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“Oh, my!”  That’s the text I got back from Pamela.

I have been begging to get out of the house.  It’s summer, scorching hot and the easy way out of doing anything is to blame the weather.  We hang out inside this house wired to electronic gizmos doing NOTHING.  I can’t stand it.  Back in the day when I was a SAHM the first time, I would say “The van of fun is not coming to our driveway.”  And with that I would pack up the kids and go somewhere.  Pam reminded me of this when I complained about being bored…

So, thanks to the kick in the pants, the kids and I packed up the truck for an adventure in the woods.  We traveled to Lower Wekiwa River Preserve State Park.  I had printed (black and white) two maps of the trails we were going to hike.  What I didn’t print was how to get there.  Driven past it a hundred times.  Today I have no clue how far down the road to go.  I made more turn arounds in 10 minutes that I have all year.  OMG, the kids were like “Mommm! What are you doing!?  This isn’t it!  The sign is up there!  Mommm, You passed it! Mommm…”  Any-who, once I slammed on the breaks to make a quick right turn (I thought it was on the left, oops) into a grassy area that was CLEARLY marked LWRPSP that I passed a hundred times, we were on our way!!

Water, check, maps, check.  We stopped at the info board to make sure we are prepared.  Check.

The Sign to Begin Journey

I wanted to follow the blue trail, but what was directly in front of me was the orange and white trail.

Orange and White

Fine, as long as it gets us to the river, I don’t care.  Plus, the orange and white marks were CLEARLY posted on tree trunks.  We’ll follow the white.

Ready For Fun

As we are “hiking” along, Nick chimes in about how fun it would be to see a bear cub. How cute and cuddly it would be.  Sophie mentions that if there is a bear cub, there is a momma bear nearby.  I say if there is a family of bears here, I have NOTHING to protect us except my good looks, screaming voice and a bottle of water.  Swear, there was nothing in my black and white brochure telling us survival techniques, just to make sure we bring a compass… OMG.

S’not a S’nake!

My black and white map is useless (lwr-lowerwekiwasouthentrance).  We are in the middle of nowhere following a skinny pine needle path searching for orange and white marked trees and hoping we don’t find snakes.  We go into a discussion about how we are to get out of here in case we get lost.  I explain that the sounds of the trucks are behind us, the sun directly above us and I am sure somewhere to the left of us is the river.  Sophie mentions that the sounds are actually coming from our left which would mean the river is in front of us and the shadows from the trees are… yadda yadda yadda.  Whatever she said- I believed her.

Yellow and Orange

We now have lost the white trail.  It is gorgeous in these woods, and if you have a well seasoned guide, I am sure you could totally relax and enjoy a no brainer walk.  My second black and white map (lwr-lowerwekiwahikingfechtel) is just as confusing as the first.  I have no idea where we started, therefore I have no idea where we are.

Orange Only

The only thing consistent in this walk is Orange.  I have NO CLUE what is ORANGE on the black and white map.  Just keep walking!

Before

And then, we saw it.

This is an image off the information board. I COULD NOT STOP to capture the moment. Seriously, I could have been eaten by the bear.

If you are Sara Palin, enjoying the Alaska with a camera crew of men and a seasoned tour guide packing heat, you too could casually whisk away your bangs, smile for the camera and express your fear with dignity.

When you are the O’Brien’s, you jump like a fool, wonder why the black and white map doesn’t have survival tips, sweat profusely, point and scream “BEARRRRRR   RUNNNN  NO- WALLLK FASTTT   ACT BIG AS YOU CAN  RUN!  My eyes are so wide opened, my heart is pounding a gazillion miles a minute and we are tripping over each other trying to get the hell out of here!!

This was captured driving AWAY from the woods in the safety of the truck. I felt as though it was a perfect representation of what we saw running AWAY from the bear.

Sophie’s instincts kicked in and followed the sounds of the trucks.  In a hundred minutes, we were literally out of the woods.

Barbed Wire Fence

To the safety of barbed wire-  keeping BEAR and US together.  Oh, my.  We ended up walking along the inside of the wire all the way back to our truck.  I stopped at the info board…

On the Info Board

Safely.  Nick brought up the fact that there has never been a documented attack on a person.  His words to that- “Exactly!  If you are already dead, how can they document whether or not it was a bear that killed you.  Exactly!”

Oh, yea, and right by the info board was a tree, marked with BLUE PAINT, that if you look on a colored map will show it leading to the river.

Blue Trail

This was the map I should have followed.  I had NO IDEA.  Looks easy now.

Didn’t know this was the map to use until just now.

Oh, my.

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