I was camping in the Rockies one summer, and I’d been

reading all these horror stories about Kodiak bears and menstruating women. About the fact that menstruation in women sometimes drove the bears mad. The insane bears then tended to run uphill towards whatever camp sites existed on the mountainsides.

          There was one statement that bothered me

in particular. Right in the middle of the pamphlet

from Lands and Forests there was this:





                            Do not attempt to outrun the pursuit of any bear running uphill. Bears run faster than humans – when running up a hill.


                    This Notice was perturbing because it took

human flight (or fleeing humans) as a distinct

possibility. The fact that you will have to flee

a homicidal 2000 pound bear with the taste of blood in its mouth, this situation was being treated by the pamphlet

as something that might happen at any moment,

a circumstance that might arrive at any time.

                  Because I was sharing a tent with a menstruating woman, I was taking these warnings with the utmost seriousness.

                  All the campers went to bed with trepidation in their hearts one particular night.

                 In the event a bear was pursuing me, my plan was to run downhill like a mad fool and leap into the fast-flowing

river beside the camp site, and let the waters carry me the hell out of the area at high speeds.


                    Nothing happened that night either, except Linda and I had a horrendous shouting fight. After the fight Linda started to scream for about ten minutes – which was something she did in those days. I was used to her screaming fits, but no one else in the other six tents, no one knew that this

was something that happened with some regularity.


             No one jumped out of their tents to try and help.


              In the morning everyone was surprised to see us…

to see us alive.

            “I thought something had ya!”Walt said, one of the campers, a young man from the Jersey Shores, who had no idea what to do in the bush.


                 About ten AM a government camp ranger came riding

through the campsite on a white horse.

                 I asked him what to do in case of bear attack.

He said, “Just climb a tree! The bears can’t climb them

because their claws are too long.”

                After this fellow had left, I looked at the trees.

None of the pine nearby had branches any closer than 20 feet above the ground.

               There’s no way humans could climb these trees either.


                Though during one drunken evening back east

I did climb such a tree, while liquoured up.

                I had no idea how I got up the tree – a tall red pine.

But there I was out in the dead of winter in my shirt sleeves.

I sobered up real quick when I discovered I was looking down at the snow-covered roof of my own house… at least 30 feet below me.

               I woke up in this disturbing situation. I had no scratches on me as a result of the climb, because I was drunk when I climbed up like a mad fool. I had no idea at all how I managed to climb up. But there I was way the hell up a red pine, looking at the snow-covered roof of my own house thirty feet below me. I had

No idea how I was going to get down.

             I was in my shirt-sleeves. It was winter,

not a balmy night at all. The bark on a tall red pine is rough

on the skin.  It was going to be a painful process

getting back down.

               You never know what you’re capable of, when you’re dead drunk or when you’re fully absorbed in running, fleeing

for your very survival.

          The thought occurred to me that maybe we should

all get drunk. Then when the bears came we could climb the huge

pine trees with no branches – though God only knows how we would do it.

          This didn’t seem a good solution to the problem,



                           (C)2014-2015 by W. G. Milne



  1. Reblogged this on THE DAILY RANT and commented:

    How to survive a bear attack.

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