Saturday, May 4, 2013

A ramble....and was that really a bear and cub we saw?

I seem not to be doing so well on my rambles lately but thought I would try one today.

This week has gone quickly, a refrain I am repeating a lot lately.  It has been a week of chatting with family and meeting up with friends.  In the middle of the week I was on Skype for an hour with my niece in Germany.   She is my sister's daughter and a little while ago she and her fiance told us that they will be getting married in October.  Our family will be flying over to attend their wedding.  To say we are more than excited is an understatement.   My niece and I are very close and chatting on Skype is the next best thing to being there in person.  Of course there is nothing better than actual live contact, but when there is so much distance, as so many of us have found when miles are an issue, Skype is a marvelous technology and one that I use often with overseas family and friends.

Meeting up with old friends is like a tonic, meeting up with the children of old friends is one too.  Gregg and I had the opportunity to visit with a very nice young lady yesterday.  We have been good friends with her mother for years.  The first time I met her mum was when she was 13 years old, Gregg has known her since she was six and now she is the mother of two grown up children.   We don't live in the same city nor the same state but are fortunate to meet up every once in a while.  When we were lucky enough to visit with her daughter for a few hours, even though we had not met her before, we hit it off straight away.  She is a gracious young lady and most definitely her mother's daughter.   Gregg and I had a great time and hopefully we will see her again one of these days, hopefully in the not too distant future.

After having a super visit and while on our way back home, driving on a relatively quiet road in the Shenandoah Mountains, Gregg and I were chatting about our day.  It was in the late part of the afternoon/early evening and the sun was going down.  Gregg said, "We ought to keep an eye out for bears you know."  I smiled and thought to myself I'll see a flying pig first.

Well, no sooner had he said it and after we had both chuckled at what we thought would be an unlikely event, we saw a dark shape come out of the underbrush about a hundred yards down the road.  At first I said no, it can't be, it must be a dog.  Gregg was driving slow as we were on a winding stretch, the 'dog' started ambling across the road and suddenly stopped in the middle, looking back from where it had come from.  There was no choice but to stop too.  Fortunately there were no cars coming in either direction.  As we looked we both recognized that gait and realized it was no dog.  I still can't believe what happened next and please excuse the fuzziness of the pictures but it all happened so fast, I only had seconds to take these shots.

An even smaller shape came scurrying onto the edge of the road and it was a tiny bear cub, the smallest little ball of fur you could ever wish to see.

It didn't want to cross that road, in the meantime as we were staring in wonderment Gregg whispered, you'd better get the camera, because as per usual when we see an astonishing sight and a rare one, I am deer in the headlights.  Mama Bear was encouraging her little one to hurry and she finally crossed that road at a fast trot right in front of us.  Baby bear was still not so sure but I opened the window and heard Mama Bear calling to her baby, and as I speak Bear - yes I jest but you can imagine the conversation because it would be one any mother would have with her child - I heard her say you'd better hurry up, can't hang around here.  All of a sudden Little Bear followed Mama and scampered after her like greased lightning.  We watched as she headed up a steep incline into the woods with the little one having a hard time climbing up behind her.  I opened my window and heard Mama talking, grunting and huffing, and hearing this barely audible cry in return. Eventually Little Bear managed the incline and they both disappeared out of sight.

Gregg and I looked at each other in total amazement and started laughing like a couple of kids.  Wow!  What an incredible experience.  It only lasted for a few seconds but it seemed to take forever and yes I managed to get a few fuzzy shots.

On our past road trips Gregg has had this extraordinary ability of saying such things like we ought to watch out for..... and we've laughed and I have said no, not a chance and then moments later the inexplicable happens.  I'm the one who has usually been the Doubting Thomas, because even though deep down I am forever hopeful, I always try to keep my expectations low.  I told him I really am going to listen to him the next time because he has an instinct that is really uncanny at times.  I am going to call him the Bear Whisperer, or the Moose Whisperer, or the Deer Whisperer, what next?  An elephant crossing the road Gregg?

We wish this Mama Bear and her teeny cub a long and happy life, and to please stay away from those roads.  More realistically it is a good reminder for us all to take it slow because honestly, for our own safety as well as theirs, you just don't know what's around the corner.  Look what happened to us?

(If you click here this was our last bear experience in the Shenandoah's about two years ago.)

We of course have our friend and her daughter to thank for this end-of-the-day gift, as if we hadn't been coming home later in the day on a lonely road in the Shenandoah Mountains, we would never have had this incredible experience.  What an end to a truly wonderful day!