A Guy Walks into a Bear…

“Holy shit!”

-Guy who walked into a bear (me)

Okay, so I didn’t literally walk into Smokey the Bear (Smokey is brown, and THIS bear was black), but I did see a real live bear once, and not in the zoo or on TV.

It was late June of last year when my friend (I’ll refer to him as Jon, because that’s his name) and I decided to go hiking in Shenandoah National Park. Beautiful place, indeed. Nice scenery, winding trails, and BEARS (spoiler alert!)

So we were traipsing along one of the park’s many paths (well, I was traipsing, while Jon was about ten yards ahead of me because he’s in better shape than I am) when I stopped to take a drink. As I lowered my canteen, I looked up and saw Jon pointing off into the woods.

Puzzled, I turned in the direction he was pointing and saw a big, black something rustling in the brush. It took me a minute to realize that that big, black something was, in fact, a bear.

*Cue the French horn*

“Holy shit!” I mouthed back to Jon. Okay, it was more like a stuttering exclamation, but not a scream or anything.

He signaled to me to be quiet, and making as little noise as possible we just kept walking. I don’t even think the bear noticed us, because it started ambling along in the opposite direction.

When it was finally out of sight Jon and I’s conversation went something along these lines:

“Holy shit, it was a fucking bear!”

“Yeah dude, I about peed in my shorts!”

“A real live bear!”

“None of that Yogi shit!”

As we made our way back to where we parked I saw two women walking towards where we had been hiking. Being the macho outdoorsman that I am, I decided it would be a good idea to warn them of the critter we had barely escaped from.

“Just do you know,” I declared, “there’s a black bear down that trail! Be careful!”

The women weren’t impressed.

“Oh that’s okay, we’ll just make a lot of noise if we see it.” One of them said.

The other one just laughed. “They’re just black bears, we’ll be okay.”

All I could think of after that was “How dare she laugh at me for freaking out about seeing a bear, alive, IN THE WILDERNESS, and warning them about it.”

But, it was just a black bear. Apparently they’re not as dangerous as grizzly bears.

Still counts, though!

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