Her reply: "Yes."
and after that I lost control of my evening.
Sandra, Terry and I met at 6:30 and drove over to Minnekhadah Regional Park in Coquitlam. I thought we were going for a walk. I had on my work clothes with a pair of runners.
Sandra and Terry were far more prepared. Note, not only their clothing, but also their accessories... fanny pack, back pack, map, water bottles, snacks ...
It Was A Stunningly Beautiful Walk:
We walked past swamps/marshes ...
And then into the forest...
We were starting to climb, and the path had narrowed substantially.
I suggested we no longer call this a 'walk'.
It felt like we were hiking.
The higher we got, the less friendly the trail became...
We weren't exactly sure how to get to The Vista by this point, but we kept soldiering on. We were on a timeline dictated by the waning sunlight. We figured we were on a 5 km loop and we had 1 1/2 hours to finish it.
And then there was a bear on our path.
And a sense of urgency to get out of the woods descended on us.
Forget the summit. We needed to work our way back to the parking lot.
Terry, seemingly unworried, picked up a twig and would tap it against trees as we walked along.
Sandra picked up a 400 lb log to defend herself with.
That lasted about 3 minutes.
Then she remembered in The Parent Trap (Or maybe it was this Parent Trap?) that to ward off bear attacks (or was it cougar attacks) in the wild, you should bang rocks together, so she picked up two large ones and banged them as we walked.
But those rocks were big and carrying/banging them was slowing her down causing her to be at the back of our troupe. Which made her uncomfortable. (We had decided to stick closer together, anticipating that bears have bad eyesight and they would see us as an imposing three-headed enemy instead of three tiny tasty appy's.)
So she threw down her rocks and decided this was a good a day as any to take up jogging.
She joined us just as we turned another corner and saw three bears beside the trail.
Like, they were *right there.
Three of them.
I start praying. Silently.
Terry taps the tree with her twiggy branch.
Then takes photos.
Sandra starts screaming.
That's the other thing she learned from The Parent Trap; make noise.
So she's yelling at the top of her lungs, PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! while walking determinedly away from the bears. (I should mention that she is Pentacostal. These are the only words she's every shouted in her life.)
Terry, meanwhile, is watching the three bears climb the nearest trees in terror of the racket *someone is making in their backyard.
We regroup a few seconds later and are thankful we've escaped with our lives.
The sun is getting lower in the sky, and dusk is setting in. We have no idea how much farther it is til we get back to civilization where we can share our story and warn others about the dangers on this hike.
Thankfully a map materialized:
And half an hour later we were back at the Lodge's parking lot.
Where we ran into the caretaker...
Us: There were bears!
Caretaker: No kidding. There always is this time of day.
Us: There were 4 of them!
Caretaker: Yeah. It happens. They come out in the evening.
THAT was anti-climactic.
(Thank goodness our mothers expressed appropriate levels of concern and horror upon hearing our tales...)
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. We lived to tell the tale.
2. I live in a beautiful corner of the world.
3. I forgot my camera and sunglasses in her van, so I let her know I'd be by after church tonight to pick them up:
I grabbed my camera for this walk, and took some nice, pretty photos of the Spring flowers in her neighbourhood:
And then, as I was photographing this front garden, I looked up and saw:
an ugly, life-size bear cub, sculpted from wood. Or something.
Very funny, fate.