Friday, July 6, 2007

Brass and the bear

Mark Emery and I decided to hike Mt. Bromley after camping out at the Hildene Meadowlands, the halfway point on our tour. The estimated time for our hike, according to our guide, was 4-5 hours, so we brought some trail mix to keep us fueled. After a couple hours of ascent, we decided to break for a few minutes. We found an inviting rock to perch on and whipped out the trail mix. Not wanting to put my grimy hands into Mark's trail mix bag, I asked him to pour me a handful. A few nuts were dropped in the exchange which began to attract some chipmunks. What cute little creatures! I took out my camera to get some shots. To my dismay, as soon as I switched on my camera, all of the chipmunks scattered. "Must be shy," I remarked with a chuckle. "I think they are more likely BEAR-shy," said Mark without a chuckle, pointing to the trees. Looking up, my eyes met the eyes of a black bear that was eight feet tall, sniffing the leaves about 30 feet away from us. She intermittently looked up at us cautiously.
I whispered urgently, "It's the nuts! She picked up on our scent!"
"Maybe we should leave the rest of the trail mix on the ground and run...?"
"No way! Stay still, their vision is based on motion."
"No, you idiot, that's dinosaurs!"
"Oh yeah, thanks Steven Spielberg...."
"Dude, he's getting closer!!"
"I think I saw once on the Discovery Channel that if you make yourself look bigger, they'll be intimidated."
"Well, go for it if you're the expert."
In one of the scariest and most courageous moments of my life, I slowly stood atop the rock, my legs shaking as they straightened. I assumed the "YMCA" position.
"You should roar," whispered Mark.
"Screw you, man. YOU should roar."
To my surprise, I suddenly heard a manly death shriek come out of Mark's bellows. Immediately, the bear turned around and hurried away.
Now, as I sit on the stage at the Mountain Top Inn writing this blog entry from my chair as the strings play the Rachmaninoff Vocalise, a tear comes to my eye as I ponder the beauty of the teamwork.

Only on the VSO tour!

Tom Bergeron, trumpet