To hear our younger son tell it, we were once almost eaten by a bear. And while it wasn’t quite that dramatic, I do remember being awfully scared.
It was October 2012. With just a few weeks left before we moved away from the states, we decided to squeeze in an overnight family camping trip in the North Georgia mountains. So we packed up and made our way to one of our favorite camping spots.
We arrived, and were pleasantly surprised to be the only ones there. We got the tent and everything else set up, and then went on a 5 mile/8km hike. We got back and had dinner, then got everything cleaned up.
The boys were enjoying a spirited game of frisbee… or maybe it was ‘see who can throw the disc as fast and as close to his brother’s head as possible.’ Zack (my husband) and I were relaxing by the campfire when our older son came running up to us. His face was pale and he was slightly out of breath, but I heard him calmly say “Mommy, there’s a bear over there.” I laughed at first, but then followed his gaze to the next campsite, about 60 meters away.
And he wasn’t kidding. A large bear, around 300-400 pounds, was wandering around, likely looking for food.
I tried to stay calm. Zack told us to walk quietly and head for the car. So with a boy on either side, I steered us back to our vehicle. And there we waited.
It seemed like forever, and the three of us began to get worried. But what seemed like an eternity was probably only three or four minutes, and then we spotted Zack emerging from the woods. The bear had been very uninterested in us, and after Zack threw a couple of things and made a little noise, he retreated across the river.
We debated on leaving at once, but decided to stay on through the night. While my vivid imagination tried to tell me otherwise, we saw nothing more of our large neighbor.
And though not quite as close an encounter as our boys might tell it, we have a great family story that they will likely never forget!