Nothing is set in stone, says the plaque carved out in stone. Irony is everything. So you will quite imagine my reaction when my bear-lovin’ husband refused flat out to go hiking in the impossibly verdant mountains of Vermont before falling into a deep snooze.
I should also ideally sleep because I had absolutely zilch of it last night in all the excitement of setting out on our first American road trip after the move. It is all so bloody exciting that I cannot begin to express it in words. I feel that to communicate it thoroughly I should do a wonky jig and then OD on maple candies like Ross. But all I have at the moment is a bottle of organic maple syrup that I bought in a tiny pretty town which I shall tell you about later. Meanwhile it is pouring outside – the pitter patter is hypnotic but I could do without it – and tomorrow is supposed to be a washout. Old men are doling out advise to the young that they should go fishing. We are yet to decide what we shall do. What we therefore have been planning is a hike the day after.
As we were planning our thoughts over succulent Thai curries and sticky rice, washed down by appropriate amounts of red wine and beer, Adi decided that I would be a nightmare even if I were armed with bear spray.
He: ‘You would be scrounging around in your bag to find it first and then declare 10 times over how there are too many things in it.’
I: ‘I would not.’
He: ‘Oh yes you would and then you would possibly ask the bear to pause awhile before you could fish it out.’
I: ‘You would be surprised. There are other ways. The most famous one: Slap the bear.’
He: ‘And how do you propose to do that? Bears are tall. Would you ask him to bend for you?’
I: ‘I have ways that you know not of. I will leave him a meal of ghost chilli pepper wings’ (I think ghost chilli peppers are popular in America – for I detected bottles of them today in a fresh market at a services stop. I knew Americans are a bit odd – now now, don’t get your panties in a twist!).
I did my research a while ago. It seems that in a decade the black bear population in Vermont has shot up from 50 to a rough count of above 200. As a result the smaller-than-the-grizzly but generally not too friendly black boys have been visiting their human neighbours. Like the guy who was in his kitchen doing some kitchen work (of course) when he thought someone was at the door. There was someone there alright. A big furry bundle in black weighing about 400 pounds, that’s all.
Once the rural folk of this green mountain state had hunted down their large population of bears to woeful numbers, sometime in the 1800s, and it was controlled. Subsequently ended up wiping them out almost. And now here we are. More bears than humans in the forest. I am not complaining for I love all cuddly animals, though I will gladly exhange a bear for a Newfie or Leonberger anyday, everyday.
The point of this long, bleary-eyed prattling is that, we could do with some bear country wisdom from you out there. I know of a blogger but he is out hiking for months I believe.
So my good folks, SOS. That is because I am an optimist. Just about the hike. Not about Adi doling out bear hugs despite his wariness about meeting those big bumbling boys of the forests.