, was the very log he took to get from where i was to where he was now). as soon as i hit the base of the path i heard his voice right beside me, urging me on, and he scrambled out from behind a rock safe and sound. the two of use ran like the wind up the path and away from big scary nature. 

when we got back to the parking lot, lo and behold, there was a completely useless guide to dealing with bears. one of the things it said was not to yell and never run, two of the things i did immediately. luckily there was nothing about taking the time for a once in a lifetime photo op.

and ok, granted the bears were never really THAT*** close to us, it was a hell of a lot closer than i've ever been to a bear (nevermind three bears) without a car around me. moving away slowly and speaking in a low monotone was clearly not an option.

neither one of us crapped out pants, though. ain't life grand?

* ok, total bullshit: i know the meaning of fear. its name is heights.
** yeah, the irony, i totally get that. what i meant was an overabundance of old people in chinos and sensible shoes, paved paths and fences everywhere. obviously bears don't mind old people in chinos and ditto on the infrastructure.
*** 15m, mister monkey says

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The bear was more concerned with you approaching her cubs then with mauling you. The Island does not have grizzlies but occasionally one swims over from the mainland in the 'North Island'. On the mainland Grizzlies are North of Squamish and East of Hope. Black bears are everywhere. Welcome to BC.