When Brian and I lived in a little trailer in the country in Hermosa ("World's Most Beautiful Trailer Park," I always called it) we had a set of secondhand golf clubs. I think Brian took a golf class for his P.E. credit in college. One day, we decided to drive up to the mountains and practice golfing. We wound up in the insanely picturesque area behind what used to be called "Purgatory," a ski resort north of Durango.
We soon figured out that, once you shoot your ball (or whatever you call hitting it in golf) it is absolutely impossible to ever find it again. We only had four balls, so the practice was short. Then we were searching for the lost balls. As we were searching, a Black Bear walked by.
I don't know how to describe that feeling, the feeling you have when you are in a majestic wilderness, basically minding your own business, and a giant creature that could easily eat you at the drop of a hat walks by, minding its own business. It's a bit humbling. We saw it from far away, coming down an opposite mountain, and it walked closer to us and then kept on its way, completely uninterested in us or our golf game.
We had golf clubs. We were both ready to re-purpose our golf clubs as weapons. As it turned out, though, at its closest to us, it still had to be thirty feet away.
It was quite beautiful, too.
That was the first time, but not the last time I stumbled upon a bear in the wild. The next time it would be much, much closer.