a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   living life in the Highlands of New Jersey

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I love living here and close encounters of the bear kind

Sometimes it just hits me in the face how beautiful it really is here in New Jersey. Forget about the crummy summer we are experiencing with all the rain and 100% humidity. (Hey, it’s good for the skin!)

Yesterday I drove to our CSA to pick up our share. I took the back roads instead of the main road. The back roads are twisty and turny with plenty of hills. I pass all kinds of styles of houses nestled cosily in the woods. No cookie-cutter housing developments here. Some make me want to stop, knock on their door, and ask I can come in and tour their home. My Mom was always wanting to do that. I think she would have made a great realtor. Has it really been two years since her passing?

I also pass two or three (or is it four?) small lakes with their clusters of houses. Some are log cabins which must go back to the days when this was a popular place to come in the summer from the city. Now they are permanent homes for some lucky family. I love the look and feel of these small lakeside communities. My favorite is Lindy’s Lake. There is so much foot traffic going back and forth from houses to the private beach that they put out orange traffic cones. As I drive slowly by keeping a sharp eye out for stray children, I get a quick glimpse of kids swimming and splashing while the moms chat in small groups or sit on beach towels in the sun.

Also yesterday there was a bear parade down the street in front of my house. Patches had the kids out for a stroll. I stood in my driveway and tried to snap a few photos. They were on the move so the photos are not the best. First came Patches.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

and then the three amigos.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The went into our neighbor’s yard and then their woods, coming back out on the road again. Patches was curious about our new driveway (We had our driveway resurfaced on Monday and the asphalt smell is still very strong.) and she came over to have a sniff.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

She was probably planning on coming into my front yard but she knew I was out there so she changed her plans and took the family on down the road.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It was midday and very hot. I was pretty surprised to see them out and about. But that would not be the only bear encounter of the day. Oh no, not the last.

Several hours later I let the dogs out after their meal. Bella didn’t show up at the door to come back inside and I knew she must be up to something. The dogs never want to stay outside when it’s as hot as it was yesterday. I went out to see what she up to and I could see her back by the fence. I called her. She ignored me. I walked a little further and could see she was just sitting there at the fence intently staring back into the woods. Hmm ... very suspicious! Sure enough, there was Patches sitting at the base of a large tree, and looking up I could see the cubs in the tree. I got Bella back inside and went out with my camera, hoping to get some shots of the cubs up the tree.

Patches was laying down when I approached the fence. She picked her head up and looked at me. I went to the fence, and standing on a rock, positioned my camera on the top of the chain link, preparing to take a photo of her. She stood up with her front legs on the tree as if to climb it and I figured I was making her nervous and she was going to call the cubs down from their perch high above. As I stood there, quicker than lightning, another bigger bear came charging at her from somewhere on my left making scary noises. I didn’t get my photo but I nearly peed my pants. Where did that bear come from? Patches went up the tree and there was a lot of vocalizing going on in bear talk. I was still standing there dumbstruck when the bigger bear turned in my direction, looked straight at me and started walking at a quick pace towards me and the fence. I have to admit I was pretty scared (especially not knowing what kind of scene I had just watched the bears play out). So what did I do? I backed away as quickly as I could keeping my eye on the bear at all times. I knew it could come over that fence in a heartbeat if it wanted to. (And speaking of heartbeats, mine was pretty rapid right about then!) The big bear got almost to the fence and then turned around and went back to the base of the tree where Patches and the kids still were. Holy crap! I have never witnessed anything like that before. I stood there in the yard for a little while trying to peer through the trees to see what was going on. I saw a cub come down the tree and the bigger adults moving around, but no more confrontations. I left them to it and went back inside to call my neighbor Aileen to be on the lookout for them in case they headed in her direction.

I don’t know which bear it was, but it was big. Much bigger than Patches because she looked like a cub next to it!  Yikes.

When I told Rick my story he had this to say “Gee, too bad you didn’t get it on video.” Not gee Lynne maybe you should be more careful or how scary or anything like that. No. He’s wishing I had gotten it on video. Well, now that I think about it and my heart rate is back to normal again, I’m thinking how very cool it would have been to have it on video. Think I should try again?

Comments:

I surely understand about the differences.  I loved living in KY for the many of the same reasons…old houses, curvy roads, the green, the wildlife…it is wonderful.  I feel fortunate to have experienced the variety of places I have lived for that reason.

PS I bet you did just about pee your pants!

It is beautiful out there!  So many people underestimate what Jersey really does have to offer.
WOW I would have peed my pants if a bear came towards me like that, you are a brave one for even getting that close to begin with! Glad all is okay!

YIKES! Be careful! I was peeing my pants just reading the story!

Becky, it’s kind of fun to live in different parts of the country and world. It gives you more perspective on many things.

Katie, yes Jersey gets a bad rap. Maybe we shouldn’t tell anybody else how nice it really is! wink

Mary, yes, I will be more careful in the future. I just had no idea there was another bear around, and so close by!

My goodness - you are one very brave lady to have got so close to the bears.  As much as I would love to see them it would have to be at a much greater distance and preferably from inside the house!  I would love to see photos of the houses you describe on your road trip - they sound so lovely.

See, I love the bear photos and stories, but I like living where the wildlife is more afraid of me than I am of them.  Burros, lizards and feral cats are exciting enough for me!

O my gosh! How facinating. You are much more brave than I. Take my advice…but a video recorder with a powerful telescpoic lens and film from the safety of your porch1
smiLes
DarLie

Lol MEN!  I would have def peed my pants.

I was also very pleasantly surprised at how pretty Jersey is.  I hit a flea market most Sundays, and the drive from the city to the market turns into rural farmland within a few miles.

Joyce, maybe I’ll try and take a few photos next time I go. I just hope people don’t mind their house premiering on my blog!

Jan, I hear ya!

DarLie, Welcome to my blog. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Allison, yeah, gotta love ‘em. Lots of rural bits to Jersey that people don’t even realize.

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