Later in the summer we were back in Yosemite again. There seemed to be more bears than usual in the Yosemite Valley. We were tent camping. The kids and I were in the tent. Larry was lying just outside the tent across the doorway. We’d been in our sleeping bags for a while and slowing the kids, one by one, were falling to sleep. I heard an odd sound from outside and peeked under the tent door flap.
I called to Larry telling him there was a bear just outside the tent. . He asked how far away not wanting to frighten it away so he could get a good look at it. Larry didn’t seem to realize just where the bear was. When I told him it was on the end of his sleeping bag he stayed very quiet, opened his eyes, and instead of seeing the bear we were seeing, saw the bear in the following picture.
Being my hero, which he is, he flew out of that sleeping bag and towards the picnic table. He began yelling as loudly as he could in efforts to scare the bear away from the tent door. This was probably around 10 o’clock in the evening, just as all the campers are quietly enjoying their fires and trying to get the little ones to sleep.
Larry’s noise was heard! The bear looked at him like he was as threatening as a tree stump and slowly meandered away. The bear wasn’t the only one that heard Larry’s screams. Flashlights started turning on all around us. A woman screamed a couple of campsites away as the bear walked through her camp. More light beams landed on Larry as the seconds passed.
There stood Larry in his underwear with 20 or more flashlights directed right on him. I think everyone was so excited about the bear they didn’t really notice what Larry was wearing. But in a very embarrassing moment, Larry did. He grabbed his pants lying by his sleeping bag and literally jumped into them. A crowd of over thirty campers gathered and talked and laughed for a good half an hour. Slowly everyone wished all a good night and we all went back to bed. We have never forgotten that incident.
The next afternoon an even bigger bear walked through our camp. He didn’t stop; he just slowly walked in the direction of the nearby apple orchard. There was a large group of Japanese folks camping just up the road. They were following behind the bear. Larry and I and the kids followed too. Larry started walking faster than everyone else and got quite a bit ahead of the group. It was easy to see these folks were a lot more timid concerning the bear. They were all carrying pots and pans and making noise to scare the bear away from their camp areas.Larry and the bear were probably about 50 yards ahead of the group, and just at the edge of the meadow, when he turned and started running back toward the crowd. “He’s coming, he’s coming this way” he shouted. Those folks all turned at once and started running for home! I don’t think their feet touched the ground and I don’t think any of them ever looked back.
When Larry and I got back to camp we laughed ourselves silly. Heidi, Robin, and Adam stayed a little closer to camp after that. If they wandered too far I’d simple tell them if they heard any growling to come back to our camp. They’d freeze in their tracks, gather together in a group, and come close to an adult. I don’t think that old bear even knew what happened. He just stayed on course for the apply orchard.