Bears and Snakes

Hosea 13: 6-8 “As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud: Therefore, they forgot Me.  So I will be like a lion to them; like a leopard I will lie in wait by the wayside.  I will encounter them like a bear robbed of her cubs… New American Standard (NAS)

I hike alone.  Or at least I did until one April in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I had taken a trip to see the Sequoia trees and stayed in a rustic cabin invaded at night by scurrying critters in Kings Canyon National Park.  I had my trail map with me and took off from the parking lot along a river.  Suddenly, there was a flurry of activity in my peripheral vision, and I saw a black bear cub scramble up a tree and look at me.  I stopped, knowing Mama Bear must be close as I was no more than ten feet from the cub.  To my right, Mama came out of the woods from the river and stopped and sniffed.  She saw me and I slowly backed away.  This was nature at its most dangerous and most beautiful.  I reached into my backpack and took out my camera.  The little curious cub came down the tree and towards me, so now he was between me and his Mama. Not a good place for me.  I snapped the picture, and off the cub ran with Mama chasing him away from the human.  Then I shook with fear and adrenaline.  It had happened in a two minute time span, but I was smiling, alive and unhurt.  I backed away from that trail, watching for the bears, and went back to my car to collect my wits.  My pride in hiking alone was shaken as I thanked God for my safety, but decided that I had to be smarter to let people know where I was going realizing that this was the bear’s home, and I was a visitor.

 When have you been humbled by your circumstances and experiences in nature? What fears do you conquer in nature?

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