One afternoon, I was moseying about our trails when I came across a track in the mud. Curious, I bent closer and inspected it and my thought process went something like this:
"Hmm... what is that?"
"That's rather large."
Straighten up. Look around.
Bend down and inspect again.
"Huh. I don't think that's a dog track. But damn, that's a big track."
Put hand down to compare size. Print is nearly as big as my hand.
"Oh, good god! I think that's a bear track."
(Glancing around quickly and over my shoulder because now EVERY NOISE indicates that the could-be bear is lurking close by.)
"No way. That can't be a bear track. I just walked this trail yesterday with the dogs and our scent is everywhere. Pffftttt."
(Trying to convince myself that a bear wasn't lurking about.)
Rational side of brain: "I'm pretty sure that's a bear track. Go get Chris to weigh in."
So, back down the trail I went and up to the house where Chris had been napping in the hammock.
Chris' head shoots up out of the hammock. Thoroughly roused and highly annoyed he responds, "What?"
Me: "I think I found a bear track."
He looks unimpressed.
Me again: "Really. It's as big as my fist."
Chris: "You know the neighbor's dog sometimes gets out."
Me: "I don't think this is a dog track."
Still unimpressed and mostly a doubting Thomas, Chris climbs out of the hammock and reluctantly walks down the driveway with me to our trail.
And then I show him this:
Oh, ho ho. Now I have his attention.
So he studies on it as I did (except for the glancing around) and studies it and studies it and says nothing to confirm my suspicions until at last he says, "Yeah, I think you're right."
WHAT? I'M RIGHT?
I would like to be right about something else.
Bears are fine. Bears are good. WHEN THEY ARE FARTHER AWAY FROM MY HOUSE.
Bears are still a novelty back in Missouri and rarely show up, but here in South Carolina, most people have a fairly flippant attitude towards them because they grew up around them. Me, well, I can't be that nonchalant.
I look at Chris. I look at the possible bear print. I say, "I think we should check the game camera."
And, lo and behold:
We have ourselves a bear.
You had better believe I have been making an obnoxious amount of noise everytime I go outside and on the trails. A lot of racket. And I usually take the dogs. Because "Carolina raccoons" or not, I don't want to find out how I would react if I saw one up close and personal.