I know I was going to introduce you the rest of my family, but I got a little side tracked by the topic of bears. I was reading someone's blog about what they were taking to Yellowstone National Park and they mentioned bear spray. So, of course, I did a search on the topic and learned way more than I wanted to know. I was hoping that just maybe, bear spray was used to keep those stubborn little tufts of bear hair in place, but no. Bear spray is mace for mugger/mauler bears who jump out of the woods or field to shred the unsuspecting hiker.
In case you can't tell, my palms are sweating right now, and I'm hyperventilating a bit. I do plan on hiking. I do. I do. I do. That's me building up courage. After all, why bother going to Yellowstone National Park if you are going to hide in the dormitory every day? O.K. I will hike, but I will be as prepared as a devoted internet addict can be. I decided to not trust the official Yellowstone site, because they certainly aren't going to tell me the truth. For some reason I decided to trust the Bear Man at yellowstone-bearman.com . He should know, right? He isn't the "bear cub" or the "bear sissy." He is THE Bear Man and my new best friend.
Reassuring facts, according to Bear (that's what his friends call him.) From 1980 to 2002, over 62 million people visited Yellowstone National Park and only 32 people were injured by bears. That means your chance of being injured are 1 in 1.9 million. Those are pretty good odds, right? More reassuring facts...humans are not preferred bear snacks and only one human has been eaten by a bear. That was an accident, of course. The bear meant to eat the s'mores right next to the screaming hiker, but sometimes even bears make a bad judgment call.
This is really a great fact. Bears, in most cases, attack only if you surprise them. Let's say the bear is just lounging around on his back, humming a little, thinking about the new hot female that moved into the valley, and you, the hiker, leap out of the woods and scream "Boo!" What's a bear to do? To save face, and to cover up that little frightened squeal it just made, it will attack. Here's where you, the hiker, has to make a decision. Do you do what nature designed you to do...run for your life or play dead, like the Bear Man advises? I think in my case, playing dead makes more sense since all the blood would leave my head, my knees would buckle and my brain would cease to function. Hopefully, the bear has read the same article, realizes that he has made his point and decides to check out the action at Old Faithful.
I almost forgot the bear spray. The Bear Man says it works but it should only be used as a last resort. So after you run, faint, throw up, scream and leave something in your panties, you try to unhook the spray from your belt, and point it in the right direction. On the bright side, if you accidentally spray yourself, the bear might just laugh itself to death.
I still haven't decided if I'm going to invest in a $39 can of bear spray or not. I'll let you know about my final decision later. I will leave you with some words of wisdom I got from my internet search. Once you enter the wilderness, you become part of the food chain. Maybe I can get a discount on a case of the stuff.