This is a true story from the annals of my life. I didn’t feel creative today but I wanted to write so this is easy, it was written in 1980 when it happened. All that is left is for me to tell it, which I have done 40 or more times before at parties and gatherings.
My wife and I had planned this back packing trip for weeks. Six days in the back country of Yosemite National Park in California. We were shunning the popular valley carved out by glaciers long ago, as we have seen it many times before. We were hiking in Tuolumne Meadows a more remote area of the park. My wife baked a few dozen chocolate chip cookies to take along and we carefully packed them so they would not crumble as we hiked.
We hiked in five miles from the trail head on our first day. We knew this was bear country and it was October and they had ferocious appetites as nature told them to “fill up” to prepare for hibernation. We hung all our food with the recommended counter balance system before bed time. You throw a rope over a high tree branch and tie your food bag to it, then you pull it up and the other end of the rope around an object about the same weight and push it up with a stick. So the food was 10 feet off the ground and hanging 10 feel from the tree. We got in our little tent and went to sleep.
About 3am we were awaken by a bear trying to get our food. He prowled around our tent for about 15 minutes and left empty handed and we went back to sleep. About 4 am another bear (or the same one) woke us again. We heard his claws as he climbed the tree. We heard him grunt as he fell to the ground. He did this about 15 times. He was jumping at the sack from 15 feet up the tree. Finally his claws caught the sack and ripped it open and all our food dropped out. We heard the rip and unzipped the flap on the tent to look. The bear was a large black bear, about the size of a refrigerator. He was sitting on the ground eating and biting everything we had to eat. He was about 30 yards away and eyed us carefully and went back to easting. We backed away and watched him in the bright moonlight. We decided to make some noise to scare him away and he stood up and looked at us and growled loudly. We backed away further and he sat back down and ate HIS food.
When he left we looked over the damage, we had nothing left to eat. At day break we took our camp apart and hiked 5 miles back to the car, hungry as hell and mad as hell too. We decided to do the best we could to salvage some vacation if we could. It was a 2 hour drive to Lake Tahoe and we could book a room at the casino/hotel and clean up and gamble and maybe see a show. We needed to treat ourselves to some fun. So off we went to Lake Tahoe. When we got into our room I had very bad leg cramps. The 5 mile forced hike out and 2 hour drive was responsible. My wife suggested I call the hotel spa and see if a masseur was still on duty. I called and they told me to come down so I headed to the spa.
I put my clothes in a locker and grabbed a towel and the masseur led me into a room and worked my leg muscles. It hurt and felt good at the same time as he got the knots out of the muscles. He got a phone call, and I heard him say, “tell him to come right over, I will take him next.” He finished my massage and I headed for the locker room. When I walked in I saw a naked man who had just put his clothes in the locker and was reaching for his towel. He looked up at me and said hello. It was the country western singing star Kenny Rodgers who was performing at the lake that night. I nodded and said hi, he left with towel around him and I dressed and returned to my room. When I told my wife I just saw Kenny Rodgers in the nude, her eyes lit up. “What did he look like?” she asked curiously. “What do you mean?” I asked. By the look on her face I didn’t need an answer. “You mean, was he hung like a mule?” I prodded. She smiled. “I honestly looked away out of politeness and tried not to notice,” I said. She laughed and said, “damn you! Only you would look away and not notice!”
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