Will We Be Safe?

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Many people ask me and my coworker if they will be safe on the trail. Mostly, people are afraid of bears. For some reason, my reassurance that they’re more likely to see a rattlesnake than a bear on the trail doesn’t seem to comfort most people.

animals, bears, coldMy kinder answer to worried visitors preparing to walk the trail is that 100 screaming children and 35 barking dogs have already been on the trail to scare the bears away. To visitors who arrive earlier in the day, before the multitudes of screaming children and barking dogs have scared the bears, I tell them the bears in the National Forest are hunted, which makes them timid and wary of people. While some visitors are disappointed by the slim chance of seeing a bear, most are relieved.

Some people seem to want to feel as if they are in danger. Maybe they are otherwise lacking excitement in their lives. When the mountain was nearly deserted due to the nearby fire, a group of Germans arrived at the trail. In addition to demanding the hosts at the campground across from the trail tell them when the electricity where they were staying would be back on (never mind that the campground where they were standing never has electricity), they also wanted to know if the animals were angry. Despite the camp hosts’ assurance that the visitors would more than likely be fine, one of the Germans clutched a medium size Maglite to use as a weapon in defense against a potentially angry animal.

The weirdest safety conversation all season was one I overheard my coworker have with the driver of a truck. Neither the driver nor any of his passengers walked the trail. The driver didn’t even park the truck; he just looped through the parking lot to turn around. Before he exited, he stopped to talk to my coworker.

He only had daughters, he said. These boys in the truck were his nephews, he said. He wanted to bring his daughters to see the trees, but would they be safe from mountain lions and bears?

My coworker assured the driver the girls would be safe. My coworker gave him the rap about the bears being timid and rarely spotted near the trail. (Occasionally my coworker sees a bear crossing the road in the early morning or sees the garbage from the parking lot’s trash cans strewn about bear style.) As for mountain lions, my coworker told the man, there’s never been a report of evidence of a mountain lion on or near the trail or parking lot.

After my coworker told the man the trail is safe even for females, the truck full of men drove away.

What was he talking about?  I asked my coworker. Does he really think bears and mountain lions will attack women but not men?

My coworker just shook his head. He didn’t understand the man any better than I had.

Maybe the driver thought the nephews could defend themselves against mountain lions and bears but the daughters could not. I don’t know. I was very confused, and I suspect this mystery will never be solved for me.

Photo courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/animals-bears-cold-grass-214057/.

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.

6 Responses »

  1. Absolute safety is a myth. Despite what our govt wants us to believe, a safe world is just an expensive illusion. You can trip stepping off a curb, fall, and get run over by a garbage truck. You can choke to death on your hamburger.

    Maybe those guys in the truck were looking for a way to get rid of the girls, and your coworker convinced him that this was not the place?

    • You’re sure right about absolute safety being a myth, Sue. Whenever people at the campground ask me about bear activity, I tell them although I’ve seen no sign of bears in my two seasons there, I can’t guarantee tonight won’t be the night a bear makes an appearance. Dude, if I could predict the future, I would be rich already and not working as a camp host.

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