Waltzes With Bears

August 11

Back in the 1990s the movie “Dances with Wolves” came out and my dad, who loved to mess with titles, called it everything but its real name.  “Foxtrots with Wolves” was a favorite of mine.  He had messed with the title so much that when he and my mother went to see it he – in all seriousness – went up to the ticket window and asked for “Two for ‘Waltzes with Wolves’”. So in honor of my dad, I call this story “Waltzes with Bears”.

We were sitting in the woods eating our breakfast bars when – in a tone of voice one might use to comment on the weather – Prairie Dog said, “There’s a bear coming.” (South Dakotans! Does anything rile them?!)

We stood up and I swung around to see what she saw: a big black bear heading our way.  It saw us.  It saw us seeing it.  It kept coming! 

The first dance I did was the hokey pokey.  “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” It slowed down but didn’t stop. So I upgraded my dance to the 1960s song “Shout” as in “Raise your hands up and shout!” which I did with gusto.  It stopped,  turned to the side and began to lumber away.  Then stopped.  A second verse of “Shout” was employed and it kept moving along.  Phew!  So much dancing so early in the morning!

We’ve seen a half dozen bears at least on this trip but the only other time that involved a dance was back in the Shenandoahs. I believe you might call it a waltz.

It was midafternoon when I came wheeling around a curve in the trail to find mama bear and her two cubs eating berries.  (Up, 2, 3. Back, 2, 3.) I stopped Prairie Dog from barreling into me and explained to her the situation.

Up, 2, 3. She hadn’t moved. Side, 2, 3. Back, 2, 3. We watched as she treed the two cubs.  Not much bigger than the size of your teddy bear as a kid, they climbed up while staring over their shoulders at us. So cute! 

We wait. They climb down.  We wait.  Then – up, 2, 3 – oops! She hadn’t gotten them across the trail yet!  She puffs at us and paws the ground! Side,  2, 3. Back, 2, 3. The cycle repeats!  Back up the tree.  So cute!  Back down the tree.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait. Up, 2, 3. She’s gone…sort of. 

We walk on to find her just down the trail at the next berry bush. Oh my!  One more waltz and the dance floor empties.  Seems she didn’t like the waltz that much. 

May all your bear encounters be with the teddy kind.

Blessings on the journey, Dragonfly

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About dragonfly2013at

Years ago i was walking in nature and a dragonfly landed on my hand. My hiking companion commented,"Change is coming in your life." Indeed, it was! I worked in business where pumps were the fashion. I left it for work where orange shoes are appreciated. This suits me. I love what I do. I just need a break to refresh and so I am! I am the 4th of 11 children. Years ago orange shoes assured that I would not be left behind (we moved a lot)...or suffer face first in a snow drift for too long. I will wear orange laces on the hike. Orange is not in hiking boot fashion at this time. Blessings on the journey. Dragonfly
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10 Responses to Waltzes With Bears

  1. Special K says:

    “…Lions and Tigers and BEARS, oh my!” No…wait!!! I mean “…Flies and Ticks and BEARS, oh my!” I am completely enjoying your journal entries and continuing to hike, although now, vicariously through you. Are you still in CT? Hollister and I are in Maine and he has a broken fibula and a torn meniscus. After his surgery he’d like to hike the second half. It was so nice meeting and leap-frogging you both! I look forward to more exciting entries as you make your way up north! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!!!!! P.S. Regarding your last post: I am VERY familiar with the term “FACE-PLANT”. In fact, if you consult Mr. Webster you may just see me there!

    • dragonfly2013at says:

      Hey there Special K! So great to see you on line since we don’t get to see you live and in person anymore. Maybe you should consider summiting with us in early October? What do you think?

  2. michele says:

    What a story. Wonder if ol’ Smokey Bear will appear complementing you on your handling of bears. He’d likely also compliment you on your fire safety practices. You do have a fire drill once in a while don’ t you!!!!? Speaking of bears, did you sing ” the Bear Went Over the Mountain when you were in Bear Mountain? Bears like it when you sing about them. Never know what will happen if you don’t. You seem to know how to “disco” when a bear is in town. Likely Mama Bear didn’t like your last dance number. Will consult a friend about the possibility of Swing Dancing with Bears. She teaches a class around here. You might be able to actually get a little closer and even REALLY dance with a bear. Wouldn’t that be cool???? I think they might like swing dancing.

    You are doing great!! Keep on dancin’

  3. Pam says:

    May you continue being the teacher and leader in the dancing! I’ll send more comments by mail. I was lucky and got to hold a baby bear once (no mother around, a LOT safer). They are cute.

  4. Karen says:

    Excuse me very much, but I believe Bear encounters sometimes involve laundry and dinner and wine and a real bed. And occasionally dancing. It was so great to see you! Love, KLEJKE and HMS Bears

  5. Hey prairiedog could you delete last comment…somehow name attached and don’t want that if possible

  6. Doug Walter ( trailwalker) says:

    Glad to hear the great progress you two are making ..Home last Sunday from my hiking trip to SNP.. Did eighty -seven miles in seven days , celebrating my 70th birthday ..Had a ball ..Some bad weather , part of it though..Look for your entries in the shelter register ,didn’t see any . Some of the registers had been replaced with new one ..Saw four bears and about 20+ deers…Ran in a flip flopper, ” Doe” and a another couple doing it too.. “Shush ” and here husband ..Didn’t know if you passed them or not ..They did from Harper Ferry to ” Big K” and now heading to Springer from HF… Have a good day ..Look forward to following you more closely now ..Take care and walk softly .

    • dragonfly2013at says:

      Hey there Trailwalker! Glad you had a good hike! Too bad you didn’t see my entries for you. I left at least 4. Glad to have you back with us in blog-space. We will walk softly and as kindly as we can.

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