Bears are a constant topic of conversation in Tahoe. Great effort is put forth to educate new visitors, as well as to re-educate long-timers and residents, of the importance of bear safety, proper trash storage, and the like. Rightfully so.
With that said, there are amusing moments that we share with bears – and those moments offer humorous opportunities to make fun of ourselves and share with others; which brings forth this post.
Upon finishing the workday yesterday, I made a beeline to one of my favorite trail heads on Tahoe’s west shore. Starting my run at 6 p.m., I knew I’d have just enough daylight to make it back to the car without a headlamp. What a gorgeous evening! My route was lined with wildflowers, huge cedar and juniper trees, waterfalls, and placid mountain lakes skirted by sheer granite cliffs. With a mile left to run and about a half-hour of remaining daylight, I felt pure endorphin-induced relaxation.
The final mile is a long, straight, sandy double-track, which allows for a runner or walker to see far into the distance. And this is where the next 12 seconds gets funny.
Off in the distance moving toward me along the sandy trail was a male bear of about 400 pounds. He meant business. Not any business with me; just with whatever it was he was doing. My presence at this juncture was beneath him. No time for me. He resembled a schedule-packed business exec. double-timing it down the Embarcadero while checking his iPhone: I have a meeting in 20 minutes. I’m never late. Ever. Out of my way, people. Immediately.
This isn’t Business
Exec. Bear, but they
share some resemblance.
Besides, this bear is much
Anyone reading this can relate to spying an acquaintance on the street you just don’t want to see. So you come up with some crappy attempt to avoid him or her. You don’t dislike this person; you just don’t want to deal. This is how I felt upon seeing Business-Exec. Bear. So as much as I know how to alert a bear to my presence, what was my brilliant train of thought at that moment? Teeth gritted and shaking my fists like a surly troll guarding a bridge, I hissed in angst to myself, “DAMNIT!”. I stood there, having a mini tantrum. He was between me and my car; and I was between him and his meeting.
I know: I’ll hide behind this bush. He’ll never even know I’m here, and he’ll just walk by and I won’t even have to say ‘hi’.
Hiding in the bushes
was not going to work.
Business-Exec. Bear can
smell stuff a gazillion
times better than a
Yep. Nice. In wasting a whole five seconds with devising a stupid idea, Business-Exec. Bear was now about 60 yards from bumping into me (he was still oblivious). Finally, I latched onto the few remaining cells of logic swimming around in my endorphins. Plus, adrenaline had now arrived to my brain’s party. My next thoughts:
Great. It’s just the two of us… I don’t want to be mean… god, this is totally awkward. I have to say something.
So I stepped into the middle of the trail, flailed my hand to wave, and said “HI! HI THERE!”. Business-Exec. Bear stopped abruptly. He craned his neck as if to get a better look at who the hell was yelling in his direction, thinking to himself: Who is that flailing klutz? Do I know her? OMG, I totally don’t remember her name… I am just going to pretend I don’t know she’s talking to me and go in a different direction.
And off he went. In the end, Business-Exec. Bear didn’t want to deal with me more than I didn’t want to deal with him. He was just more honest with his feelings, and just jogged off to an alternate route.
We were mutually cool with it. See you next time, Business-Exec. Bear.