While researching our trip to Utah I was taken back by the National Park alert posts, my favorite, an entire page on “Bear Etiquette “. What is “bear etiquette”, is that when they use the nice silverware to eat you, like the little fork to the right and no elbows on the table kind of stuff? In South East Texas we have our fare share of predators, but none the size of a compact car, able to run at in town driving speeds, climb trees, and have little to no fear of my girly screams. The possibility of seeing a bear on Zions North Rim is rare although the landscape looks like every Discovery channel episode involving bears. Our Shuttle driving could not make it down the final 5 or so miles of the road and continually asked if we were OK, as if he would soon be sharing this story with search and rescue teams, and later on a Discovery Channel edition of “I shouldn’t be alive“. Lauren and I marveled at the ice and snow, and took pictures as we hiked all day to make our campsite. As the sun sets the night sky morphs into a sea of shining jewels, and you realize how far out you actually are. Harmonica in hand I began to play a little soul wrenching blues which echoed through the mountain tops and valleys like musical firecrackers. As the temperature dropped into the teens the fatigue from hiking set in and the two of us drifted off for the night.
Some time around 2am I awoke realizing my face was wet. In a slumbering stupor I touched my face, the tent, my sleeping pad, etc…. attempting to discover the source of this “water” . Turning on my headlamp revealed the leak, my gushing nose bleed. Panning the headlamp revealed a scene one expects from a B-rated horror movie, bloody hand prints, smears, and blood all over my face. The nose bleed was just a nose bleed, I was imagining a bear breathing in my bloody scent like a fat man outside a Golden Corral with a fist full of gift cards. Attempting to find something to stop the bleeding I woke up Lauren who in her way switched into survival mode. Without hesitation she gave me a cloth which I instantly shoved up my nose. It was only after I took the first breath that I realized where she had gotten this mystery cloth, it was her 2 day old stinky hiking sock. Now for a moment of honesty; my wife is kind, sweet, smart, attractive, and talented, however we all have our weakness and hers is clammy stinky feet. There we are in a tiny tent in the middle of nowhere, blood smeared gear, and a guy with a dirty sock stuffed up his nose. We cleaned the tent with wet wipes, yet my pride and nose would not heal so quickly. I chose a better long-term bandage than a dirty sock, yet the smell remained as we drifted back to sleep. It is our goal to experience adventure, to laugh, and to share those things with those we love. This most definitely fits within that criteria.