Bear Sighting | Teen Ink

Bear Sighting

April 6, 2021
By AtlasK PLATINUM, Tirana, Other
AtlasK PLATINUM, Tirana, Other
24 articles 1 photo 9 comments

My family and I went on a trip to the Smokey mountains in 2015. We were warned by the many signs that wild bears did live in these mountains, and if you saw one don't get too close and don’t provoke it. Of course, I didn’t pay much attention because I never thought I’d actually see one. The hike was long, and by the time we were close enough to hear the running water, I was exhausted. I started looking for a stick I could use as a hiking stick. I fell behind my family, still scanning the ground. I went off the edge of the trail where the dirt wasn’t compacted, and the soil shifted making me slide down the mountain a foot or two. I looked down at the bottom of the slope, and saw a big black bear standing on all fours. It wasn’t facing me or even looking at me, it was just standing there looking into the woods. I jumped to my feet and ran back to my family in fear, and said, “I hope no one saw what I saw.” When I explained what happened none of them believed me. 
That was a terrifying experience. When I first saw the bear, I thought it was looking directly at me, and I thought I was a dead man. When I realized it wasn’t looking at me, I was worried about making any small noise and drawing its attention. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just ran. And I know now that might not have been the best idea because if the bear noticed me it would have chased me and easily outrun me. But the bear didn’t notice, and I got away fine. For the rest of the hike though, I was paranoid, worried that I might see another bear. To this day no one in my family believes that I saw a bear on that hike. My Dad still thinks that someone put a life size cardboard cutout of a bear as a prank and that is what I saw. 
Through the years I have had more run-ins with wild animals. When my family and I went to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, we saw a bison walking in the parking lot where we were currently standing. It walked towards our car, and I was face to face with it for a few seconds then quickly got into my car. The bison then went behind our car and continued walking. That was even more horrifying because it knew I was there, and I was only a meter or so away from it. I had heard my Dad talking about how bison in this park were attacking people who got too close to them and felt threatened. That made me even more scared because I thought I would get attacked like those other people, but when it started walking away, I calmed down. 
Close encounters with wild animals seem to be a reoccurring theme in my family. All my family members were there for the bison incident, and some had some encounters on their own. Like my brother got surrounded by monkeys in Thailand. It happens very frequently for us. 

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