When Black Bears Come…

Timmy and I went camping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains last week. The second night, there was a bear on our campsite about 15-20 yards away from Timmy. Granted, it was a black bear (not as scary as a grizzly) but stuff definitely still happens!  We can’t control the wild: the weather, the animals, or the terrain. But here’s a few things I learned from my first real-out-in-the-wild, no-bathrooms, no-cell-service camping trip:

Don’t be stingy with money. 

On the way to nature, Timmy and I stopped by Bass Pro Shop to get some bear-spray, bug-spray, and sunscreen. When we found the bear-spray it was a whopping $40. I looked at it and said, I don’t think we need that. It’s way too expensive.” Timmy looked at me and said, When there’s a bear running at you, you’re gonna wish you had spent $40.” We laughed, not realizing or really believing we’d be encountering bears during our two night camping trip. (I limited it to two nights because I can’t handle not showering for longer than that). 

We were wrong. 

Keep Your Cool
img_1407.jpgThe second night we went to a dispersed camping site and there were some scary looking people there. We probably should have just found another site, but we stayed and started an uneasy night of sleep. Around 1:30 AM, car lights shone into our tent. Timmy was up and alert immediately and got up to confront whoever was coming to our site. The car ended up turning around but out of the corner of Timmy’s eye, he caught a silhouette in the headlights: a black bear stealthily moved. Timmy looked at it. It stopped and looked at him, then kept walking. Twenty yards from our flimsy four-person tent. 

Timmy got back in the tent, looked at me, and said, I want to leave, Moriah.” 

I said, It’s the middle of the night! Why?!” 

“I just want to go. I don’t like it here.” 

I answered in my lecture tone, Timmy. Where are we going to go?” 

“I don’t know. I want to leave.” 

So I got nervous, thinking that he had some sort of ability to sense that something bad was going to happen. Right when I made up my mind to follow my husband to the car in the middle of the night with no where to go, I heard a bear growl and dogs bark. I yelled (obviously, I don’t keep my cool like Timmy does). By the sound, we could tell it was far enough for us to safely run to the car so we sprinted, leaving the tent and everything. We drove an hour to Boulder and spent the night in a 24/7 Ihop parking lot. Super exciting.

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The point of the story: Timmy did what he thought was best in the situation. He reacted calmly. He didn’t scare his wife. We left the premises when it was safe. He had the bear spray ready. If he started freaking out and got me all scared, I can guarantee the situation would have been worse. The bear may have kept away from us… or not. I’ve never been so thankful for Airbnb for the following nights. 

Enjoy the view. 

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Camping reminded me to soak in the beauty.

Take some time to feast your eyes on the beautiful things in life. The Rocky Mountains were stunning.  We worshiped the Creator and had time to enjoy God’s creativity in how He formed the animals, the mountains, and all the different bodies of water. We didn’t have cell service. We were able to spend time together with no technological distractions. 

Too often we forget to look up from our phones and see the beauty around us. This trip was stunning. When I woke up each morning and got out of the tent, the majestic mountains were refreshing and reminded me how small I really am…which is a good reminder once in a while.

Reflection

Colorado was definitely up there with our favorite trips of all time. It was a great time to refresh, reload, and enjoy the great outdoors. But by far, the main thing I want you to walk away with is that the $40 bear-spray is always worth it.

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