|The Bear. Photo by Clark F.|
For all the hair-raising, death-defying stunts I have pulled while out geocaching, I have suffered very few caching-related injuries. I tend to do more harm to myself going from one room in the house to another than I do scaling forty-foot retaining walls or crossing precarious fallen trees above rocky ravines.
But not always.
October 28, 2008. It was a cold, dreary, foggy night, fitting for the Halloween season, and I was out with my (now ex-) wife, commonly known as Mrs. Death, for some after-dark caching, which was one of our favorite activities. Among our stops was a cache in the High Point area called "The Nut 'n' Honey Pot" (GCZKNK), about which we knew nada. Our Garmins led us to a little office complex off Gallimore Dairy Road, and once we parked and made our way into the darkness, we saw something that froze us in our tracks: a big honking bear... a big honking metal bear, with razor-sharp claws, standing next to a tree. Yep, that was our ground zero, so we decided to commence our search while trying our best not to disturb the beast.
Well, given the placement of the hide, which I shall not reveal to you here, it was kind of impossible not to disturb the bear. He clearly was not happy with us because, once I was done scouring the ground around his feet, I stood up and....
You see that outstretched paw? The paw with the very long and very sharp claws? Let me tell you, people, that bastard up and swatted me in the head so hard I went right back down on my hind end, and I knew exactly what it meant to see stars. There was hollering and cussing and groaning, and I didn't even try to get back on my feet for quite a while. As I was sitting there, I noticed Mrs. Death looking at me and shaking her head. "That's going to leave a mark," she said.
Hell yes, it left a mark. And I left a good bit of Mark with the bear — you know, that red liquid filling most of us have.
At least we found the cache. I could have signed the log in blood, but I was apparently too dizzy to think straight at the time.
That was the night I got mauled by a bear.