Archive for February, 2011

Lately I’ve found myself wishing the snow would melt and sprigs of spring would appear along the icy sidewalks, and the great and wonderful Chinooks (translation: a nice wind that blows in like a kiss from an angel, bringing warmer weather with it) would just stick around a little while longer…like 3 or 4 months longer. Just to get us through the winter. Come on!

And so in the spirit of wishing for spring, I wanted to write about a really funny conversation I had with a friend of mine one day. First: what do you find wrong with this sentence:

“There’s a berry that’s in season right now that attracts the grizzly bears, so I wanted to go hiking this weekend.”

I don’t know if you are currently listing all the things wrong with this on your fingers and toes, or perhaps simply laughing because there are so many things wrong with this you can’t even begin to list them….I was in the latter group for sure. Nonetheless, my friend, who by the way is the theorist behind: Erickson’s Evolutionary Steps of Living in Canada (something I’ve yet to blog about, but will, oh I will), thought this statement was perfectly, perfectly normal. Hiking with the bears. Being one with the bear. Ha! The only way someone can be one with the bear is to be inside his stomach: 2-1= 1 satiated bear.

So when she asked if I’d go hiking with her, in that way, I simply answered: “No.” I may have added something along the lines of: are you f***ing crazy?, why don’t you just visit the zoo?, and my favorite: have you been sniffing bear spray?

NO. No, I won’t go hiking with you! Why? Because I’d rather not become bear food. I’d rather not have to promptly run my ass up a tree in a desperate situation. I’d rather not try out my bear spray, my jingle bells, my mace…

It’s not that I haven’t gone hiking in Canada because it’s bear season. In fact, I have braved the wild hiking trails and despite the fact that I look around my shoulder every 2 to 3 seconds, certain I’m being tracked by a bear, or that I wolf down my lunch, positive a bear will smell it and come running from the forest–I actually enjoy the scenery. To a point.

I used to really enjoy seeing moose or elk or deer–that was pretty incredible. Until I learned the moose and the elk are actually more dangerous than the bear and have a higher chance of charging and wreaking havoc. Really?

Well, then there’s the sweet chipmunks and squirrels. They’re safe right? Safer than a rabid dog. Go ahead, give those furry little animals with their innocent squeaks and dark eyes a little bit of your lunch. They’ll maul you that’s what they’ll do. They find out you’ve got more where that came from and they’ll contact their rodent families who come rushing to your picnic table in a matter of seconds. Then your peaceful lunch in the mountains turns to you, at a picnic table, surrounded by small, rabid dogs. (Darn, should’ve obeyed that sign!)

If you’re a little more optimistic, you might say: Hey, if there’s a berry in season the bear likes, perhaps it’s a good time to go because they want the berries, not the humans.

That’s like saying a dog will go for a carrot over a big, juicy, thick steak. Not gonna happen.

Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, you want to hike and be among the wildlife, among the hungry bears with their plethora of berries, the bipolar elk or the unpredictable moose…let’s just say you want this experience. I have some advice (I know,I know, this isn’t an advice column you’re saying, but just this once, I’m going to give you advice, but don’t keep asking for it, I won’t do it. This is a special occasion.):

Hike with a buddy. Put all food, snacks, anything that smells good in your buddy’s pack. Voila! You have bait. Now you have a chance to run. And you’re safe. As long as your buddy doesn’t run the same way you do.

So, here’s to my theorist friend: Let’s go! Can you carry this pack? 🙂 My back hurts.

Until next time: Always hike with a buddy!





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