CacheCrazy.Com: A Tale of Two Bears

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Bears

One evening, a few summers ago, I went on a hike.  I had scoped out Winds of Change for a week or two prior to that day, and decided to head up to the barrens in Bear Creek.  I enjoyed the hike to the cache, and made the find pretty easily.  I took a moment to take in the view, standing in awe of the windmills, then proceeded to head back.  I was still new to the game at this point, but this walk felt similar to others I had made after a cache find.  This time, though, I was chasing daylight, so there was no time to dilly-dally.

About half-way back to the location of stage one of the multicache, I stopped dead in my tracks.  Standing about 100 feet up the narrow trail was something I was not prepared for...a black bear cub.  I once had a run-in with a bear-as a boy, at scout camp.  This was a different story, though.  I knew where there was a cub, a protective mama bear was sure to be lurking close.  So, the question was, how the heck to I get out of this predicament.  I HAD to take this trail back to the car.  Darkness was quickly setting in, and being unfamiliar with the terrain, I needed to make my move.  I didn't have a whistle, or similar noise-making device.  I figured the next best thing would be to distract the bear.  But, how was I going to do this?  I had to improvise.  I found the largest rock I could throw for distance, and chucked it into the woods, away from the cub, but well within an earshot.  Much to my relief, the cub heard the rock, looked around, then took off into the woods on the other side of the trail.  I waited a moment, then continued down the trail.  It was dark by the time I got back to the car, but I took solace in the fact I found the cache and avoided being mauled by a bear.

Mama bear?

A few days ago, I hit the Sussex Branch Trail at lunch to pick up a few caches.  I found one of the caches I had originally set out to find.  Another was inaccessible due to a blocked trail.  I decided to search for a different cache on my way back to the car.  The cache description stated the cache was "better seen from below, but retrieved from above."  Alrighty then.  I proceeded to make the short hike up the hill, and was about 75 feet from the cache, when something caught my attention.  At my feet was a stuffed bear.  My initial thought was how incredibly bizarre it is to stumble upon a stuffed animal in the woods.  It's something right out of an episode of the TV show Lost!

This awkward moment in the woods brought to you by the DHARMA Initiative.

I'm glad the cache I was searching for had a bear theme to it.  So, instead of making a beeline back to the car, for fear the Others are going to get me, I picked up the bear and proceeded to GZ, where I found the rest of the cache.  Seeing as it was so far away from the container, I'm guessing some animal (not stuffed) found the bear and decided to use it as a chew toy.  I placed the bear and container back in a manner which I believe the cache owner intended, then headed back to the trail.  I took a glance back, once on lower ground, and saw the stuffed bear staring me down.  It's equally as creepy perched there in its semi-cavernous home!

The moral of the story?  While in the woods, a bear, be it stuffed, or otherwise, is enough to stop you dead in your tracks!


BigAl said...

Great story. I love being in the woods looking for caches, or anything else. I've had my encounters with bears many times and it is always a sobering experience. I'm glad you found your caches and were okay. If you haven't read my article on "They're back" check it out. I love bears, but I don't want them too close, especially with cubs.


Wow, Great piece! One morning on my way to stashing a cache before work I was 3/4 mile into a one mile hike in and there on the side of the path was a small black bear. I suddenly saw myself being featured in a "This Happened To Me" addition of Outdoor Life. I turned right around like a big chicken and headed straight for the car.
When I returned a few days latter I was still jumpy and looking out for mamma bear. They can be dangerous when they're with a cub/cubs.
I hope someday when a bear bumps into ME, they return the favor and do the same, lol!
Any case, it stopped me dead in my tracks. You are absolutely correct!
Great work.....

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