Bear Scare!

A "MacGuyver'ed" tent closure

So this one has several different versions depending upon who is asked to tell the story but mine is the right one, so here goes.

My son Josh and I were sharing a tent in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in summer 2015.  My other two boys, Noah and Zach, shared a tent and our friends, Craig and Douglas, were between us, all along a ridge that sat in front of amazing Glacier Peak, a volcano you can only see if you take the time to get all the way out into the backcountry.  It's just stunning - take a look at it, above, and see us standing on the ridge in the right hand corner and how tiny we look in comparison!  It was a tough hike with heavy packs but when we rounded the corner and saw it, it was tear inducing.  I was already angry with the boy for not fixing his tent and we were stuck with a broken zipper and rain on the way.  When he left with his brothers to go on a night hike, I stayed behind and MacGuyver'ed the thing shut by making thread out of duck tape and using a tool from my pocket knife.  What was left was just a small opening we had to dive in and out of the whole week (don't get me started).

So one night out there my incredibly brilliant son (truth is, he is, which made this so much worse) ate peanuts after dinner and threw the shells - all. around. the. tent.  In the middle of the night, Josh nudged me awake with a whisper, "Mom! Bear in camp right outside the tent!"  And just a second later, a very VERY loud grunt just beyond my right ear outside the millimeter of tent wall! It was the most terrifying sound I've ever heard in the wilderness.

Of course, I jumped on top of Josh and reminded him that what you have to do with black bears is make a lot of noise. "NO!" he said, "Let's just wait and it will go away."  I can only assume that I was sleep deprived because instead of doing exactly what I knew to do, I said "Okay."  Like an idiot.  The bear actually pushed his snout into the tent side wall - and I pushed back.  Like I said, like an idiot. (I also tried to hand feed a shark once so there's no accounting for in-the-field brilliance on my part).  We shook, terrified, in the tent for a good three hours, two hours and 59 minutes of which we really had to go to the bathroom.  We heard the bear juggling the water bottles (we are SURE that's what it was doing) and eating all of the peanut shells as it grunted and growled.

We finally heard the sound of Craig's tent zipper and yelled out "Bear in Camp!"  Craig, a seasoned backpacker and the guy we choose to lead us into the dark always, simply turned on his headlamp and got out, walked over and peaked in our tent with a "What's up?"  Saved.  It left, we were still alive, and I was free to kill my kid.

Now here's the shocker - in the morning, there was not a single track to be found in the dirt around the tent!  AND our water bottles were standing right where we left them.   Hmmm....