I'm kind of a country mouse. I was born and partially raised in Halifax, Pennsylvania. I know a lot of people who grew up on farms and I spent a lot of time with them at their farms. I've helped to milk cows, collected fresh eggs, assisted in the birth of a calf, attended a cattle auction, shoveled shit, and loved (almost) every second of it. Despite my paralyzing fear of any member of the bovine community, I had a great time. I digress.
I'm no stranger to nature is what I was getting at. The other side of my family has a legit cabin in Lycoming County and that location is no stranger to random Ursine and Cervine passersby. I used to revel in being taken spotting for deer when I was a kid and didn't mind being jammed into the backseat of the car with three other people. This was clearly before the whole "click it or ticket" thing.
The coolest thing about the lakehouse at Rickett's Glen is that you're in the woods, but with all the comforts of home. The fireplace in this house is one of the most stunning pieces of art I've ever seen. I'll post a pic at the end of this post and you can let me know if you agree. There's also a closet in the great room that's full of silly hats. As a natural ham (read: attention whore) I often take it upon myself to don one of these hats and make a fool of myself.
On this particular trip, it was myself and my cousins Jess and Tony. They're considerably younger than me, but have been duped into believing that I'm awesome (haha, jokes on them!). I was flying solo for the weekend, as my better half was busy working his fingers to the bone at Bucknell University. I also was playing the role of the single parent (to my dogs, of course).
We had no sooner checked in at the cabin, unpacked, and gotten settled that Tony and I went outside for our dogs to relieve themselves. So here we all go, traipsing outside (unarmed, despite multiple black bear sightings) with three very small dogs (hors d'oeuvres anyone?). The dogs went about their business and the little black dog (mine) decided he felt better about peeing in the driveway.
He crossed onto the driveway and was doing his thing with very little attention from me. It was then that I looked up and saw a massive black shape standing in the driveway. Um, holy shit, BEAR!!!!!
I barely got the word out of my mouth before Jess was running inside. Tony thought I was messing with him (naturally) and he decided to confirm before he ran in the house. Um, Tone, you forgot your dog. I should mention at this point that I'm wearing someone else's giant knee high boots with my sweats tucked inside and a tweed paperboy hat (Google it - or wiki it). I am also running up the driveway in said outfit screaming at the top of my lungs at my brainy brainy dogs that decided to chase the ginormous bear up the freaking driveway. One swat and my dogs would have easily bitten the proverbial dust.
Now, when I say I was screaming, please don't get it twisted. I was maniacally, top of my lungs, bellowing up the driveway (think banshee mixed with a horror movie scream queen). I looked ridiculous, I knew it. My cousins knew it. The bear knew it. Worst of all, my dogs knew it. They both looked at me as though they'd removed the threat personally. I had to repeatedly and equally as insanely scream the word "treaties" over and over again for them to follow me inside. Bastards.
I think we overcame the shock of the sighting in about an hour, before we called my uncle (their dad/stepdad) and swore him to silence. My other cousin, Gabs (short for Gabrielle, duh) was leaving at that time to make her way to the lake on her own, and oh yeah, she's deathly afraid of bears. We made him promise not to tell, all before my cousin made the doomsday call of the century to his sister and instructed her where to park, basically to not look around, and just to run in the house. Needless to say, she freaked out, but she followed directions.
We had a blast for the rest of the weekend and never saw the bear again (despite baiting him). Another unfortunate thing was the fact that neither of the two game cameras that we've got mounted caught a picture of him (we checked the next morning). As a comparison, I've posted other pictures that have been captured of other bears on our property.
This is one I took during my week long vacation in June (taken through glass)
This is the same bear, taken by the game camera. He was not messing around, he was huge.
My aunt and uncle got this one in late August or early September. Yep, three cubs.
I hope my nature tale was a pleasant read. Enjoy!