lake tahoe bear

Setting free the bears

September 23, 2021

bear statue
The closest I got to a bear sighting

   Almost nothing has worked out for our Lake Tahoe getaway the way we were expecting. The fires threatening the entire lake area have diminished, and evacuation orders have been rescinded. Air quality has been good since our arrival, the skies are cobalt blue and the lake itself is pristine emerald green and there’s no smog. In other words, it’s a perfect mid-September visit, and provides yet another nail in the coffin as to why we’re going to Hell. Even the bears have stayed away.

mama bear made of pennies
More than 200,000 pennies created mama bear’s coat

   In the runup to this trip, I was in full Reid-being-Reid mode, and was certain that even if the cabin we’d rented hadn’t burned to the ground before our arrival, surely the habitat destruction by the fires would drive the bear population (already a constant problem, according to our check in instructions and information sheet) right to our doorstep. I had envisioned a family of our s#$t-in-the-woods neighbors plopped on our deck with tableware and bibs awaiting our arrival.

   Carol found my preoccupation with the potential bear attacks amusing in that “you mean I have to learn how to adapt to this behavior too” way she has when discovering yet another previously undisclosed character trait I’d hoped to hide until it was too late to do anything about it.

No way in her right mind would Carol ever consider I could actually protect her from a bear attack. The only way I could would be if the bear ate me first, and due to my expanding girth (see: Fire talk to me) was full and then trundled back into the woods, leaving Carol unharmed.

Given the dire early predictions, we experienced ideal conditions

   The thing is she’d been to the casino side of Lake Tahoe (it divides down the middle between California and Nevada) with Mike over the years, and she knew there were bears, but it wasn’t anything like the animal acts at the Roman Colosseum, which is the way I’d interpreted the cabin information  sheet. Once we hit the lake, I was expecting bears to be like the sheep we drove past in Iceland (and which insurance didn’t cover if you hit one, by the way).

   My OCD relative to ursine behavior, as it turned out, did have a gradual, paranoid effect on Carol. While comically declaiming my overreaction to the possibility of bear attacks to all who would listen ( i.e, everyone we know), it was Carol (once night fell upon our cabin) who suddenly heard bears with every sound of the outdoors.

lake tahoe waters
Emerald does mean emerald

   Early that first evening, we both heard a definite thud on the side of the cabin. Carol was shocked to see I’d not made a move off the recliner I’d been comfortably ensconced in since dinner.

   “Why aren’t you checking it out?” Carol remonstrated. “It could be a bear!”

   “It can’t get in,” I reasoned.

   “You’re supposed to protect me!”

   That statement proved that Carol was totally freaked. No way in her right mind would Carol ever consider I could actually protect her from a bear attack. The only way I could would be if the bear ate me first, and due to my expanding girth (see: Fire talk to me) was full and then trundled back into the woods, leaving Carol unharmed.

Wile E. Coyote's tunnel
Locals know Wile E. Coyote’s tunnel vision

   The thud probably wasn’t a bear. Carol discovered an exhaust vent where we’d heard the sound, and it was possible the heater kicking on had made that sound. Just as well it wasn’t a bear. I’m pretty sure Carol would not approve of my protection plan for her.

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