Monday was another rainy day. It drizzled off and on all morning as we played board and card games, but it seemed to be clearing up, and Jason was hankering for a hike. At least this time we could leave from the camper and didn’t have to drive on anymore spinning roads. I was especially thankful for this fact as I almost fell twice from vertigo as I tried to get on my super awesome KEEN hiking boots.
Jason got us all into our backpacks and was super stoked. The boys did not share his enthusiasm. I’m not sure what they wanted to do, but it was never what we wanted to do. Only a couple of minutes into the hike, I had another close fall. This time though I was walking across a fallen tree about four feet above a stream. That could have ended very badly, but it did not.
As we started ascending, it started spitting again. As it grew more intense, we stopped to put on our rain gear, but by the time we had successfully dug out our gear and got it on we were pretty much soaked. Still, we persevered walking steadily on. Too bad the boys and I couldn’t see anything through our fogged over, rain-dappled glasses. Finally, the sky just opened up, and the rain came down in buckets. The boys started to get nervous about being trapped in a thunderstorm, so we turned around and headed back to camp.
As we walked back the trail quickly became unrecognizable. Now it was a path for all the rain to drain into the stream. We weren’t traversing a trail but a tributary. Once back at the stream, it too had taken on a new look. Now it was menacing and swollen. I resisted the mention of walking across the stream in its current state back to our campsite, citing the multiple books I’d read as evidence that we could literally die. It happens. Yet the prospect of walking an additional ½ mile to the road that crossed the river canceled all those fears out, and we held hands as we crossed right through the middle.
Up to this point, my super awesome KEEN hiking boots had kept my feet perfectly dry due to their miraculous waterproofing. But they were no match for a knee-deep stream crossing. I ceremoniously dumped the water out of each boot when we got back to camp.
That was it. The mountains did not want Jason to hike. He finally accepted that his dreams were not going to come true and we watched a movie. Later in the afternoon, we chatted with our neighbors for a bit. They were locals and took it somewhat personally that we had yet to see a bear. So at 7:50 p.m. we loaded into the truckster and followed them around the wildlife loop one last time. And guess what?
WE SAW BEARS! Real, live, wild bears, just being bears! In the wild! Our no bear streak had finally fallen after being in bear country for the majority of last year’s trip and a large portion of our first trip. We saw one just lumbering through a meadow and tree grove. Then we saw a momma and her cub in another meadow. The momma kept standing up to survey the area before leading the cubs a little further.
Needless to say, we went to bed happy. For me the happiness was equal parts seeing a bear and heading for the beach the following day.