Don’t Mess With Mama Bear

To explore more of Pennsylvania, my then boyfriend and I drove to Linn Run State Park, chose a trailhead at random, and headed down a long, leafy path that followed a creek.

Illustrations show a bear sitting in a creek and a man and woman watching her, a man pointing at the bear and wanting to get closer while the woman hides behind a tree, the bear with two cubs looking at the couple, the mother bear charging, and the couple

After about an hour, I saw movement and realized a black bear was standing in the creek. I hid behind some trees.

Illustrations show a bear sitting in a creek and a man and woman watching her, a man pointing at the bear and wanting to get closer while the woman hides behind a tree, the bear with two cubs looking at the couple, the mother bear charging, and the couple

I signaled to my boyfriend to join me, but he wanted to get a better look and ignored me.

Illustrations show a bear sitting in a creek and a man and woman watching her, a man pointing at the bear and wanting to get closer while the woman hides behind a tree, the bear with two cubs looking at the couple, the mother bear charging, and the couple

I was mad. I pulled on his arm, but he wouldn’t budge. Then I saw that the bear had two cubs. “We have to get out of here,” I said.

Illustrations show a bear sitting in a creek and a man and woman watching her, a man pointing at the bear and wanting to get closer while the woman hides behind a tree, the bear with two cubs looking at the couple, the mother bear charging, and the couple

He wasn’t getting it. The mother bear lunged toward us in a false charge. I gripped my boyfriend’s arm, and we held our ground.

Illustrations show a bear sitting in a creek and a man and woman watching her, a man pointing at the bear and wanting to get closer while the woman hides behind a tree, the bear with two cubs looking at the couple, the mother bear charging, and the couple

I waited until the bear turned to her cubs, then took a deep breath. “Run,” I whispered. I didn’t bother looking behind me.

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This article appeared in the November/December 2019 edition with the headline “Overbearing.”