Monday, July 20, 2009


THIS IS A BEAR. I know, it isn't clear from the picture. But seriously, would you want me to get closer?
So, here is the smartest 'mom moment' of our recent trip to DC.

We were driving along the Shenendoah National Park's Skyline Drive, one of the most beautiful places in the country, when I saw this bear having lunch on a walking trail.
"BEAR! We have to go back, there was a bear down there."
I can't explain why we're so enthralled with the idea of seeing a bear, but we were/are really obsessed with some things. Bears are one of those things.
We drove a little, found a place to turn around and hurried back to the parking lot where the trail started. Off we went, to find a bear.
WHO DOES THAT? Who takes their children and knowingly walks down a trail TOWARD the bear, not AWAY from the bear.
Me, obviously. (note: husband stayed in van)
As we walked we met several other 'bear hunters.' They all informed us, 'Bear down there, on the right, eating.'
On we walked, like the tourists we were.
We found the bear. He wasn't nearly as interested in us as we were in him. He was more interested in finding ants under rocks. From twenty-five feet away, we watched him pick up rocks that I couldn't have scooted.
And still, we stayed? That should have been a real clue that he was strong, and able to do damage to tourists.

Fortunately hunger was more important to him than tourists. And fortunately he didn't look up and think, "Wow, I bet those are tasty little treats. Especially the young ones."
He finally moved away, and we went back to the van. And afterwards I had that moment of realization (afterwards, which is so often the case in my life...that I come to my senses after doing something incredibly stupid) afterwards I thought, "I just took my kids down a trail to face off with a bear. What was I thinking?"
I'm sure that someday I'm going to think ahead, stop myself before doing stupid things, and think through what I plan to say before I say it, and actually stop myself ahead of time.
I'm working on that.
But until then...we saw a bear!!! and it was cool!


Sierra Donovan said...

Brenda, don't feel bad. I would have done the same thing, especially with a camera in my hand!

I worked at Yellowstone National Park for a whole summer in the '80s and never saw a bear. At one time they had gotten TOO common in the park and had Lost Their Fear Of Man (from too many people feeding them marshmallows, etc.). So the rangers moved the extroverted ones to the back country, and well ... bears were a rare sight.

So, congratulations!

brenda minton said...

We went to Yellowstone in the mid 90s and never saw a bear. And we really want to. I don't know what it is about those bears!

Jessica said...

What a cool story! You were probably fine. We went to yellowstone too, and in the evening had to stop on the road along with a whole bunch of people because there were buffalo crossing. Some people got out and took pics. Then the buffalo got mad and started pushing their van. No kidding. But it was both scary and cool. I think it's awesome that you took your kids to see the bear. :-)

brenda minton said...

The sad part is, I was probably more excited about the bear than my kids were.