This last Thursday my wife and I decided to call it an early weekend and take off to the mountains. We have been talking about going camping for the last few weeks but we have been busy with family outings, reunions, weddings, and any other family gathering you can think of. We knew if we didn't take time during the week to go camping we might as well not even try because of how busy our summer is this year.
|Our Jeep loaded up next to the reservoir
|Unloading our gear
We drove up into the mountains to one of our favorite spots to go camping. Sadly this spot has apparently become quite a few people's favorite spot as well because when we showed up we drove from camp site to camp site looking for a spot we could get some peace and tranquility but we were having a rough time. We drove and drove until we finally found a spot far enough away from the others that we didn't feel like we were camping with strangers. We were close enough we could still hear their campfire conversations but far enough away to be good enough for a one nighter.
When we finally got to our spot we unhooked the camper and unloaded the jeep. By this time it was already about 830 and I still hadn't had a chance to get some fire wood. Before we could get everything situated I told my wife that I was going to hurry and drive back down the road we came in on and grab some fire wood. When getting in my jeep I had the feeling I should take a moment and give her the pistol we had bought her just to be safe... Me being the man I am decided that everything would be fine and I would just be a few minutes... I drove down the road about 2 miles and found a tree that was perfect for fire wood. Just as I was getting out I had another impression that I should at least load my pistol and strap it on my belt just to be safe... Once again I proved my manliness by convincing myself that I could see the tree I was going to cut up so there was no need to have my pistol.
|Our camp before taking off to get fire wood
I cut up the tree into a couple sections and strapped them on top of my jeep. I hopped in and headed back to camp glad that it had taken me less time than I had thought it would. Just as I was about 500 yards away from camp I came around a corner into our clearing and spotted a dark colored animal trotting down the road toward my camper. I slowly stopped my jeep to get a better look at the animal without dodging all the bumps in the road. Just as I stopped my jeep the animal stopped and turned broadside to me and then looked right at me. As soon as it looked at me I knew exactly what it was... I was now looking directly into the eyes of a juvenile grizzly bear! This bear was not a full sized bear and was a little on the skinny side which made me a little more nervous than if it was a well fed adult grizzly.
|This is not the bear I saw but it is similar to the one I saw only smaller
|Front paw print next to my 8' Taurus Pistol
|Back Paw Print
As I drove back to the spot the bear jumped in, my heart was racing with adrenaline thinking about what could have happened if the bear had not darted off into the water and ran straight into camp. All of the possible outcomes ran through my head while I was looking for the bear. About 5 minutes passed and I hear a gun shot and hollering about 3 camp spots down from us. I assume that the bear had made it that far before someone had seen it and able to scare it off some more. I returned to camp and made sure my wife and daughter were okay.
Later that night we made lots of noise cutting up fire wood and cooking dinner. We knew that this area had bears occasionally but we had never had an encounter like this. I could have easily taken a few picture with my phone during my interactions with the bear but with my wife and daughter back at camp, the only thing on my mind was their safety. We definitely made sure that our dinner was all cleaned up, coolers were in the jeep, and all of our food was put in a safe place before we called it a night.
|Camp Chef Cooking food
|Sunset while camping