Hannah and I have come to the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York for her Moss Lake Reunion. Back in the day (i.e. the early 1960s) Hannah was first a camper at the Moss Lake Camp for Girls for eight weeks in the summer, then later a counselor and a water skiing instructor.
Arriving at our overnight motel two days ago, the Adirondack Lodge Old Forge, I present my driver’s license and credit card to the clerk. At that point, she says, Please sign this bear release form. Bears can get into cars, but they can’t get out.
Really! Yes, really.
The highlight detail is that we are not to leave any food in our car. Quoting from the release form, The bears are very smart, and they do know how to open doors!!
I am not one of those hikers who just can’t wait to see a bear on the trail. We hiked in bear country in the Shenandoah National Park and never saw a bear. Thank you, Jesus.
Once when Hannah and I were hiking at Rendezvous Mountain just outside Grand Teton National Park in early July 1992, we came across a three foot stump shredded on all sides by a black bear looking for insects. I couldn’t believe we were that close to bears! Tepidly, we hiked a half mile more into the mountains and then turned around when our common sense finally kicked in, not wanting to be an afternoon snack for some Rocky Mountain version of Smoky.
Three years later in Denali National Park, we saw a sign at the trailhead, Moose calving, Bear alert. Seemed like the standard, run-of-the-mill warning. Not to worry. Within ten minutes this first week of July, a nearly seven foot moose blocked our path. A bambino moose can’t be far away! We knew all the warnings that moose will kill you if you get between a moose and its young. Again, we pretended that we weren’t bothered by seeing mama moose, but the joy and excitement of hiking in this Alaska Wonderland was gone. We again turned around within minutes and beat a hasty retreat back to our campsite.
So, when we see the bear release form suggesting, bears are in the neighborhood, I want no part of these ursine creatures. We clean out the car thoroughly.
Mama didn’t raise no fool!