Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A BearWolf Attacked Us in Asheville

I am petrified of nature. Like, I hate and am afraid of 98% of everything the outdoors has to offer. I don't like bugs or wild animals or dirt or walking on dirt with bugs flying at me and the threat of wild animals attacking at every turn. It's just not my thing. I am a city girl through and through. But about a year ago, my husband and I went to Denver and took a side trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. We stayed just outside the park in a lovely little town called Estes Park, in a lovely little cabin surrounded by woods and a creek and real live elk. Of course, the cabin was luxe and had all the amenities I could ever want, but I did enjoy that cabin in the woods. I even enjoyed watching the elk as it was mating season and the dynamics were fascinating. The male was in charge, sure, and he would bellow to keep his harem in line. But then you'd see one female roll her eyes at him and another female would be like, hell yeah, I'm eye rolling too, this guy is just too much. And they would stand up and walk away. He'd yell and yell but they'd just keep walking and there was nothing he could do. I mean, he still had like 50 more ladies in his crew so he wasn't suffering, but it was kind of empowering to see the ladies say, I've had enough of your yelling and I'm out.

When it was time to pick a place to stay in Asheville, we looked in the city itself at some of the more upscale hotels, and we also looked in the mountains for a pretty, remote place to stay. I agreed to stay in the mountains (in a 3 bedroom cabin with a wall of windows overlooking the view, 2 hot tubs, 3 full bathrooms, a flat screen tv over the fireplace, and a game room with a pool table...so trust me, we were not roughing it) because I had a good experience in the Rockies so I was willing to try it again.

To jump to the end of the story - I loved the cabin, I loved the woods, I loved the whole experience of coming back there at night and sitting in front of the fireplace under blankets with my family and watching a movie, and waking up in the morning to a house filled with natural light and a view of utter gorgeousness. It was really delightful. But back to the beginning of the story...

We got to the cabin at about 11pm, and it was dark as hell up there. This cabin was wayyyy up on the mountain, and only part of the road was paved. So for about 25 minutes of the 40 minute drive up, we were on a one lane, unpaved, edge-of-cliff road. In the pitch black dark. This was the route on the GPS, to show you how windy and remote this road was:

Who creates roads that curves and twist and jackknife like this? Mountain people, that's who, to torture city folk.
 We get to the cabin and need a flashlight to get from the car to the front door. It is that dark. I can't see if a bear or deer or mountain lion is about to eat me, and I am petrified. The front door has a light on, which is great, except that since it is the only light for miles, it has attracted every moth in Western North Carolina (WNC, they call it. The people call it that, not the moths. I was too afraid of the moths to ask them what they call it.). We fight the moths off and get into the cabin. Whew, it's really nice and the internet didn't lie when it said this was a great place to stay. We check out all the rooms, and I check every pocket of space for squatters who could be holed up there for the winter and find none, so I'm happy. Yep, I'm that brand of crazy.

I go into the bedroom to change into my jammies and I hear Hubby and TJK's voices raise a bit. I listen carefully through the wall and hear them talking about some kind of bug in the kitchen. I try not to freak out - I mean, we have bugs in NJ too and you can just throw your shoe at them and it's all good. Or you can be like TJK and usher them gently out the window or door so they can go haunt someone else's life. Anyway, I start to come out of the bedroom and TJK comes running in and tells me not to come out.

"You don't want to see what's out there, Mommy. You won't like it."
"What is it? What kind of bug?"
"It's a spider but not the normal kind, it's like the kind you see in books."
"How big is it? Like scary big?"
She nods. "Yeah, its like this big," and she puts her forefingers and thumbs together to make the biggest circle I've ever seen.
"You're exaggerating."
"No, I'm not. I came in here to stop you from seeing it because I know you will freak out, but if you don't believe me, go look for yourself."
"No thank you, I have chosen to believe you and will stay in this room. Is Daddy killing it?"
"Daddy says it's too big to smoosh and he doesn't know what to do with it. If he tries to hit it and misses it might jump on him and bite him and he'll die of poisoning. So he is going to trap it under something and then figure it out. I need to go help him, bye," and with that she left me alone to imagine myself covered in bugs and scratching myself like crazy,

So eventually, they got the thing under a glass, onto a plate, and flung him off the deck into the woods. Of course, I couldn't sleep all night because I was sure he was angry and had made his way back into the house to eat my face while I was sleeping. Thankfully this did not happen and I still have my face.

The next morning, the cabin was filled with light and the view was stunning. We could see the mountains in the distance, the changing leaves on the trees, and no one else around for miles. As long as I didn't remind myself that if I was murdered up there, no one would hear me scream or find my body, I was truly in heaven. TJK and I went out on the deck and just stood in awe of the beauty of the scenery, and then talked about whether we could live in a place like this if hand-sized spiders didn't exist.

All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I see a huge beast making its way towards us. It wasn't lumbering, as you would have expected of a bear that was going to eat you, but it was more barreling towards us like a big fuzzy freight train with an appetite for human flesh. We both screamed bloody murder and I grabbed her and ran into the house, trying to shut the door before the animal could make a solid breakfast out of us. Then I see Hubby's face - rolling his eyes and laughing at us from inside the glass doors, and I can't imagine why he thinks it is funny that we just barely escaped being murdered.

TJK and I turn back to see the beast we have just escaped, only to find that it was not a bear at all, but a big, fluffy dog that has now rolled over on her back so we can rub her belly. My heart is still racing and I start laughing, and TJK yells at the mutt, "I THOUGHT YOU WERE A WOLF! THAT WAS MEAN!"
The picture is facing this way because she was legit just laying on her back the whole time begging to be massaged. She looks like neither bear nor wolf, in reality.
We pet the dog for some time and fell in love with her. We found out from her tags that her name was, in fact, Bear. So I was kind of right that a Bear tried to eat us except that instead of "eating us" she "forced us to pet her by being cute." Same, same. And also, she has one brown eye and one light blue eye, which means she was really part wolf or at least part Siberian Husky so TJK says, same, same.

We didn't see any wildlife after that - not a squirrel, nor a chipmunk, nor bear nor wolf nor tarantula. The only wildlife we saw were birds, and me drinking a lot of beer and dancing a bit. Which is the only kind of wildlife I really like: myself.

All in all, I did love the cabin and I loved Bear and I loved the mountain and I did not love the spider but I got over it mostly. And I can't wait to go back.

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