WARNING: B E A R!!!!
If Wednesday wasn’t enough with my morning piece of hate-email, that afternoon a hike up Liberty Mountain almost ended life as I know it.
One of Marty’s favorite things to do is climb up to the monogram and sit in the gazebo ruminating about how we got to that exact moment and where the next moment might take us. On the eve of giving thanks, he decided that was the perfect afternoon activity and that I needed to join him. Happy to give my Yorkie Joey a chance to exercise, I agreed to go…at 2pm. Somehow, Marty found himself in a string of meetings with contractors that I ended up tagging along for; muttering the entire time about not climbing this mountain at dark.
3:30 we set off with our Starbucks coffee up the mountain. We made it to the gazebo before dusk, Marty made fun of the people who had driven (since we had hiked), and as the sun started setting Marty caught one last picture of it falling below the trees before we headed back to the car. Marty got a call on his cell and went into conversation as Joey and I walked ahead of him; but somewhere into the walk down, Joey began repeatedly stopping to stare intently off into the bare trees. I started looking too. Marty, in conversation, started staring, but there was nothing to be seen.
We finally broke out of the trees and hit the dirt road back to SnoFlex. Just as Marty ended his call, we all heard a loud rustle through the leaves behind us; something was advancing. Joey immediately started barking and went into “attack” mode. The stern-voice came out as I commanded him to sit (instead of chasing after whatever was in the trees) and as I scooped him up I glanced in the direction he was facing long enough for my eyes to meet the eyes of a furry faced, standing on its hind legs, BEAR.
Tucking Joey under my arm like a football I start off down the dirt road.
“What is it? Renee? What did you see?”
“It’s a bear Marty, RUN!!!”
“Where? Where is it?”
Marty reluctantly starts running after me (as I’m leaving him in my dust) still demanding to know where it is and what I saw. For a minute, I thought about stopping to prove to him I had locked eyes with a furry monster, but something told me that bear might mistake that act as a challenge so at the risk being thought “crazy,” I keep running!
The car felt like an eternity away, and Marty eventually talked me into slowing down. We listened for any more rustling in the leaves, but the woods were silent. Still uneasy, I would intermittently run, feeling Joey’s little heart pounding into the palm of my hand and my heart in my stomach.
“It was probably just a deer Renee, stop running!”
“Marty, if it’s a deer, then they’ve started standing on their hind legs and growing a ton of facial hair!”
Somehow, returning to civilization, the memory of the brown beady eyes faded and I began to think that maybe I had mistaken that face. Marty returned home to tell his mom how I ran screaming like a mad woman because I thought I “saw a bear.” I posted on my Facebook, half joking, that we were “chased back to our cars by a bear,” and a co-worker from LU directed me to this:
Caution – Bear Sighted On LU Trail System
LU Police Department
Bear tracks have recently been sighted along 460 below the
Monogram. Please use caution on any portion of the LU trail system.
Information has been received that there is a Bear and Cub(s) on the LU
trail system. Do not attempt to approach.
Information from VA Game and Inland Fisheries:
There are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a bear. In
almost all cases, the bear will detect you first and leave the area.
Unprovoked bear attacks are very rare, and have never been documented in
Virginia. If you do meet a bear here are some suggestions:
Scents and use of perfume or cologne is sometimes an attractant to bears.
If You Encounter a Bear While Hiking:
• Hiking at dawn or dusk may increase your chances of meeting a bear.
• Use extra caution in places where hearing or visibility is limited,
such as brushy areas, near streams, where trails round a bend and on
… • Reduce your chances of surprising a bear on the trail by making noise, talking or singing.
• Make sure children are close to you or within your sight at all times.
• Leave your dog at home or have it on a leash.
If there was ever a doubt that Marty, Joey and I were still meant to be on planet earth…Wednesday proved at least for a little while longer! I have just one question: Why aren’t there SIGNS POSTED???