There we were, at the beginning of the (first) trailhead that would take us to our dream destination. A remote lakeside cabin.
Trekking through mud with heavy packs was secondary to the fact that the setting was relaxing. Peaceful. Quiet.
Several miles into our big hike, we hadn't seen a single person. Then – at about mile 5 – that changed in a big way. We knew we were in for something interesting when we saw guns leaning up against a tree.
Two tough looking guys, decked out in military grade camouflage, were slumped between two logs. They were talking with an older woman who was passing by. We heard the word "bears" several times and knew we had to stop. Yes, even with guns in the mix.
It turns out that the guys had been in the area for several days. Why? Because it's prime bear hunting territory. They were on a mission to kill black bears (it's illegal to kill grizzlies without a guide, so they said) for their skins "and some meat" for good measure.
We were shocked, pissed, scared and a few other things.
"You guys military? Where you heading to?" One asked.
"No, we're just going up to the forest service cabin about five more miles ahead." I said, trying to veil the fear and contempt in my eyes.
"Oh, that's the cabin we just based out of for a few days."
We endured a couple more minutes of Rambo time and then made quick work of getting the hell out of there as fast as we could.
"You gotta be careful. There's a grizzly living behind your outhouse." One shouted as we scooted up the trail.
Hell to the no.
We tried to put that interaction out of our minds as we trekked towards the cabin. It was gorgeous; we especially enjoyed the autumn colors that were just beginning to emerge in the area.
Nearing the lake, the setting just got more and more placid. Plus, our excitement grew, as we knew this meant we were getting close to our base station.
Wouldn't you know – upon hitting the stairs leading to the door – we started talking about the warning that those guys had left us with. Was there a grizzly chilling in our temporary hood?
We were about to find out.
Please share a time when you were scared out of your mind :)