Letters from Ann Bowling, September 30, 2009
Although growing up in Colorado, and camping much of my life, I had never had a confrontation with a bear in the wild. When camping, we always kept our fish and other food outside the tent in an ice chest with a heavy rock or two on top to discourage the small animals who range through the campgrounds at night.
One day some years ago while camping on Cebolla Creek, my husband, Dewey, met his first bear. That day he and I and the two boys had made a trip to Lake City for gas and a few groceries, and perhaps a strawberry soda at the drug store. The boys, a little tired of eating fish every day, found, in Murphy’s store, a tall, lovely can of Ravioli just waiting to be devoured by two hungry boys.
In a moment of weakness I bought them the ravioli. (The “you catch it, you eat it” rule was understood, as we were only allowed a specified number of fish each day, and with 4 fishermen it meant eating fish every day or not fishing.)
They warmed the ravioli on the fire that evening. After they had eaten about half the can I suggested they save the rest for the next day. The half-full can was lovingly placed in the ice chest under the cold bags of fresh fish, and after placing the heavy rocks on top we crawled into our sleeping bags.
It must have been early morning when I heard my husband exclaim “you didn’t put the rocks on the ice chest! Do you hear that?” He unzipped the tent door and went out. After a few moments he came running back in, exclaiming “It’s a bear! It’s a d___ bear!” He ran from the tent, pistol in hand. He looked at the bear standing on his hind legs, holding the empty Ravioli can in his paw, and the bear looked back. After a few long moments the bear growled a loud growl, got down on all fours, and left to check the next camper, leaving untouched fish lying on the ground.
I guess bears, like boys, get tired of fish every day!