If you were to ask me what my most amazing nature experiences have been, I would tell you there are two: visiting the Columbia Icefield in British Columbia and walking on the Athabasca glacier (and drinking pure water from it!) and a private airboat tour through the Everglades, where we fed alligators and visited old fishing camps (and we did not drink the water!).
This week I added a third: standing so close to a black bear that only twelve inches and a pane of glass separated us! Y’all, it was absolutely AMAZING. Like the other two experiences, probably a once in a lifetime event.
When the two bears paid us a nighttime visit recently, the floodlight outside our bedroom window was not working. So you can bet that I wasted no time calling a contractor friend for an electrician recommendation! Geoff with Newcastle Electric came out last Friday and repaired the circuit just in time, because Sunday night one bear returned (that we could see). I mean, what bear can resist cherries? I knew they’d be back.
One or both returned at the same time as before–about 10:15 PM Sunday night. We were in bed reading when I heard scruffing outside the bedroom window. I jumped up, turned on the flood light, and y’all, the bear was RIGHT THERE!!
And I mean on the ground two feet from our window–and then he moved in even closer! The light did not phase him in the least. He lumbered even closer to the window until he was only a foot from us! This wall of the house is dug into a hill, so the bottom of the window is at ground level, which put us literally eye to eye with the bear. He never looked into the window, but he probably heard us whispering. It was a mesmerizing moment. I wanted to grab my camera, but even more, I did not want to miss one second of being so close to a wild bear.
He shuffled around in front of us for a bit (not long enough!) before ambling over to the other wild cherry tree. He literally hopped into the tree, and we could see branches swaying as he climbed around. Suddenly, he tumbled out with an audible “whump!” when he hit the ground. He tried reaching into the tree for more cherries before wandering off into the night. We did not see another bear, but it was very dark outside, so it could’ve been nearby.
I just knew that since the flood light was on that we would have some fantastic pictures of him standing in front of the bedroom window. In the morning I eagerly plugged the SD card from the trail cam into the reader, and the reader into my phone.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Apparently, even with the light on, the bear was out of camera range in the darkness. We got a couple of pictures recently because it was 6:30AM, and there was just enough ambient light to take pictures.
Not to be deterred, I moved the camera to a Russian olive tree on the other side of the cherry trees. For sure we should get pictures of the cherry tree closest to the house, and maybe from the other cherry tree, too. There is still fruit on the trees, so likely one or more bears will be back. Don’t you know that every night at 10:15, I am peering out of the window to the cherry tree.
As if that was not enough exitement for one week, on Monday we picked up our new-to-us Subaru Outback! Friday afternoon we met with our friend Anthony Juliano at Don K Subaru in Whitefish. We planned to test drive an Outback and a Forester and a Jeep Cherokee. (All are available at the same dealership.) We had no plans to purchase that day.
However, after learning how Subaru symmetrical all wheel drive works and about all of the safety features that are available on Subarus, I was sold, although I didn’t really know if these features were in our price range. I did know enough from looking at other cars that it’s hard to find a vehicle that is relatively new AND has all of the safety features AND is in our price range.
When we were outside looking at a Forester and an Outback side by side, I noticed a 2015 Outback in wilderness green for sale. I pointed it out to John and we asked to see it. Y’all, it is LOADED. It has safety features that I am not even sure I can explain.
There’s a feature called “eyesight” that you can read about it here. Another feature alerts me if I am changing lanes or backing up and a vehicle enters my blind spot. It has a rear back up camera, and like most newer vehicles, bluetooth connection to my phone. I had no idea that a car can read your texts to you! The last time we bought a vehicle was 2005, so please understand why I am wow’ed by all of these new features.
We have been following hurricane Florence this week, waiting to see where it hits, as we have family in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Atlanta is hundreds of miles inland from both the Eastern coast and the gulf coast, but it regularly gets smacked by the tail ends of hurricanes. Even after being here for nearly six years, I caught myself a couple of times mentally calculating how many days would pass before we get rain from Florence. Ha!
This is as close to a hurricane as we get in Montana: