We had been hiking for almost an hour, over a meadow, through the wood (though nowhere near Grandma’s house), through a very dark Hansel and Gretal, some witch is going to eat us wood, then through a semi-dark wood. We had passed an unusually high number of mounds of poop, considering we had yet to see any wildlife. I was leading, saying to Em, “I love walking through the woods. The pine needles are so soft, a spongey carpet of goodness, — oh crap.” Literally. “Watch out, Em, it looks super fresh, be careful.”
We looked at each other and it became louder, “GGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLLLLLLLL.” At once, with lightning speed, conflicting thoughts ran through my head: We’re in California – black, brown, or grizzly? Stay small or get big? Run or play dead? I then realized most of my knowledge of bears came from nursery rhymes and Bill Bryson.
Emily must have read my mind, “I think we’re supposed to make a lot of noise. Let’s sing.” As if by magic, we simultaneously burst into a very bad rendition of “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work We Go.” Sure thing to ward off any predator.