Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The grizzly bear story

I promised, so here goes. We're in Glacier National Park, Montana. Everywhere we go, there are signs, "Bear Country" with a logo of a can of bear spray. I turn to hubby, "Do we need to get some?" Hubs says, "No, not necessary."

The next morning we set out for a hike around a lake. It is early and we are pretty much alone on the trail, which, of course, they tell you not to do. But they also tell you to make noise so you don't startle the bears, so, of course, I was walking along singing and clapping my hands. I truly didn't care what anyone else thought.

The first folks we meet tell us their friends saw three bears on this same trail the day before. My heart rate ramps up - not good. The good news is I'm terrified, but I'm still enjoying the beauty around me and being with my husband in this gorgeous place. Somehow we make a wrong turn and get off the trail. We backtrack and get back on.

Soon we come to a bridge over a lovely stream. At the far end are a few people with cameras aimed at the woods. We cross over and ask what's up.

"Oh, you just missed a grizzly bear - it just walked across this bridge." She has a picture on her phone to show us what we missed.

My heart feels like it's about to leap out of my chest. All of a sudden I'm furious at hubby about the bear spray. He says, "hmm, if we hadn't gone off the trail and backtracked we would have been here at the same time as the bear." I wisely stay silent.

I sing louder the rest of the way back to the hotel, clapping continuously.

That night, we attend a ranger talk. I raise my hand. "Do you think it's wise to carry bear spray when hiking in the park?"

"Absolutely. Even if you follow the guidelines and back away slowly, make noise, etc., these are wild animals and bear spray is a proven deterrent."

I literally want to turn to my hubby and stick my tongue out, na na, see, I'm right. But instead, this wise voice inside me says, "Important lesson here, Karen. If you need something to make you feel safer or more comfortable like purchasing bear spray when hiking in bear country, you don't need anyone else's validation or approval - just do it."   Duh!!!!!!!


P.S. Here are some more photos of Glacier Park

the view from our balcony


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Considering how many bears you almost saw, I think a can is necessary. Did you buy some after that?

Karen Walker said...

No, I just didn't do any more hiking. Sat by lake at the hotel and contemplated the beauty.

Mason Canyon said...

Glad you didn't need the bear spray. Love the photos, such beautiful scenery.

Liza said...

Hopefully, you not only missed the bear, but the forest fires out there right now. Going-to-the-Sun Road was one of the most stunning and scary experiences I've ever had. We visited friends out there one summer and they took us. When we went back the next summer we said to ourselves, we don't have to do that again...but our friends insisted. This time it was a race to see who got the inside window in the car! Lovely pictures of a magnificent area!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That was too close for comfort. Of course, my first thought would be that I missed a great photo opportunity.

Karen Walker said...

Liza, you're right. That road is spectacular. We saw a mountain goat on a ledge and i stood up through the sun roof to get the picture.
Diane, it was a great lost photo op for sure, but one I'm glad I missed.

Arlee Bird said...

I visited Glacier many years ago and was amazed by the scenery. We just drove through and didn't have time for any hiking. I would not want a close and personal encounter with a grizzly bear. Pass me the bear spray please.

Tossing It Out

Karen Walker said...

Yup yup yup, Lee. Bear spray for sure.

Manzanita said...

I just returned from a walk up the mountain with the dog and I have cans of spray all over... cars, outside, pockets. I am really frightened of bears because I've seen too many people who have been mauled by bears. Ain't pretty.