Rick, Leslie, and I just spent a great (extended) weekend in Stehekin, WA. This has become an annual trip and every year is just as good, if not better, than the previous year!
We had a little of everything this year. On our first full day in Stehekin a big storm with wind, hailstones, thunder, lightning, and a downpour kept us in the cabin most of the day. That day a boulder came tumbling down the mountains and it sounded like thunder. Leslie and I went on two ten-mile hikes (Rainbow Loop and Lake Shore) in addition to our shorter hike to Rainbow Falls.
Yesterday, we had Major Adrenaline Buzz when we saw a total of 6 bears on the Rainbow Loop! First we saw one Mama Bear and her cub up the mountain, off the trail. Leslie quickly got out her Bear Bells and we made tons of noise and walked down the path and past them. My heart was thumping. Twenty minutes later, I spotted another Mama Bear and her THREE cubs not far from us! This Mama Bear was HUGE and she was definitely looking at us. Her triplets were climbing trees, playing, and eating. Do we turn around or do we keep going? Do we drop to the ground and play dead or do we clap our hands and make a ton of noise?
We started clapping our hands loudly, jingling Bear Bells, talking loudly, and walking cautiously. The clapping got Mama Bear to move a bit up the hill and further away from the path. Good. Her triplets followed. Good. Don’t ask me how, but I got a quick photo. Not the best one, but I got one. As soon as we were well past her and she was out of OUR sight, we started running like crazy, drunk with adrenaline and the excitement of the potential danger which was now past us! My God, being in close range of 6 bears within 20 minutes is enough to give Post Traumatic Bear Syndrome (that term was coined by Leslie)!
While all this was happening, Rick was happily fishing on the river. I’m so thrilled that I at least have a photo of the second Mama Bear and one of the triplets, so that he could see what we saw! Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of me going in the glacial waters of the Stehekin River TWICE, once fully submerged! I am not one for dipping in cold water, but I did it. Leslie led the way and said, “You just have to do it quickly!” And that’s how it’s done! It definitely takes your breath away and leaves you feeling very very ALIVE. I will definitely be taking a dip in the frigid river every year from now on!