Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mr. Bear

Sorry i didn't get any pictures to go with my story, but...

I was in the BWCA this past weekend with a couple of friends. We'd put our food up, hanging from a tree while we went out for a daytime excursion - there weren't any trees that were perfect, so we made do by hanging the food pack from one tree and then pulling it away from the trunk by connecting a rope to another tree, so the pack hung between the two.

I was leading our way back, in my kayak, with my two pals in a canoe some distance behind me. Sometime while we were out, Bear had pulled hard on the one rope to break it off the pack and had been having himself a tasty meal. While we yelled and thumped our paddles against our boats and blew our whistles, the bear lay down for a little nap - he couldn't sleep with all the racket, so he ate some more. Eventually, he came down to the water to take a bath and i paddled up behind him and threw sticks and he sauntered up and away from camp. I parked the kayak, had my friends watch my back, and went to investigate. He was about 20 feet back in the woods and watched me quietly as i took the pack down and tossed it to the canoe. Then i took my kayak paddle to urge him further away and he'd sauntered off.

We investigated the damage and figured he must have been an adolescent. He didn't touch the spinach, or papaya, or coffee, or soup. He'd devoured the sweets, a couple boxes of crackers, tons of trail mix, and made a mess of things while he was doing it.

We found a better tree for the pack - one we'd thought wasn't workable previously since the branch was so high, but after nearly 100 attempts at throwing my shoe over the branch with a rope attached to it, we eventually got it hung. I moved my tent closer to their's. We stacked throwable rocks in front of each of our tents. I took off the rain cover so i could see better out of mine - they did too - but don't have the windows i do on my tent. And we settled down to sleep, with our flashlights nearby, after first eating like it was maybe the last time we'd see food.

Mr. Bear came back. Lorrie woke me when she heard something. There he was starting to climb our new bear tree. We yelled and whistled and flashed our flashlights. Our tents were just 10 feet away from the bear tree. And he sauntered off, first walking directly in front of both our tents. We investigated the area to encourage him to keep moving, told him we'd reclaimed our camp and he wasn't wanted. And then while trying to decide if we dared to sleep again or not, we decided to pile stacks of twigs around the bear tree so we'd hear him if he came back. He didn't. And we did get a bit of sleep.

We'd been sort of un-nerved tho and left in the morning. When we got home we found out that Lorrie's mom had died very unexpectedly of a heart attack at about the same time the bear visited our camp the night before. So we decided to not report him afterall. Maybe he was just a messenger. Either way, he got a message to us where cell phones couldn't reach.



Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Thanks for posting the story. Though it is not funny about Lorrie's mom, I still have to chuckle about "Mr. Bear"! :) So are you eager to try again?

Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Thanks for posting your bear story.
Here's a story that was in today's
Brainerd paper. In the Frazee area
there was a bear with it's head
stuck in a plastic jug. For 6 days
they had tried to capture the bear.
It finally came into town and had to be shot.

Today there are 3 large sailing ships coming to Duluth, replicas
of ships from the 1800s. Pictures
in Duluth paper, beautiful with their large sails. dk

Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Yikes! Now that's going back to nature. Happy to hear that all survived(the bear ordeal anyway), even though you may have gotten a little hungry. #9

Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Oh wow, that's quite the story! Sad to hear about your friends mom tho!
Fun to see you on the blog Liz!

Kuoppala's & in-laws said...

Amazing story! You are quite brave to go try scare off the furry visitor! Did anyone have a camera along?