A not so Grizzly experience
Banff Travel Blog› entry 8 of 32 › view all entries
The layering seemed to have worked and kept me warm through the night. I woke up once to rain beating down on our tent. The next time I woke up, it was 4am and the rain had stopped. I gave a sigh of relief at the fact that I had managed to get a few good hours of sleep without waking up. Just then I heard a sound. It was almost like rustling footsteps just outside the tent. The footsteps continued slowly, making their way around our tent. I gripped my sleeping bag and looked over at Denise, who was still sound asleep. I remembered the deer we had seen only feet from our tent the day before and I pondered in my mind about what I would do if a bear suddenly ripped it's claw through the tent. Would I bravely shield Denise from the bear's wrath? Or would I shove her in front of me and run like hell? The footsteps continued and I heard something brush up against the side of the tent.
And then the worst possible thing that could happen happened... I realized I had to pee. I was getting colder, I had to pee, and I was pretty sure there was a bear (or sasquatch... who knows) outside my tent waiting to eat me. Soon enough though, the pacing footsteps stopped. I listened intently for about 10 minutes for any sounds of motion, and there didn't seem to be anything too unusual. I decided I was ready to get up and out of the tent. I slowly got out of my sleeping bag and took a deep breath. A few things went through my mind... was I fast enough to outrun a bear? Where would I run to?
I unzipped the tent, completely expecting to see a bear staring me in the face as the flap fell open. What I saw instead was maybe more surprising.
"What the hell?" I said with a quizzical voice and a look on my face to match.
Before me lay a thick layer of white snow blanketing the grass outside our tent. A rush of cold hit my face and I had to blink and take a step back to realize what I was looking at. The stillness of the early morning and the thick snow seemed to mute any noise outside, and I thought I was still dreaming. I looked around for any obvious animal footprints and when I saw none, carefully and slowly got out of the tent, trying not to get snow in my shoes or wake up Denise. Then suddenly - PFFFF. A familiar sound. Denise stirs.
"Uh. So it snows last night. And the weight of the snow on the tent just collapsed it." It was then I realized that those footprints and brushes against the tent I had heard was not a bear, but bits of snow falling off the top of the tent onto the ground.
"Oh my god." Denise replied, less than impressed at being woken up with a tent in her face.
As I walked to the on-site bathroom, I made my way past a row of bear-proof RVs and listened to the hum of electric heating.