234/365: Grin and Bear It (haha).

Editor's Note: The following is pulled from the journal that I kept while hiking the John Muir Trail this past month. I'll post each entry, each day, for the next few weeks. 

Thurs. July 22nd.

Zero Day at Tuolumne. Wasn't sure about it at first, kinda wanted to hike out with our new buddies, Cookie and Babu, but it was worth it to stick around. Breakfast at the grill, then a nap, then pictures and a dunk in the river, also a sweet rapid run! I'm getting more accustomed to the cold water, able to make myself stay in until the body is numb and even feels good. Skin turns deep red as blood flows to extremities, just sure to get out before I turn blue. Feels so good, don't even want to get out. Laid out on a rock in the sun and warmed up. Then lunch at the grill, Mammoth Beer (cold this tie, they fixed their fridge), and some ice cream.

At one point I was walking by myself by the river and I saw a large crowd gathered on the bank. A mother bear and her cub were on a rock in the middle of the river, and a ranger on horseback stood guard on the camp-side of the river, to encourage them to cross back over into the wild side of the river. I ran back up to our tent and grabbed Bri and my camera. Back at the river, the mother was repeatedly crossing the final rapid on their side to show the cub how to do it, but he just sat and watched, looking a little pitiful. She would cross back over and nuzzle him and sit, very maternal and cute. I shot a few frames at my longest focal length, 135mm, but it was too far away to make any significant pictures.

I heard shutter clicking next to me, and there was a Weekend Warrior, with a backpack full of lenses. He complained to me that the water and sun reflections were making for bad pictures, but I suggested that a polarizer would help bring the reflections down and help pop the color, even offering my own off my lens. He said he had one on a wider lens and went to switch out the 300mm he was shooting with. I said, HOOK a BROTHER UP! And so he did, letting me rock the 300mm on my camera (thank science he wasn't a Nikon shooter.). Now we were making some pictures.

I shot a few frames then decided to shoot a bit of video, JUST AS THE CUB MADE HIS MOVE! A bit shakey and by no means professional, but it is cute, and you can see how smart bears are, as when he finally decides to go for it, he moves UP stream a bit to account for the water rushing him down stream, which his mother never had to do, considering her significant inertia. 


After the bears meandered back into the wilderness, the crowd dispersed, and we checked our food supply and did some grocery shopping. Bought a watch...lost my first watch in NC on the AT back during the 2001 thru-hike, and never missed t, didn't get another until last year for the Half Ironman, but that was yanked off in a skiing accident on the Chowan later that summer (almost with my arm too). But the timelapses made me feel the need for a time PIECE, so here it is on my wrist. We'll see if I start checking it constantly while hiking...if so, it may need to be stored in the pack!