Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Go Bears

PBS aired a documentary narrated by J.K. Simmons tonight.  I probably would not have watched it were it not for Simmons, whose voice I enjoy.  

It told the (pun intended) grizzly story of two young women killed on the same night in two different parts of Glacier Park in 1967.  Both were killed by different bears, the first murders by bears since the park was established in 1910 and, if I understood it correctly, the very last bear murders in the park.
Examination of the bears after they were killed showed that both were suffering from painful conditions -- one had a mangled paw and the other (a mother with two cubs) had glass imbedded in her jaw, both of which undoubtedly made the bears a bit testy and might have contributed to their attacking the girls.  The girls were each with groups and at a distance of several miles from each other.  They were with guides and knew what to do and not to do, but it didn't help.

The story of the two rescues were pretty impressive and involved landing a helicopter in the dark to remove one of the women, who later died in the hospital.

The story of an event 50 years ago seems odd, but the point is that these events were what set in place the start of rules that would protect both humans and bears in the coming years.

As I watched the show, I kept flashing back to our camping trip in Yosemite when David was a toddler.

We didn't camp in the park itself, but up in the hills, where it was more wild.  We had a nice campground with other people around.  We did all things you do when camping, including enjoying s'mores. Walt got the camp site cleaned up and everything put away in bear-safe places.

When it came time for bed we got everyone bedded down in our huge family tent and all went to sleep.

At some point I was awakened by the unmistakable sound of a bear snuffling on the other side of the tent from where my head was.  All I could think of was when Tom stepped in a marshmallow when we were having our s'mores.

Had we cleaned his shoes?  Would the bear sniff the marshmallow?

I was literally paralyzed with fear, trying to figure out what I would do if the bear tore through the tent...and not wanting to breathe so that he wouldn't hear me.

Eventually the bear snuffled off and I fell asleep.

In the morning when we woke up, the bear was in the cab of a truck across from us, having a gay ol' time tearing things up.  I think I'm glad I had not seen this documentary before my own bear encounter.

This afternoon, I got one of those feelings I get from time to time, an overwhelming need to lie down.
I haven't gotten on the couch since this "whatever it is" since I had such a difficult time getting off the couch, but I just needed to lie horizontal.  I got Walt to help and I was able to get onto the couch, though he had to lift my legs for me.  I asked him to check back every so often in case I felt the need to get up an was unable to.

Polly was beside herself.  Her nighttime schedule before "whatever it is" was to lie in a chair in the family room while I doze in the recliner and then get all excited when I head off to the couch.  Since "whatever it is," she still sleeps in the family room, but when I get up to go to the bathroom she watches me and when I get back into the recliner, she sighs, gets out of "her" chair and goes into the living room alone.

Today when I headed for the couch she fairly danced with glee and as soon as I was lying n the couch, she jumped up and curled up on my feet (briefly).

As for me, it felt so good to be able to stretch out full length on my side with the back of the couch bracing my back. There was zero pain anywhere.  I think I was asleep in seconds.  Walt said he checked in on me a few times.

I would have slept longer, but I got a huge cramp in one leg and then had to try to struggle to get that leg on the floor.  Polly immediately started barking -- I suspect she decided I was going to get up and feed her, but I'd like to think she was letting Walt know I was up and needed his help.

I was able to calm the cramp, but could not get off the couch without Walt's assistance, but now that I see how it's done, I may take another nap or two on the couch in the future, when Walt is home and I know I won't be trapped on the couch again.

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