We tried to get lunch. Again, even in the middle of nowhere, the waitress did not want to serve us. In turn, we did not want to give her our money. We left, finding nothing more than a loaf of bread and some cheese to pick at.
We drove all day, stopping when we felt inspired. We walked around villages and quaint shopping plazas. We even rented a canoe for a couple of hours and had a paddle around. And unanimously, we wanted to pitch our tent well before dark.
But it was another night of “Goldilocks and the three bears.” Forging down a narrow, dirt trail, we were most certain our success would come early. It did not. The road only led to a state park. There were a couple of places to pitch a tent, but others had beat us to it. We did not want company.
After backtracking to the main road, we added an unnecessary 50 miles on our already long day’s journey. Some places were too narrow to pitch a tent. We had no good fortune. Traveling down another dirt trail, we came to a spot that just might work. What we didn’t like were the two fishers in the river.
Pulling our car close to the side of the road, we both got out to inspect the patch down by the water. Seemed okay. I caught a brief glimpse out of the corner of my eye of a huge dog running toward us. He was big and brown. Perhaps the biggest dog I had ever seen. I was signalling Windy to take a look. With my own re-evaluation, it came to my attention that this was no dog at all. “BEAR!” we shouted. And then we did the very thing they tell you not to do. We ran. We ran to the car. We were trembling and laughing nervously. But we both got in and sat there, frozen. The bear paid us nothing more than a casual look, more interested in fishing down below in the river.
“The fisherman!” we exclaimed.
It was the moment of decision. Do we get out of the car and see if the bear is eating them? We could at least roll down the windows to hear if they screamed. For half an hour we saw or heard nothing. Gathering our courage, we got out of the car together and made way for the ravine. Looking down to the river, we saw nothing. No bear. No fishers. Maybe they simply left.
Had the bear gone fishing, too, and eaten. Was he satisfied? What should we do.
It was dark. Windy and I did not want to drive any further. Agreeing, bear or no bear, we would camp there in the woods, we parked the car facing the trail to the river and turned on the brights. We sang and made loud noises. We took no food into the tent.
Having more bread and cheese in the car, we made one last trip down. We had never sat up camp so fast.
For the rest of the night, and there was a lot of it, we only sat in the tent. I desperately wanted to go out and see the stars. I made a brief escape and stood near the car door. Windy wanted none of it.
We awoke to the sound of a pack of mountain bikers hitting a wooden bridge. Windy went down stream to bathe. I made way for some rocks out in front of us. As I sat there having my morning devotions, I noticed something suspicious.