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Seco y oscuro


The Arroyo Seco, despite its name, has water year 'round in some parts.

It goes underground in others.

Late Summer, earliest part of Fall, last official day in fact...

I had made several fast crossings, the water splashing my ass. Only my seat protected. The momentum helps to get across and up the other side. The trail is rough, and my bike's bear bell rings louder, the faster you hit it.

I was approaching another crossing
- Bear!

I stopped.

It stopped.

He could charge me, I guess.

There was loud music coming from somewhere off to the right of us- downstream- from the campground, maybe, people singing.

A woman's voice stood out, badly.

I could take a photo of the bear.
I fumbled with my phone
pressing keys to unlock it.

He turned and started walking into the brush.

The music got louder.

A woman with disheveled hair, blasting Mexican Jesus music from her backpack came out of the shadow. The words were something about the light having already come to her.

"There's a bear", she said. I said yes, I wanted to take pictures, but he was gone - already- over there, somewhere...

She did half a laugh as she said "Me too." I saw that she had her phone out.

I had seen her a few days earlier on the same trail. She must be camping.

I was going south, downstream, back to my pick-up, trying to beat the dark.

And she was going north, deeper into it.
She went past.

I hoped the loud light-of-Jesus would protect her.



Amazing tale Kevin.
How you guys live out there.
I can't even begin to imagine.
We flinch at the sight of a spider.
I hate cell phones. They give you that false sense that you can actually take pictures of stuff. My wife has about 40,000 pics of animal back sides.
You laugh at your lady visitor, but perhaps God was looking after you two. This time.
For next time, bring some damn bear spray. At close distances, bears accelerate faster than a 250cc.
I don't laugh at her at all. I think anything loud and human sounding tends to keep predatory animals away. I think. I hope so. The "bear-bell" on my bike I sometimes joke is a dinner bell, a la Pavlov. I hope it's not. That would suck for me. I use it to alert humans I'm coming, but I hope it deters bears by alerting them I'm coming so please don't get startled and eat me.

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