Monday, June 10, 2019

Be careful what you wish for

I took Alex hiking in the mountains on Sunday. 
We were looking for adventure.
Alex found some before we even got out of the truck.

Four mule deer hardly constitute a grand adventure,
but it was an auspicious start, and how about that blue sky?

Mindful of recent lost-hiker stories in the news,
I texted Ethel (also known by her real name, Denise) of our plans
so she could organize a search party if necessary.
How one does that from several thousand miles away remains to be seen,
but I felt better knowing that someone would know where we were
in case we got eaten by a bear or something and didn't return on time.

This was my first smartphone-equipped hike, and I was practically giddy
when I realized I had a signal on the mountain. 
I could call or text my way out of trouble if need be.

The plan was to hike the 3.5 miles to the top, then come back down the same way.
I kept Alex on a leash because I always keep her on a leash.
Good thing, too, because we'd occasionally hear a branch snap,
followed by the sounds of a mule deer running through the trees,
followed by the sounds of me admonishing Alex to stop trying to chase the mule deer.

Texting on a hike might be the modern-day equivalent of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.

Alex: Put the damned phone away and let's go home.

The best part about hiking up a mountain? Hiking back down. 

We had about a mile of trail left when we heard a branch snap somewhere off to our right.
I glanced in that direction as Alex got ready to pull my arm out the socket to chase a deer.

Except it wasn't a deer. It was a bear,
a very large bear climbing a tree about 50 yards away, looking right back at us.
And I had no fucking idea what to do.
Walk? Run? Hide? Google for the answer?
I opted for walking quickly and getting the hell out of there
before he could climb down the tree and eat us.
 But I did grab my phone as we scurried by and pointed it in his general vicinity to take a picture
because once a blogger, always a blogger.

Once I was semi-convinced he wasn't chasing us, I stopped and sent Denise another text.

In case we met our demise, she'd have more clues to give the search party.

Hard to say who was more relieved when the hike was over,
but we went looking for adventure and found it, so there's that.


  1. Wow. Just wow. I hike in the mts and foothills 3 to 4 times a week in Colorado and have never encountered a bear.

  2. Awesome. Next time (for there will be a next time) get 2 bear bells, put one on your self, and one on Alex. The bears do not care for the noise. And get some bear spray for emergencies, and... that shit stings YOUR eyes too, but it works.

  3. It was quite an adventure but some beautiful country. It is good to have you back, sure missed your posts. Is everyone ok on the ranch?

    1. Everyone on the ranch is great.

    2. So glad to hear that.


  4. Her little face! Kills me, simply kills. She will go with you anywhere even if you get her eaten by a bear :)

  5. If you see a bear...DO NOT RUN. It gives them prey to chase. Sometimes the best thing to do is stay quiet and carefully but quickly leave the area.

  6. Of course you had your can of bear spray with you, right?

    1. Does it count that I googled it this morning? I'll have some before we go back to the mountains.

  7. Cool! I'm glad it was more afraid of you than it wanted to eat you. I'm also glad Alex was on a leash or you might have had a problem.

  8. OMG. So glad ya'll made it back to the truck safely. Follow Sue's advice and get the bells and spray. Alex looks POOPED.

  9. I was always told to carry pepper spray, a whistle and know the different kinds of scat. Bear scat contains berries, while cougar scat contains pepper spray and whistles. Beautiful hike!

  10. As if you don’t have enough adventure right there at 7MSN!!! :) Love the photos and glad the bear was otherwise occupied.

  11. You are one brave lady! After watching all those scary programs on Animal Planet and National Geographic about people getting attacked by bears and mountain lions, I am pretty sure I would weeny out! I'm glad the hike was a success!

  12. Yessss, I have to say I freaked when you let me know you were hiking in the mountains.( Of course being a million miles away) But I had faith you two would be okay. I’m not sure about the bells...would you want to attract attention to yourself?
    I was out of breath just thinking about it.
    Alex’s face has so many expressions <3

    1. I forgot to sign Ethel

    2. The bells actually let the bear know you’re coming, because they generally want to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them. Another option is to talk or sing as you go.

  13. I needed a laugh, a belly laugh. thanks for sharing your hike with Alex. the belly laugh came at the text fucking bear climbing that tree. i can't stop laughing. that said you are truly a brave person. i love, love, love Alex expressions on her beautiful face.. something for you to think of if you have not. i saw on FB from SPCA that we pet owners should carry a card that says Pet Alert! I have 2 dogs at home alone, if for any reasong i can not commicate, please call this number, on my card i put a local number of a friend and my son in another town... just sayin, for the last two days we have cards in our wallets.

  14. That is way too much of an adventure. You deserve a margarita after that. I'm sure Alex would have chased the bear and kept you safe from attack.

  15. Glad it all turned out so well. So your search party comment got me thinking, I bet you would be floored by how many of your crazy followers would show up to find you! You may be in the middle of nowhere but you found your tribe! Like it or not, we are your people. Loved seeing a new post. Lisa G in TN

    1. You have no idea how much comfort your comment brings me. Truly, I have found my tribe here.

  16. I am glad you left digital breadcrumbs and had a hiking partner, a good plan when you do such a crazy thing as hiking by yourself.

  17. so Denise never answered that text with the bear picture... she must have surely fainted

  18. FUN! Glad you are leaving your digital breadcrumbs and glad you are using it as blog fodder :-)

  19. Holy cannoli!! You know way back in high school when they taught you how to 'analyze' a novel - and you had to explain how a character changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? Well ... look at Alex's expression - beginning - and end. There is a definite super glean in those eyes. She is READY to pull your other arm off just to get a bit closer to that cuddly looking thing climbing the tree! Wow!

  20. Wow, on your and my last hike, we discussed what to do if one of us was bitten by a rattlesnake. I never even considered that a bear was a possibility. Yikes.
    And hahahahahahahaha - that’s just so cool, I can hardly stand it!!
    Denise - were you freaking out at all??