Bear Encounter

Last stop on my US National Park tour was a big one….. Yosemite.

Driving in through the south entrance at 7:15am and peering through Tunnel View, the first sight is the monstrous El Captain looming straight ahead. It smacks you in the face. Right away you know this valley is special.

It’s hard to choose which trails to conquer but they all lead up towards the towering peaks. My combo of choice was the popular Mist & John Muir trails leading to 2 iconic waterfalls – Vernal & Nevada. I thoroughly enjoyed my 10 miles here and looking up at Half Dome I know I have to return. It is another 6 miles to the peak but closed during winter months, as the cables that make the trek possible for the last .5 mile push are already gone. Someday……

Upon my return to the valley, I tally up 6 more miles by seeing Lower Yosemite Falls (which is dry currently but still picturesque), Cook’s Meadow Loop & the base of El Cap.

Besides a couple granola bars on the trail, I hadn’t eaten much else of substance all day because I wanted to squeeze in as many hikes as possible prior to the early sunsets now with daylight savings. So I packed up my “go to” meal of tuna on tortilla wraps plus Pringle’s and figured I would have time to eat while watching a few late day climbers attacking El Cap.

The short .4 mile trip seemed easy enough and I still had twilight to get back to the car. Standing at the base of this giant just made you think. I laid down just so I could look up without craning my neck. Just wow.

Needless to say, daylight was fading quickly so I decided it would be best to start heading back even though my tummy was still growling. (It still amazes me that I don’t weigh like 100 lbs). I’m making good time then I stop dead in my tracks and see 3 sets of beady eyes staring at me from about 25 yards. Ummm….. the bear spray I bought is sitting in my niece’s room near San Diego because I can’t take it on the plane home. I am fortunate they were all babies and just playing, as they kept on moving on their original path.

Crisis #1 averted.

So I continue back to my car with a little extra pep in my step. Then…… I see big brother bear staring at me in the middle of the path. He is walking slowly towards me at the trail crossroads, so I continue walking toward my car route. My heart almost lept out of my body. What do I have that I can use to defend myself? A big rock maybe? I didn’t have any granola bars left to throw at him.

But I tried to play it cool and started walking a little faster and turning my head every 5 secs to see where my new friend was. Luckily, he was moving slower than my pace and as soon as I hit a bend in the trail and he was out of my sight……I ran like hell back to the car!!!

Crisis #2 also averted.

My last thought……. what if I had opened that tuna package??!!??

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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