Saturday, July 4, 2009

An Early Adventure, Yellowstone Nat'l Park, Bears and squirrels

When my daughter was about 5 years old, my family (husband, daughter, dog named Rexie and me ) moved to Arizona. Arizona was a great place to have adventures. One summer we went to Yellowstone National Park tent camping along the way. One night we camped at the foot of a small hill which was filled with ground squirrels. They drove Rexie crazy. One would stick its head of a hole and go, chhhhh. Rexie would run up to the hole and, of course, by the time she got there, the squirrel was back in its hole and another one was sticking its head out of a hole and going ccchhh. The poor dog finally got some rest when it got dark and the squirrels settled in for the night.

When we got to Yellowstone, we set up the tent and the rest of the camp putting the Coleman stove and our cooler on the picnic table. We ate dinner and went to bed in the tent. Early in the morning, we heard this noise. My husband, Bob stuck his head out of the tent to see what was going on. Plenty was going on; there was a huge bear trying to get into the cooler. He/she was rolling the cooler down the hill. The stink of the bear was pretty bad. So Bob motioned to us to stay inside the tent and he went out (undoubtedly a foolish thing to do, but...) and started throwing rocks at the bear. He finally hit the bear in the head a few times and the bear left. We managed to rescue the cooler, open it to see if anything was left. Surprisingly, a dozen eggs still in the carton were intact in spite of the bear rolling the cooler over and over down the hill. I was amazed and thought Coleman made very good coolers.

What was also surprising is that Rexie who was in the station wagon never uttered a peep. It was good that she didn't because the bear would probably have attacked the station wagon.

We straightened up the camp site and then decided maybe we didn't want to camp after all so we rented a cabin. That night we went to a talk by a ranger. He was telling us what to do concerning bears. One thing he said was to leave a bear alone; I asked, supposing the bear doesn't want to leave us alone; he really didn't have an answer.

This was many years ago; things have undoubtedly changed in Yellowstone. But the reason the bear "disturbed" us was because other tourists would feed the bears and leave food and garbage around. I think there are more rules at Yellowstone, advice and places to hang food or bear proof containers that can be used.

We did enjoy the rest of our stay, seeing Old Faithful and the other wonders of Yellowstone. But I think I'll never forget the bear.

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