As a family camping is our go to vacation. It’s the time of summer we can forget the rest of society, whether it be school, work, or the neighbors, it’s the period of time we can all turn off the phones and enjoy nature. Camping also gives us, as a family, a chance to bond and enjoy each other’s company.
Every year my family; cousins, aunts, uncles all sit around the dinner table at Christmas to discuss the destination for the upcoming summer family camping trip. Ideas such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park get thrown out on the table but the Christmas of 2007 the famous Sequoia Mountains in Northern California were decided upon.
Many of us were excited and happy to see the famously known massive trees, but we had no clue what we were in store for. Finally summer had approached and our family had begun to prepare for the annual camping trip. We took off on August 04, 2008 and had a long drive ahead of us. After hours of driving we had finally reached the mountains and the famous trees were becoming visible. Excitement was building in all of us as we reached our camp site.
We were all excited for the care free, easy trip we had prepared for when everything turned around as we were checking- in. When we arrived the rangers insisted on giving our entire family a cautious tutorial of the camp grounds. Many of us had just expected to set up our stuff and enjoy our time but we were soon to find out that the camp ground not only had people from all around the country enjoying their facilities but also a friendly family of California Brown Bears.
I remembering being shocked I had never seen a bear in person before and I wasn’t ready to either. Frightened, my cousins and I decided to stay and try to enjoy the time with our furry friends, thinking that we would still have a good time. The rangers continued explaining the cautious measures we would have to take to protect ourselves, such as placing all food and scented products into “Bear Bins” because the friendly family of bears liked to share.
After going over the rules with the rangers, we headed towards the camp site. It was something you’d see in a movie, full of nature and lush greenery. Our first night was a breeze and figured the rangers were just overly cautious because we were yet to see our furry friends. Until leading into the afternoon our family began to barbeque like we had countless times before. I guess the scent of our freshly cooked hamburgers caught the attention of some hungry bears because soon after they arrived for the party. Sitting there eating my food, I recall my cousin yell out “LOOK!” and there they were, all three of the dark brown bears. I was shocked, dumbfounded and had no idea what to do, I had never seen a bear without a piece of glass standing in-between us. Thank fully my uncle had remembered the lecture from the day before and knew what to do. Soon everyone was making noise and banging on pans to scare off the unwanted party crashers, while I remained in shock.
We had finally received a taste of what we were in for throughout the week. A couple of days pass and we were yet to see another bear but knew they were near due to the noise from other camp sites to scare off the unwanted visitors. Sitting around the camp fire late at night, I would be able to hear the path of the bear and how close he was to me by how loud the banging of pans were. Finally on the last night of our vacation our furry friends decided to give us a last hurrah. We had all entered our tents to get ready for a long sleep, preparing to clean up and go home the next morning, when we were all awaken by a loud crash in the middle of the night. I remember waking up frightened and running out of my tent to see what all the commotion was about. I was surprised to find my aunt standing in front of her minivan starring at shattered glass. I barely managed to ask “What happened?” by the time I got my answer, the rest of family was awake and she explained to all of that the bears had caught scent of some food in car and crashed her window in order to get a taste. We were all shocked and I began to laugh.
The next morning we were all happy to leave our family of bears behind. As we were packing up my mother had discovered that she had left bags of chips and candy in our car when my aunt had only pebbles of dog food and found that we were very lucky it hadn’t happened to our car. The trip had all left us with memories we would never forget.
I took a lot with me from that camping trip. I had not only realized that we mostly likely would never return, due to the lack of peace and relaxation, but also that we were actually in their home, disturbing their peace. The camping in the Sequoias was a huge learning experience and we were all able to experience nature first hand and close up, and how humans actually affect the lives of other creatures on this planet. I learned that sometimes we have to remember that world does not just belong to human but the animals were first they are just trying to adapt to us.
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