Sometime last week or whenever (I don’t know), I told you about that time I almost got eaten by a fuzzy black beast while driving on the highway. It was terrifying. I’m sure as you read it, my eloquent words evoked a deep sense of terror down in your gut and you vomited and/or shat yourself. It’s only natural.
Let me tell you about this one other time I almost died. It happened only three days ago, so the terror is still very fresh and new. My sisters and I made the grandiose decision to drive as deep into the wilderness as we could possibly get (in this case, the West Virginia mountains) because we refuse to do anything halfway. It’s all or nothing with us. If we’re not on death’s doorstep at every turn, we have failed ourselves. We’re smart like that.
So we were up on this mountain. We stayed in a remote, although very nice, cabin with animal heads all over the walls (naturally). There was a hole in the floor pretending to be a toilet with strict written instructions to “SPRINKLE 1/2 KETTLE OF SAWDUST DOWN HOLE AFTER GOING #2.”
There were also these cubical gadgets strategically placed throughout the cabin. When a switch was flipped, they emitted a super high-pitched, super annoying sound.
“TURN ON CRITTER DETERRENTS WHEN LEAVING CABIN TO KEEP 4-LEGGED (AND 2-LEGGED) CRITTERS OUT!” read the written instructions.
This was our view from the front porch:
Have I successfully set the scene? OK, good. Onward.
It was Saturday. We strapped on our helmets, hopped on our mountain bikes and took off down a three-mile logging road nearby. A bubbling river, called Sugar Creek, awaited us at the bottom, per the cabin owner’s written guide. Sugar Creek was supposed to be our end destination.
After about 20 minutes of downhill riding, we heard the promise of rushing water.
“We’re close!” shouted Meghan, leading the way. The oldest sister always leads the way.
But we never quite made it to Sugar Creek. There ahead, not 50 feet from of us, smack dab in the middle of the totally deserted logging road, was a black bear and two cubs. I didn’t even see them at first. I just heard Meghan say,
“Oh my god, there’s a bear. No, three bears.”
Our dogs took off like lunatics after the group of bears (GROUP OF MOTHERFUCKING BEARS, PEOPLE) while I was trying to recover from my sudden onset heart attack.
I turned my bike around. We had just coasted downhill for three miles, which meant it wasn’t going to be an easy trek back up. It certainly wasn’t going to be fast, and the only thing I cared about at that moment was going fast, because going fast meant not getting mauled to death by a black bear in the middle of the West Virginia wilderness where nobody would ever find my remains.
I could hear my sisters’ high-pitched screams behind me, ordering their two dogs to come back. I started to pedal hard, watching for Meghan and Monica over my shoulder and yelling for them to follow me. Thankfully, for the first time in their lives, the dogs listened.
It was too tough to pedal. I couldn’t get any momentum going. The hill was too steep, the road was too rough, and my bike was far too shitty to handle it. So the three of us ran, our arms extended, pushing our bikes up Point Mountain, gasping for air and whipping around to check behind us every second.
The bear didn’t follow us. It took a good fifteen minutes for my heart rate to return to normal, and about an hour to get back up the mountain to our safe, critter-free cabin.
“We can’t tell dad about this,” Monica said. “He’ll freak out.”
I have a nice blister to show for it. I’m telling people it’s a bear bite, because that’s way cooler, obviously. And my dad didn’t freak out too much, although I doubt he’ll be joining us next year when we go back.