During our evening with Ron and Kara, we received a tour of their newly-remodeled house. Prominently displayed on the floor of their bedroom (much to Kara’s delight) is a black bear that Ron killed in Canada.

This led to a discussion of a short story I’ve been writing, the climax of which involves the shooting of such a bear. “Aren’t you scared of bears?” Jenn asked.

“Yes, I am,” I said. “That’s partly why I wrote the story. It’s based on something that actually happened: I went wandering off into the woods near Silverton to take photographs, even though the property owner had warned me of bears.”

While I was saying this, I was thinking of Tammy’s bear stories, and of the bearskin her family had in their living room (that skin always fascinated me). I was thinking of Grizzly Man. I was thinking of how whenever we go hiking up Opal Creek, I’m always suffering from a low-level anxiety that we’ll be set upon by bears. (An anxiety which is not helped by all the anti-bear precautions we take.)

Here’s video that demonstrates why I am scared of bears when we’re in the woods:

At least we don’t have to worry about grizzlies:

Here’s a grizzly vs. a caribou (not for the faint of heart):

But, of course, the bears don’t always win. Sometimes the cats win. Here’s a video that’s popular around our house:

Yessir. Bears frighten me. I’d rather deal with housecats, thank you very much.

Speaking of wildlife, there’s a little more to tell about our trip for dinner at Ron and Kara’s the other night. Kris and I keep forgetting to mention this to anyone.

After we had turned onto Miller Road, just before we got to John and Louise’s driveway, a deer leapt a fence and bolted into the road. I braked and swerved (not too violently), and the deer veered to the side. For a few moments it ran beside us, keeping pace with the car. Then we were past it, and we sped off, down into the flats, past the tile factory, and to Ron and Kara’s.

Just a little adventure, but fun nonetheless.

Addendum Since writing this, I’ve reached the point in Undaunted Courage where Lewis & Clark begin to encounter Grizzlies along the Missouri River. Needless to say, I’m frightened for them.

6 Replies to “Bear-ly Breathing”

  1. Dave says:

    Get lots of bear sightings there in urban Clackamas County, do you?

  2. John says:

    The last time I was in the museum at the base of the St. Louis Arch, I was reading excerpts from the diaries of the men on Lewis and Clark’s expedition. One entry in particular stuck in my head… kinda.

    Try as I might, I can’t find the exact text of the narrative. Something along the lines of one of the men (call him Smith) shot a bear – which started chasing him! Smith, in full panic mode, ran back to camp and of course put everyone else in danger. After considerable fuss and a lot of expended powder and bullets, the bear went down. Everybody was mad at Smith as a result.

    The last sentence in the entry was along the lines of “Next time, we will just shoot Smith.”

  3. mrs darling says:

    Yes, we grew up with the bear coming into our orchard for fruit. We trapped three of them and used them for our winter meat. I really dont recall being afraid. But I am now. That movie Grizzly Man scared the pee out of me. I was fascinated with that movie. It haunts me to this day.

  4. jenefer says:

    Wow! That video of the bear killing the caribou is very impressive. Most animals hunt in groups. Just one bear!

  5. SL says:

    If you are afraid of bears that badly and are disrespectful enough to actually enjoy something that garrish on the floor, hike and camp somewhere else. Take up kite flying, anything that won’t have you over reacting if a bear ever does cross your path. There are plenty of places now for you to camp without bears, no thanks to us. Actually try central park in the city of New York, it’s much safer there;)

  6. Ron says:

    Bear skin rugs are beautiful. Anyone with common sense has a healthy respect for bears and does what they can to stay clear of them and has the means with them to kill the bear to protect their own life. I’d rather deal with a bear than what might show up in central park. Bears are more predictable.

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