“How do you feel about the eighteenth?” I asked Jim, my fiancé at the time, while trying to plan our trip. I’d never desired a wedding, so we chose to elope and surprise everybody.
“Works for me,” he shrugged.
“Okay cool because Aunt Flo will happen the week before so I think we’d be clear even if I was late, but there’s no way I’d be that early.”
“Whatever you wanna do is fine with me,” he said kissing the top of my head.
“Cool! We have a wedding date!”
Fast forward to August 19th, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We had just become husband and wife, and were enjoying our week long honeymoon. We were hiking a trail that ran along the perimeter of Leigh Lake. It was close to sunset. We rounded a corner….and froze.
We’d read all the advisories: “what to do if you come face-to-face with a bear“:
Don’t turn your back to them, it’s too submissive and they will attack.
Don’t look them in the eye, it’s a challenge to them.
Don’t run, you’ll elicit a chase.
Back away slowly so they know you’re not a threat.
But when fear seizes your throat, the fright and flight instinct has a way of moving your muscles for you.
We turned around, immediately breaking the first rule. Shocked. Scared. We began walking away, quickly, but good lord it was such an effort to keep from running. We had no idea if it was following us.
After what seemed like forever and every cuss word in the book uttered under panicked breath, we braved a quick, over-the-shoulder glance.
Whew! The trail was clear, but we didn’t slow our pace. Gripping each other’s arms we continued to fast-walk the hell outa there.
“Wow, that fucker was huge,” I panted. “It was so creepy the way it was just standing in the trees, swaying.”
“Standing? I saw it run across the trail towards the water. Looked like a baby.”
A chill ran up my spine. “Mother of God, there were two! A mother and her baby! Mothers are the most aggressive!”
“Holyshitholyshitholyshit we were just so damn lucky!” he said glancing over his shoulder again.
As soon as we confirmed she wasn’t after us, we started running. In fact we ran like chicken-shits all the way back to the car.
Half an hour later we arrived at our hotel room, still shaken, not able to believe what had just happened. You hear about seeing bears in the wild, but when you actually see one right in front of you, it’s astonishing how terrified and vulnerable you feel.
I went to the restroom to empty my full bladder, relieved I hadn’t peed my pants in the woods, and that’s when I realized something horrific.
The bear sighting had scared me so bad, it awakened Aunt Flo.
Three weeks early.
On my honeymoon.
Have you ever had a bear encounter, or seen some other large animal in the wild? Or, have you ever had a vacation ruined by something unexpected? I love to hear your stories!
Oh. My. God. Just…wow. Honeymoons have a thing for being ruined. I didn’t get Aunt Flo, but my husband got a sinus infection. Loads of fun.
You poor thing. I call a redo on the honeymoon…but without bears…#SW
Ew, a sinus infection – that would suuuuuck!
I guess in actuality, the fact that we weren’t attacked by the bear would make this a great honeymoon story, BUT STILL! Aunt Flo is such an asshat.
Yes she is. And not getting attacked is a bonus, for sure.
Omg. I’m in tears I’m laughing so hard. I’m so sorry SW. That sucks but the story was awesome! I think I would’ve peed all over myself if I saw a bear though. Hoooolllly shit.
We laugh too….NOW. Not then. We practically shit out pants! It was SO scary. There is nothing that makes you more vulnerable than a HUGE AGGRESSIVE wild animal right in front of you! It will definitely make your body do weird things. Like Aunt Flo. (bitch)
Daaaang, that sucks. If that were my husband and me, my husband would have tried to shoot it. I would have shit my crapped my pants for sure – the bear and a gun shot would be too much for my body to handle. HA!
LOL yes, the bear AND gunfire would’ve done even worse things to me! Now I just hike with bear spray, a bear whistle, and I wear Depends. I figure that way I’m covered.
“I READ SOMEWHERE THAT THEIR PERIODS ATTRACT BEARS.”
LikeLiked by 1 person
ROFLMAO!! I love that clip!
I know all too well about bears smelling blood since I’m the girl who got her period on every fucking trip EVER, and we do a shit-ton of hiking so trust me – no one ever wanted to hike with me! They hung bear bells on me for pete’s sake. (not any more tho – hysterectomy 2010 WOOOOOP! FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ohhhh man…I selfishly love ruined honeymoon stories. They make me feel not alone. The Hubby and I encountered bears during the week we got engaged, WHILE we were eating fish and chips outside — might as well have said “here, beary, beary, beary!”
But the very day after we got married, Steve got food poisoning for at least 12 hours, starting in the middle of the night, while we were camping. Vomit & diarrhea at the same time, with no toilet and only a few garbage bags. I threw away so many of his nice pants.
2 weeks later, the day after my birthday, I was in the ER for a kidney infection. I had to go to the hospital once a day for 2 hours to get IV antibiotics. Turns out that sex without regular dosages of cranberry juice are just no fun for anyone. 😉
Diarrhea AND vomit…in a tent? No. Just no. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I think I’d rather be attacked by a bear. I’m not even kidding.
Also, you poor thing with the kidney infection!!! THAT SUUUUUCKS.
Welllllll we DID have a camper, but still no bathroom close by. Slightly better than a tent. 😉
We love telling newly engaged people our honeymoon horror stories. We feel it prepares them for real life even if they didn’t ask for it. =P
haha yes it’s fun to horrify people. (and a camper still sucks when combined with the shits and hurls!)
omg I just can’t…. my boss just asked why I was laughing….ooops caught reading your blog.
You are just wayyy too fuunnyy… laughing too hard.. was reading sleepily, and this woke me right up! 🙂
Yay sleepy laughter! Thanks for the awesome compliment. 🙂
I’ve spent nine seasons snowboarding in Mammoth Lakes, and for five of them, I had a boyfriend who lived there. He texted me many pictures of bears trying to get into his exterior garbage cans. I was always annoyed that the bears only came when I left. I finally saw my first and only in the middle of the road in Yosemite. I was in a car, so there was no fear, only satisfaction, and a little disappointment that it looked like a big dog because it was on all fours.
I like the image of you and Jim running like “chicken shits” together. There’s something endearing about it, and I bet you laughed a lot afterwards.
ha yes, that would be very anticlimactic to see it run in front of your car looking all small and domestic. 🙂
We sat around with stunned looks on our faces for about half an hour. Then we laughed, and told everyone, and laughed some more. That was in 2001. Wow. Time flies.
Like sharks, drawn to the scent of blood… You must have some sort of biological imperative to be mauled by a bear.
Seriously. And it happened every trip, so no one wanted to hike with me lest I lure all the bears. I thought I’d managed to outsmart Aunt Flo on this trip….but alas….the bear(s) sighting changed all that.
And this is why I bought that bear spray. I’ve never encountered one, but I know one day I will. 🙂