Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lions and Bears and Cliffs!

Because I like to spend as much time as possible outdoors, and as often as I can in very wild places, some of my friends and acquaintances think I take chances or visit dangerous spots. This is not so. In fact, because I do spend much of my time wandering around on foot or in a kayak--or often just chilling out at the campsite, I tend to be far safer than those who find their pleasures inside the cities and towns where they live.

People will see a photo of me standing on a mountaintop and think I could fall off. Most of the time such photos seem risky when in fact they are not, at all. I know people who climb cliff faces while hanging by their fingertips above sheer drops of over a thousand feet. Now, that is taking risks. I don't do such stuff.

Or I will show someone a photo of a bear I encountered while hiking and they will ask me why I take such chances or be horrified that I don't carry a gun with me when in the deep forest. And my answer to them is that the chance of being injured by a wild animal is far less than being struck by lightning (I do take shelter when I encounter thunderstorms). Far more likely is the risk of being injured in your auto or shot by stray gunfire in town. If I hike in grizzly bear territory I will carry pepper spray. No grizzly bear has ever been within 300 meters of me and even those run the other way.

What I do when I can--those camping trips, those hikes, those kayak journeys on rivers...those are all very safe endeavors. Is there any risk at all? Sure. There is risk in pretty much everything one does. But I never feel unsafe when I'm in the forests and on the rivers unless a thunderstorm seems imminent. Cliffs? Wild animals? Just practice common sense and everything is cool.

Not dangerous, at all. Like walking on a sidewalk.

Alligator Rocks, North Carolina.

McAfee Knob, Virginia.

Lindy Point, West Virginia. Yeah, the temptation to scale that tower was there, but I didn't go for it.

The bear and I startled one another. He ran away. Douthat State Park, Virginia.

Talus field, Sherando Lake Recreation Area, Virginia.

Cliffs of Hawksbill Mountain, North Carolina.

"Preach it, brother Bob!"

Carefully hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.

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