Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I have a healthy fear of encountering bad things when I’m hiking in the mountains. Examples of bad things include: mountain lions, snakes and bears.
I first realized the bear threat to be real when I read a Facebook update from my hiking guru, TJ, of BLR Malibu fame. It was her story of a bear encounter while hiking Mt. San Gorgonio in Southern California which prompted me to source and purchase bear spray in advance of my hike of Mt. San Gorgonio’s sister peak, Mt. San Jacinto back in May.
So far, I’m delighted to report, zero sightings of mountain lions, bobcats, cougars (which may all be the same thing, actually), snakes or bears. I have seen deer. Also rabbits. Neither of those sightings resulting in any form of altercation.
If you think I may be overreacting with my whole carrying-bear-spray-around practice, then I have a story which may serve to change your mind.
If you’d like a little glimpse into what could happen if you had the misfortune of running into a bear, then have a quick look at this story about 80-year-old Russian shepherd, Yusuf Alchagirov and his run-in with a bear.
Dude is a bad-ass!
My favourite part of the story was the description of how this senior citizen showered kicks and headbutts on the bear to knock it off balance.
This is pure gold.
Now I have known for a long time that Russians are made of hearty stock. My dearest friend, the Russian Princess, is a prime example. She could probably scale a mountain in 4 inch heels [if she had to]. And she wouldn’t even spill a drop of her Dirty Martini while she was doing it. This I can guarantee.
Still, the image of this 80-year old, with his fancy MMA-style moves wailing away on the bear, this makes my life on so many levels.
And lest you were feeling badly for the bear, fret not, mes amis. The beast, apparently slightly miffed by the blows delivered by dear old Yusuf, decided to toss him off a cliff, and then just “sauntered away”.
“I got off easy. It’d have killed me if I’d chickened out,” Alchagirov told television audiences.
Yes, Yusuf, but you’re missing the real lesson here: if you had just carried bear spray with you, you could have avoided getting into that scrap in the first place. 🙂
Get moving! (And, always carry your bear spray!)