I'm leaving for Wyoming tomorrow and I'm a wee bit nervous.
About the bears.
You see, I plan to do a lot of hiking in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, which is home to an estimated 1,000 Grizzly Bears. Yellowstone Grizzlies weigh 325 to 600 pounds...some even larger.
That's a whole lot of big, honkin' bear!
Of course, being the nerdling that I am, I've done my research in terms of how to prevent bear attacks. And it's making me even more nervous.
If Kimmy and I run into a bear while hiking, the first thing we must be aware of is the bear's mood. Apparently, the bear's body language can help determine its mood. The mood we want to avoid is "agitation".
In general, bears show agitation by swaying their heads, huffing, and clacking their teeth.
Clacking their teeth? OMG. Let the nightmares commence.
Experts say that if a bear sees you, you should begin speaking in a low, calm voice. It doesn’t matter what you say. (So when I say "Holy crap, there's a freaking bear", I have to use my inside voice.)
They say we should retreat slowly, keeping an eye on the bear but avoiding direct eye contact. Bears interpret direct eye contact as threatening. And no winking at the bear. (Okay, I made that part up.)
Here's the scariest part: individuals who panic, run, or fight an aggressive grizzly bear usually end up with the worst injuries.
I promise you I have no intention of fighting an aggressive grizzly bear. But I guaranty you that I will panic, and most likely run.
One of the articles I read said: "If you get attacked by a bear you will need a cool head, acting skills, and a change of underwear."
Many hikers wear bells on their feet or backpacks to keep the bears away. But I understand that the Wyoming locals them "Bear dinner bells", since they are more likely to attract bears than scare them away.
I think it will work. It's amazingly effective on my family.
I just start singing and they run for cover!