Continuing the story…
I will never forget the panic I saw pour over Josh. Seeing a bear and then in the corner of my eye seeing my children was a surreal and frightening experience. I was frozen. I mean–this full-sized momma bear was less then a car’s length away from us!
Josh quickly ran to the children and tossed them in a hammock with me. They were both terrified. We were all silent while Josh struggled to find something loud to clang. All of our pot and pans were in the bear box–you know, the one that the bear was currently sticking her head in. Harris started screaming because of the sudden jolt from his siblings being thrown on us.
Josh started to yell. She was much more interested in the bag of food she had found. He yelled louder and threw a small log at her. She got the memo. She let go of the bag, pulling it down and ran off.
August was trembling. Ellie sat frozen with her eyes wide. I was laughing from hysteria. We gathered around the fire recounting what we saw. All the while, we heard the momma and baby bear moaning to each other in the woods beside our camp.
August sat in Josh’s lap. Ellie sat in her own chair right beside us, not speaking louder then a whisper.
I asked her, “Ellie, did you see that bear??”
“Yes.”, she whispered.
“What did you think??”
“I scared.”, she replied softly.
They both ending up falling asleep in their chairs as Josh and I discussed what we should do. I coincidentally watched a video before the trip on what to do if you get approached by a bear. Basically, brown and black bears just want snacks. Dangerous confrontations aren’t common–most are from people messing with them or their babies. We felt pretty safe. Our tent was scent free and she didn’t seem aggressive. We fell asleep, but woke often to the sound of the duo in the distance.
The next morning we quickly ate breakfast and geared up for a hike.
Before we headed out, we went to the ranger station to ask a question. On the window was a sign that read: “Inform us if you see a bear!” We explained our story to the sweet ranger as he laughed. He obviously was not as concerned as we were expecting.
“Oh yeah. That momma bear knows what to do around here. She’s a smart thing! She waits for people to leave their boxes or tables for a second and then makes her entrance! She has approached people eating at their picnic table before! She’s not a threat to you. She just wants your food.”
I went from being terrified to wanting Josh to apologize to her! Poor momma bear!
I asked if she had a name.
He looked at August, “We don’t have a name for her! She is going to be moved with her baby soon. You should give her a name! You will probably see her tonight as she makes her rounds!”
After some thought August named her “Okie” and her baby “Dokie”.
She never approached our site again, but we saw Okie and Dokie a few more times during our trip. The more we talked to people, the more we realized how safe we were. I’m not saying we were going to go invite them for dinner, but as long as we left them alone we were fine. Some one told us that bears are like raccoons in that area. Since we were not afraid of being attacked after our talk with the ranger, the experience made our trip all the more memorable and fun.
The kids loved the bears by the end of the trip. Even now, they enjoy talking about seeing them and sharing their stories! The whole adventure was really great: the lake was awesome; we found a great little secret cove to which we hiked; we relaxed (kinda) and made wonderful memories.
Lake Tahoe has been my favorite escape so far. I am so looking forward to going back! Put it on your bucket list–you won’t be sorry!
If you see any bears, though, don’t throw a log at them.
Find part one here: http://justatiredmommasblog.com/2017/09/01/kiddos-camping-and-bears-oh-my/