Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"Along with black bears over 500 grizzlies live in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem."
Hearing of the grizzly attacks just days before my arrival in Yellowstone generated a bit of what Brian coined my "bear paranoia". I'd like to clarify that I don't harbor a blanket fear of bears, but, admittedly, an encounter with a grizzly in my campsite is a scenario I'll do most anything to avoid. Brian totes a can of bear spray in his hip-holster at all times; this is good. However, the notion of there being only a thin layer of nylon separating me from whatever lurks outside was far from comforting. I found I was quite capable of relaxing as long as we were sitting beside the campfire, talking, and shining flashlights on anything that moved...A perceived sense of control. For a moment, I almost forgot about grizzlies; it felt just like camping anywhere. Then bedtime arrived. We changed into our sleeping clothes, the ones without any scents from the day, stored everything safely in the car and tiptoed into the tent. Once inside, everything fell silent. That is, everything but the sound of blood pumping through my body. For the first time, it seemed I could hear each blood cell travel its way from the tips of my toes to the depths of my eardrums. My "bear paranoia" was clearly kicking up to a new level. It was like I instantly developed bionic auditory senses. Not only could I hear every organ in my body hard at work, but each leaf wriggling in the breeze became a threat. Coupled with the fact that I couldn't see beyond the tent walls, panic ensued. Brian and Flynn were fast asleep. I continued to "keep watch" and fell in and out of sleep throughout the night.
When morning came, the campground buzzed with talk of the grizzly who paid us all a visit in the early hours of daylight. I slept through it.