Saturday, March 13, 2010

Will There Be Bears?

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 . 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 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.


rrynearson said...

Judy, I enjoyed your bear post .... very funny! Do what I did, find a hiking partner that has already shelled out the $40-$50 for the bear spray and make sure they always hike in front! Also be sure you can run faster than your bear bait (hmmm ... I meant hiking partner).

Judy said...

Wait a minute....I'll probably be the one with the bear spray! Thanks for the comment. Stay tuned for the real hiking adventures. Maybe you have some tips.

rrynearson said...

Just one ... getting a little serious now ... "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather the number of moments that take our breath away" Have some of those special moments on your hikes and then tell us about them in your blogs! One other thing, it is VERY unlikely you will encounter a bear hiking, much less being attacked by don't get too nervous about that.

Judy said...

Thanks. I love serious quotes. And I feel better about the bears.

TheodosIa said...

And two years to the day later.. I was freaking out over bears. It's my first time in Yellowstone I start May 5th at the lodge. I ordered the bear spray... Also reading "Death in Yellowstone"... Hoping your blog helps me through my 6 months.

Judy said...

Can't believe it's been 2 years. What are you going to be doing at the Lodge? Don't blog about work. I almost got kicked out by the park rangers for some of my comments. Managers in Yellowstone have no sense of humor. Good luck.

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