Not even kidding.
I was driving the speed limit on my way into North Cascades national park. I had just come from the ranger station back in town, armed with maps and ready to hit up some nifty hiking trails in the mountains.
The weather wasn’t playing nice; it was drizzling and icky out, meaning the roads were slick. I was looking out for the sign indicating I was officially in the park, when I saw this animal out of the corner of my eye. Its fur was jet black, soaked from the rain and fluttering absentmindedly in the wind.
My brain registered it was a black bear.
I slammed on the brakes and leaned backwards, subconsciously believing that my body weight might be able to slow down the car’s (and MyPod’s) momentum. The stuff in the back seat fell to the floor in a crescendo of motion and sound.
The bear lumbered gracefully across the highway, never once looking at me. I was certain that my car would clip it, but then he sped up at the last moment, putting a little extra effort into his gallop.
At this point my tires were screeching noisily and my heart rate had kicked up a notch. Without ever so much as a backwards glance, the bear disappeared into the brush on the other side of the road. The last I saw was his bum.
And then I laughed.
I had encountered nature in all its wild and primitive glory, and, once again, came out unscathed. I was relieved that I hadn’t caused any harm to my ursus americanus friend. The black bear truly was beautiful – probably just a teenager out for an early morning exploration. He probably told his friends a narrative about the crazy lady and her red camper that almost gunned him down.