the bear usually wins…

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.

Photo credit: howstuffworks.com

Photo credit: howstuffworks.com

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.

Photo credit: wildsmart.ca

Photo credit: wildsmart.ca

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!)

xoxo nancy

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27 thoughts on “the bear usually wins…

  1. Yikes! We ran into a bear during a family picnic in the mountains (4 adults and 3 small kids). We had just set all of the food out when my brother saw a bear grazing through the huckleberries about 20 feet away! My sister and law and I grabbed kids and food frantically shoving everything back into the car while my brother stood on the table to take a picture. My son had a different idea and rolled down the window to stick his camera out and take a picture of a big pile of bear poop. I guess we should have noticed it before and yes, I do have the poop picture somewhere in my archives. 😉

  2. As someone who lives nowhere near any bears of the large alive sort, I like the idea of meeting a bear…I don’t think I would like the reality however! The most dangerous thing I might meet in a hike is an angry goat…or possibly a grumpy sheep!
    I am all in favour of lifting up heavy stuff mind you! It is awesome! 😀

    • According to the guy at the sporting goods store who sold me the bear spray, I’m much more likely to encounter a mountain lion than a bear on Mt San J. When he saw my horror, he added, “but don’t worry, the bear spray will work in mountain lions too.”

      Lucky, lucky me.

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