We join Roger as he makes camp in Yosemite.....
I set camp among dark trees, within the murmuring comfort of the river. I was scrutinized by stellar jays and squirrels. The day drifted, and soon I began to cook a hot meal. Resting against a tree, my muscles let me know of their stiffness from the days hike. I had my pack open, and while munching on some gorp, I kneeled down to stir the broth, which was beginning to boil on the small Svea back packing stove.
Suddenly I paused, my senses charged to alertness. The air felt strange and full of presence. Slowly I turned my head and look squarely into the deep eyes of a very large brown bear. He was only two feet away from me, and I could smell his breath. Because I was kneeling, and he had stepped up on a log, the bear seemed to tower over me. The brown eyes
possessed a coolness I lacked; the hulking shape carried perhaps four times my weight. Adrenaline pulsed through my body.
He didn’t move. Neither did I.
It seemed like hours but only seconds passed.
The bruin stood before me in anticipation of a dinner, all the while drooling on my back pack and sleeping bag. I hadn’t invited him, directly at least; the smell of the broth had called him - as loudly as a dinner bell on a midwest- ern farm.
Slowly, without making a sound or lodging a complaint, I retreated. I backed away about thirty feet, and grabbed the first branch of a tree - a vertical escape route. The bear had come within two feet of me, and I never heard him approach, although the rush of the river undoubtedly concealed some of the noise. I could not hear him as he inspected my camp. Soon he discovered my peanut butter, and I had the urge to yell at him. But this posed an interesting problem...what does one say to a very large bear when he begins to eat all your food?