With the amount of preparation and caution the park rangers in Yosemite put on bear safety, one would think that bear-human interactions would be quite frequent. Conversations like "here is your grande-soy-latte, mind the bear" or "sorry I'm late, there was a bear" should be quite casual and not at all outrageous.
But after all the years of going to Yosemite I had never witnessed a bear with my own eyes. I had heard people say that they saw a bear or that they knew someone who saw a bear, but in my mind, their actual existence was relegated to somewhere between unicorns and a 300 game in bowling.
This recent trip to Yosemite proved to be a little different. After a long day of mediocre hiking, I put on my flip-flops and slowly shuffled over to the showers. No sooner than when I had left the cabin, my friend trots over to tell me about a bear right next to our cabin. "I tired to scare it away with my flashlight, but it didn't move. I had to circle around it" he said. Being too tired and filthy to give it much though, I shrugged it off, went about to my shower routine and was off to bed.
At around 3am I hear this noise that can only be described as Orson Welles with bronchitis shouting at the top of his lungs (this is why I should podcast). Turns out that less than a hundred feet away, there were two bears stuck in a tree trying to get away from park rangers with shotguns. With ll this commotion people started coming out of their tents to spectate. One person actually had the nerve to say "Excuse me, could you keep it down? We're trying to sleep in here."
It should be noted that through all of this, I was asleep. Two bears, rangers with shotguns, a whole crowd of campers and I was asleep. Yup, I still haven't seen a bear with my own eyes and will continue to doubt their existence.