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It's amazing how fast the brain can function when put into certain situations.
I have spent the past 4 days with a couple friends in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, which is part of the San Bernadino National Forrest. The first three days were really nice, a great strenuos hike into our campsite, and then we pretty much just lounged around for the rest of time taking short day hikes from there. I have a more detailed "play by play" journal of my time that I will post later after I get a chance to transcript it from the paper into the computer, but for now I want to share the most exciting part of my trip.
The first couple nights I spent sleeping inside a tent with Bob, I don't sleep very well or very late and the tent itself wasn't really designed for someone in the 6'3ish range as I am. I decided last night to sleep outside the tent in just my sleeping bag on top of my thermarest. My 20 degree bag was sufficient for the mid 30s nighttime temps that we were having up at the 7500' elevation camp. Also there were almost no bugs whatsoever during our trip, so I wasn't worried about getting eaten alive by mosquitos, which is usually my main reason for not sleeping outside the tent and under the stars. Along with myself I convinced Chris to sleep outside with me. I don't think she has ever slept directly in the elements before so she seemed geniunely excited about charting new territory. We both tossed and turned most of the night, every once in a while giving up and having short conversations, then falling back to sleep.
Sometime during twilight I was softly woken up by a strange moaning/cooing noise which seemed to be coming from the brush probably 20 yards away. It sounded almost like a quail or pigeon and I thought nothing of it. At this time I was laying on my back with only my head outside the sleeping bag. Chris was next to me on her sleeping pad completely inside her bag with the opening cinched shut. The weird noise persisted and I was just sitting there enoying what I thought was a bird doing it's wake up call, with the soothing sound of the stream behind me. Far off in the distance, probably 1/2 a mile I heard a dog barking. This was odd because the whole time were were out there in the wilderness we'd only seen one person, and he was on a day hike the day before. It seemed a bit early for anyone to be coming up the trail and I decided for some reason to look up. I tilted my head forward to see that there was full grown black bear about 2' away from the end of my sleeping bag. WOW, ok, WOW, ok, HOLY CRAP WOW.
This is where the speedy brain functioning comes into play. As soon as I saw the bear, I immediately lowered my head back into it's previous spot and here's what flushed through my brain, in the this order:
--There is a bear.
This entire internal conversation happened in less than a second! The human mind is amazing.!
Then I titled my head forward again and looked directly at the bear, who was more or less sniffing the end of the sleeping bag. "GET THE HECK AWAY FROM ME!!!" I yelled at the bear. This scared the crap out of the bear and it bolted away from me. After about 10 yards the bear stopped, turned around and looked at me, again I yelled "GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!". At this point I saw a little cub about 10 yards ahead of the bear hightailing himself out of there, and the momma bear followed it into the bushes. Somewhere between the first and second time I yelled at the bear I pushed Chris and said "Get out of your bag NOW". The bear was already in retreat and I just wanted Chris to have a chance to see the beautiful creature before it disappeared completely into the bushes. My tone of voice, probably due to being hyped up on adrenaline, didn't seem to convey my intended "look at the bear" message, but instead, gave off more of a "There is bear attacking us" message. Chris, noticing she couldn't get out of the bag easily or quickly, went stiff and played dead. By the time I convinced her it was alright, the bear was gone, she might have seen the bear's butt?
For the next 30 minutes I sat there telling her the whole story over and over again, totally shaky and hyped up on adrenaline. All I can say now is that this incident that happened less than 12 hours ago is one of the coolest things to ever happen to me. I doubt I will ever be that close to a wild bear again, unless I'm getting attacked!
AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! Holy Moly! I am sure I would have been scared out of my wits! I am not certain my brain would have functioned quite as efficiently as your did :) You are SUCH A BRAIN CHILD! And I am happy that you are my dear cousin! What a neat experience- although I am very thankful it happened to YOU and NOT ME :) M~
Dad and I are still smiling about this, a terrific memory making experience to share with others for a long time to come. Roy said JJ needs to hear YOUR side of the story from YOU.
Where was Bob during this whole thing??? Hiding in the tent? I can just see it, Chris: appetizer, Ryan: main course, Bob: dessert.
Bob slept through the whole thing, when he woke up and I told him he smiled and calmly said, "That's why I was INSIDE the tent.".
Which is just exactly what I would expect him to say...Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected!
Okay when I got to the part when you yelled at the bear I had to stiffle my laugh. Ryan you are a hero.
I'm laughing, but also grateful you had the cool mindset to just tell the bear to go away. I do it all the time to muggers and sqirrels. Seems to work.
Ha! I'll definitely remember this for a long time to come. But for the record, you didn't need to "convince" me it was alright to come out...you simply needed to unzip my sleeping bag. I was pretty seriously stuck and twisted up in there:)
Umm, who was playing dead and who was yelling? That's what I thought! :)
Your whole, "Get out of the bag NOW" seemed to portray a certain urgency...af if we were being attacked rather than simply sniffed. Being unable to actually get out of my bag, I did the next logical thing. Yelling through the bag at a bear would have drawn attention to myself and would have made me look like a huge talking burrito. I did not want to be a burrito;)
You two are cracking me up...and giving me more gray hair...I am just thankful you are both here to tell the other side of the story!
Chris, you couldn't be a burrito if you are the appetizer...you would have to be one of those mini sausages or something like that.
A "Little Smokey" perhaps?!
How about a pig in a blanket?! (I always loved those things!)
Your picture is cracking me up. Even though it's a bit creepy.
That is some funny ish...I prolly would have petted him though.
I might have petted him if he'd gotten closer, if petting means punching in the nose! lol.
I'm glad you are okay. You are very brave. I would've just peed. ;-)