The Call of the Wild…a bear meet

I admit, I wasn't expecting it.
My mind was elsewhere as I drove into  
the road that leads to Tahilla,

Within seconds I squealed joyfully 
at the sight of two black bears, 
thinking of of Robert McCloskey's book
Blueberries for Sal (a family favourite)
 and then I wondered
Do I drive up to them, around them or stay put?
What do you do when you encounter a bear?
I decided the best option was to stay in my car and wait.

Then I panicked.
My daughter, Miss Claire,
 runs down this road every day.
What if she was on her way…
she would turn the corner 
to Mother Bear and Cub approaching her.
I tried to phone coverage.
Blasted woods.
I had to hope that she was still at home.
Then I waited and inched forward very slowly.

Each time I did…Mother Bear was not happy.
In a very meaningful way, she told me to back off.
I obliged.

Just to be sure, she did it several more times. 
Her cub was totally clueless as it ran off 
into the distance and into the woods. 
Mother Bear soon followed with one last stance 
before she slipped into the woods.

As I sat there (seemed like forever)
 I wondered again..
 what possessed me to buy a Venetian Red car?
The bear now knows where I live.
Could I be any more obvious?

I wonder if I will wake one morning 
to find bear paws along my pollen dusted car
as a sign that she knows were I live.

Miss Claire was home.
Both of us have decided to take up 
a new walking/running route.
Bear Free and in my case with a loud bell.

If you are wondering what you would do 
if you encountered a black bear.
Wonder no more…

The good people of New Hampshire Fish and Game
have this to say about black bears

If you see a bear, keep your distance.

Make it aware of your presence by clapping, 
talking, singing or making other sounds.

If you get to close to a bear, it may slap the ground, 
huff, blow and chomp its teeth or rush you
(this is referred to as "bluff charge")
in an attempt to get you to move 
a more comfortable distance away.

If this occurs, maintain eye contact with the bear, 
speak in a soft, calm voice 
and slowly back away from the bear.

These actions will help appease the bear 
and show that you are not weak, but, 
at the same time, not a threat to the bear. 

Do not run, avert your eyes or turn your back to the bear. 
The bear may perceive weakness and enforce dominance. 
The bears bluff charge and chomping of teeth 
are a defense mechanism 
to establish the bears dominance in an encounter 
with humans or a more dominant animal in the wild. 

Bears can outrun, out-swim and out-climb you. 
If you are attacked by a black bear, 
you should fight rather than "play dead".

With thanks to New Hampshire Fish and Game 
for this invaluable information. 
You can read more here.

I shall lay awake pondering it for many nights to come.

So that's what's happening in my neck of the woods..
and yours?

PS..apologies for quality of the photos.
They were taken through my pollen dusted 
bright red car window with my iPhone. 
I decided hanging out of the
car window was not a wise option.

Blueberries for Sal 
by Robert McCloskey
Read by Emily Kohne


  1. Love to see you posting again.
    Love and hugs

    1. Thanks Jeanne! I am catching up slowly but surely…and taking in wildlife as I do. I was easily distracted as a child..some things never change. :) xx

  2. Wow, what an adventure! Not sure I would be able to talk TO the bear in a soft calm voice if the situation required it, but I will remember your advice ;)

  3. Jeanne, Oh I can only imagine the worry wondering if your daughter was going to to run upon the bears. Loved seeing the pictures. Stay safe...Bonnie

  4. How exciting!! Methinks Miss Claire needs to run with a bell, too. Hopefully making enough noise will keep them away from you ... but aren't they pretty!

  5. Goodness that was scary. Even though there is not the remotest possibility of me encountering a black bear I did wonder just how I would fight it. The scariest and most unexpected thing I have come across was a grass snake which was coiled beside us in our garden as we had our lunch. We didn't see it arrive but when it uncoiled and slipped back into the grass it was impressively long. A first for me. I had to Google it and found that they are not venomous, so now I should feel privileged.

  6. Hello Jeanne

    Never a dull moment at Tahilla Farm. No doubt this was a shock and surprise to you. Glad all went well and Miss Claire did not have a surprise meeting with Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

  7. I think all you need is a pail.. kplink.. kplonk. and a great big blueberry patch.. then little bear Clare and Mother bear Jeanne will be just fine.. enjoy the fresh air there, often.. x j

  8. Hello Jeanne,

    What an exhilarating encounter! I loved reading this, knowing you were safe inside the car of course :-) Aren't they incredible animals? I'll never forget seeing a couple of Brown Bears on a hike in Denali National Park and was absolutely petrified even though they were a good distance away. We knew not to run from them but it took every ounce of self-control to fight that urge.

    I've been having a lovely catch-up on your last Posts and goodness me your Farm and surrounding area is stunning! And I don't think I got to mention how thrilled I was to read that you found Tom too, such a happy ending to your story :-) Mel x

  9. I saw these photos and immediately remember our backpacking days. P. and I were friends with another couple and for a a "stage of life", we backpacked from various parks from Glacier and Yellowstone and as far away as Tasmania. I was the one of the group who was fanatical about banging pots on our walk, randomly during the night (from the wee little tent) and meticulously scrutinizing everyone's packs for improperly packed toothbrushes or trail mix. We ran into a mother bear and her cub as well as herds of moose. Some people have to learn the hard way...that they are not quite the outdoorsy type! That

  10. Glad you are all right. Stunning photos of that bear scoping you out
    As for running on that road, a network of running routes around the farm might be a safer choice, from animals as well humans.
    Thank you for the link
    Prayer, understanding safety rules of using bear spray, run downhill not uphill were foremost in my mind when I think if bear encounters...Until...I read your post here. I looked up bear downhill to learn its a Myth! As you've posted, bears can out run a human no matter what direction a human takes. Thank you!

  11. I absolutely LOVE that you referenced "Blueberries for Sal" - it is one of my all time favorites! They do seem innocuous until you "meet" them up close - I can see why you would be scared! I am SO enjoying your IG photos of your life at's a bit different than Vietnam, isn't it? Enjoy the rest of your week! xoxo

  12. Wow. I also was COMPLETELY misinformed about what to do in a bear encounter, so thank you for this lovely Jeanne, who knows how you might help/save someone in the future by putting this information out there. My only bear encounters have been in the stunning Canadian Rockies (one of the most beautiful places I have been to in the world by far) and were at a distance but oh my do I have respect for these powerful creatures.

    Hoping that you and your daughter stay safe,
    Gros Bisous,

  13. Exciting and frightening at the same time! I think the treadmill is a wiser choice, but the woods are just so beautiful. Interesting instructions from the New Hampshire Fish And Game...I'm pretty sure my instinct would never be to "play dead" if I was ever attacked by a Black Bear:). xoJennifer

  14. Hi from Ceri in London
    I loved this post Jeanne! Really puts my encounters with feral parakeets in London into context.
    I so enjoy your Instagram photos too. Thank you for sharing and hope the rest of your summer is as adventurous photogenic -- and safe!

  15. I love Blueberries for Sal! Also….you should hear my dad's story about his close encounter with a bear while hunting in Alaska…let's just say, my dad was doing what you do when nature calls…imagine that! With his pants down…running down a mountain to his guide that couldn't hear him thanks to the rushing river that drowned out the sound! We haven't let my dad go back! Be careful! I don't even walk in the neighborhood in Highlands, N.C. where my parents have a vacation home because I'm too chicken!

  16. The crows are cawing along with the chirping cheeky grey squirrels at our cat while she walks the perimeter of our back yard. She does this to avoid crow collisions and squarely taunts. That's the wildlife here. Glad it's only rabbits, raccoons, and eagles in our neighbourhood! Have a great weekend. We have a can of bear spray we've never used but I'd think it would antagonize the bear rather than shoo it away!

  17. Jeanne, your story is hilarious, but I must say you handled it well; at least you were inside a car. I think if I ran upon a bear I would immediately start hyperventilating and would not even be able to scream, which would be a good thing. I just returned from a visit to my old family homeplace in Western NC where I met some folks who live at a very high altitude, close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and their story was that they have bears frequently running across their yard, with rattlesnakes crawling around as well. The only thing I can tell you is, don't leave even the hint of a crumb outside your doors, lest the bears will not only be coming to see you, they will move heaven and earth to get to the source of those crumbs and ask for more. Glad you are enjoying time with your family at Tahilla.

  18. Exciting blog post Jeanne! Love that you included, "Blueberries for Sal," a children's book I was unfamiliar with. A sweet read. Keep those bells handy. ;)

  19. What a chance, exciting, scary encounter. We, like other tourists, driving between Jasper National Park and Banff national Park in the Canadian Rockies, are looking for wild animals including bears and stopping to take their pictures.
    Beautiful photos of the woods and the bear.
    Cheri had photos of a brown cub and black mother bear together.
    Thank you for the bear information.
    Have a wonderful week.


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