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Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Entry 46: 1961 Wally and the Bears

It was on one of the men’s camping trips to Yosemite, previously mentioned, that my uncle Wally and my dad went on a half-day hike.  Dad told me he and Wally came to a small section of the river where on the opposite side of the creek were two small bear cubs.  Uncle Wally was a constant prankster.  He jumped from stone to stone to cross the river and get close to the cubs.  When he tried his best to coax them near with a candy bar they became frightened and scurried up a small tree.  Dad said the cubs were about chest high to Wally.  Wally continued to approach grinning from ear to ear yelling at dad to take his picture.

The cubs began bawling for help.  Wally’s grin turned to panic when he and dad heard branches breaking and the momma bear snarling.  Dad said those cubs flew up the tree to escape from Wally.  Then he added Wally flew twice as fast making his way back to the safe side of the river.  Wally didn’t even try to stay on the stones!  He leaped right into that freezing water, which in some places was waste deep, and made his way to dad who by that time was quickly backing uphill to the path.  

After a good laugh, the two of them sat on a fallen log and watched the bear family.  When the cubs climbed down from the tree they exchanged grunting sounds with their mom and the three of them calmly disappeared into the treeline as if nothing had happened.  Dad said once Wally got color back in his face they shared the candy bars the cubs had not eaten. 

The following week when dad got his photos back from the drug store we saw pictures of all the men around the campfire, several pictures of bears, and one horrifying photo of Wally doing a handstand on the top of Glacier Point.  Wally had climbed over the safety rail and was on the famous rock extending beyond the edge of the mountain.  The photo shows Wally and nothing but space behind and below him.  He was at the farthest tip, had he lost his balance, even for a second, it would have been the end for him!  It gave all of us the “creepies” even to look at the photo.

This is my Uncle Wally sitting on a boulder at Mirror Lake on the Yosemite Valley Floor.


  1. what a great story,, scary too!

  2. Don't mess with them thar bears!!!!

    Our son climbed the back side of half dome, and he said standing on the top of that was pretty scary too.

  3. yes Wanda...I did too.....it will be in a 1963 blog..lol. you know that feeling when you look down like you almost NEED TO FALL OVER! and the last bit of half dome hike is holding onto a cable! I remember looking down and thinking how beautiful just like the guy on the Titanic saying he was ON TOP OF THE WORLD then my next thought...OH CRAP..now we have to walk back down....it was a long day..in the end well worth it...especially now!


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