Three Bears (Part 2)

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I’d recently seen my first California bear, and more bear activity was reported in the campground in the next few weeks.

Some young Forest Service employees staying in the campground while investigating predator (weasel) populations in the area left their ice chest outside their truck overnight, even after we (casually) discussed how bears have learned that ice chests harbor good eating. (I’ve been told that if an ice chest musts be left in a vehicle, it should be covered so bears can’t identify it. Bears have broken into cars to get to ice chests inside. The safest way to store food in bear country is probably in a bear canister.)

The Forest Service employees reported they’d heard bear-type noises in the night, so the woman left her tent to investigate. By the time she’d exited the tent, the bear had run away , and everything in the campsite looked fine. However, when they got to the area where they were performing their investigation and opened the ice chest to pull out the raw chicken used to entice the weasels, they found the cooler empty! The bear in the campground had eaten six chicken halves, then quietly closed the lid of the cooler and scurried off before the woman made it out of her tent.

One morning right before I was laid off, a couple reported a bear had been in the area near their tent the night before. They heard the bear trying to get into the (bear-proof) garbage cans, then rolling logs around. By that time, summer had moved into fall, and the bear must have been hungry in preparation for its long winter nap.

I guess I went to bed too early or slept too deeply or maybe just didn’t leave enticing food lying around, because I never heard any bear activity in the night.

I saw bears #2 and #3 on the same evening. I was driving the company truck to the parking lot to retrieve the self-pay envelopes from the iron ranger. I left before dark, but the sunlight was quickly fading as I twisted and turned through the mountain road curves.

Suddenly an animal was crossing the road not too far ahead of me. What was it? It was too large to be a coyote or a wolf. Was it a mountain lion? Then it was fully out in the road, and I realized it was a bear. A bear!

I’d stopped the truck in the middle of my lane (traffic wasn’t really a concern at that time of night at that time of year) and watched it amble across the road. A bear! I was hooting and hollering and pounding the steering wheel. A bear!

This bear was much better looking than the Tom Waits song bear. This bear was black, with shiny, smooth fur. It was smaller than the other bear and seemed to have more energy. I watched it cross to the other side of the highway and disappear into the trees.

I saw the last bear on my way back to the campground. It was almost dark by that time, and the bear was little more than two glowing eyes and the shadow of ears in the trees next to the highway.

I got my wish. I saw bears, from a distance and in relative safety. All of them, even the one with the shabby coat, were awesome to behold.

To read more of my stories about bears, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/04/15/my-first-bear/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/05/28/bearanoia/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/05/11/kids-and-bears/.

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/black-bear-portrait-head-face-1019046/.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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