It’s a beautiful evening so I decided to walk down to the lake to check on several big balsams that need come out via chainsaw, Bobcat, cables, chains and other manly things. Delilah and Cookie were in tow and then leading with Cookie panting from the exertion caused by running down hill and Delilah zooming up and down the trail in her usual light brown streak-like form.
I get to the beach, notice someone out on the lake with pontoon boat along with the absolute calm of the water. But for the waves of the pontoon boat in the middle, the lake would have been without the slightest of wrinkles.
I looked at the trees and tried to see from where I could cable them up and pull them down causing the least amount of damage. There are still a lot of leaves on the brush so it’s harder to see where a big fuzzy 50 foot balsam is going to get hung up, but I decided to continue checking.
I moved up to the first foot bridge across Jasper Creek and was wondering how much effort it would take to rebuilt parts of it in the event I had a hard landing upon it with an errant balsam in a veritable sea of ash trees. Delilah was with me now, on the bridge looking down at the water as it was making its way to the lake. I looked down at Dee and into the water as well. Then while she was still looking down, I looked up at Cabin 3, just 50 feet away. …and, there he was.
Looking at me looking at him was about a 350+ lb. beautiful, healthy, pitch-black bear. He was standing motionless and he was HUGE. One of those big, jiggly-kind of bears that you want to pet and have him follow you around in Hollywood to impress the city-folk and scare away enemies. But alas, he was just a big, fluffy, bird-feeder-destroying, nosy, lookin’-for-a-snack-before-bedtime bear.
Delilah was still looking down, so I said quietly, “Dee! Come here!” He was watching us intently. She looked at me and cocked her pretty little head with her laser beam eyes, as I repeated to come hither and do so now. She responded by doing everything but what I wanted which was to let me grab her so she doesn’t see that humongous bear eyeballing us both and take off after him because this dude was not afraid of me. He had no intention of backing down for the human on the bridge with the little brown rabbit. Delilah is still looking at me warily and stepping back for every step I take forward, because she knows that the slightest urgency in my voice will mean something big is about to happen and she was destined to partake in the adventure no matter what. There was no way she was going to slow down the inevitable even though she wasn’t sure what the inevitable was other than it was bugging me. And then of course, onto the wooden boards of the bridge, appeared Cookie…the big, tough Pekingese.
Barrel chested, skinny butted, breathing-challenged Cookie steps past me, stops next to Dee and goes “Ruff!” in the direction of the black pile of muscle, blubber and fur standing with no fear whatsoever only 50 feet in front of her. Delilah turned, saw black, and it was “Game ON!”
With fur upright from her butt to the back of her head, Delilah ran full throttle at the big black target like birdshot to a clay pigeon. I started yelling “NO NO NO NO NO NO!” and the bear wasn’t super impressed in the slightest by the ferocious Dachse/Pomeranian hybrid getting bigger by the nanosecond with some other blonde rabbit lumbering behind “ruffing” in between bear-attacking breaths. Heck, he looked like he was thinking “once you get past the bark, they probably taste pretty good!”.
When I saw the bear waiting and not really moving as much as I would like him to move with my 9 and a half pound hors d’oeuvre in a dog suit, and a wide-chested blond block of figurative cheese wheezing into second place, I had no choice but to sprint right directly at the bear, arms waving and screaming my bloody head off while telling the dogs to stop. Well, Delilah, being of a particularly proud and feisty mutt caliber, got within four feet of the bear at the moment I began my charge, and then within two feet of the bear as I rapidly closed the gap. When the bear who was watching me decided that the big screaming guy was more than he wanted to mess with on this beautiful, comfortable evening, he finally turned to run. And, when the bear turned to run, Delilah smelled all the total power and control in the air that she was certain was completely due to her, and became louder and more ferocious as she now lapped at the pads of the bear’s back heals while ignoring me completely.
The bear ran faster than all of us and easily pulled out ahead. Up the foot path we went, cresting the small hill to Cabin 7 and there he was waiting for us. I was stumbling up the hill trying to get around Cookie (she’s slow on hills) without stepping on her while Delilah got right up to the bear again as did I after finally leaping over the blond wheezing Pekingese. Fortunately for us both, the bear turned once more and ran down a path that leads to the woods and bay area of Jasper Lake. He’s now running full tilt and so are the dogs. Cooking got her second wind and is almost keeping up with Delilah but her speed was mainly due to gravity going down a steep hill (think rolling wheel of cheese). The bear stops yet again in high grass broadside, sizing up those two yappy mutts, but then decides to go. Both dogs stare into the fall-time grass as if held back by an invisible fence, and the bear slipped into the silence of the evening.
I finally got both of them back up the hill and heading in the direction of the store. Delilah was prancing like a proud little reindeer who lead everybody through the night to deliver the Christmas presents. In dog terms, this day ended absolutely nothing short of awesome.
And what did we learn from tonight? Nothing….other than when Delilah attacks hard, bears sit up and take notice…at least that’s what she now thinks. And, Cookie? She’s sacked out in her dog bed. Meh….