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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Epic bacon battle. (Long)

The bacon sandwich thread, and some of the great commentary therein, made me think of the most epic battle for bacon I've ever seen.

In the early 90's, I worked in the backcountry for Philmont Scout Ranch. Log camps and mine camps. For those unfamiliar, Philmont is 214 square mile wilderness that the BSA uses as a high adventure base for backpacking treks. It's located in the Sangre Di Christo mountains in northern New Mexico. It is not paved, it is not developed outside of basecamp, and it is home to all kinds of animals, including bears and mountain lions. It's not a summer camp, it's the real deal.

One of the treks they offer to experienced packers is a Rayado trek. 30 days on the trail, with many service projects and work details, lots of team building, etc for youth. They have treks for both young men, and young women.

One morning at the log camp, I'm awakened bright and early. About 6am. Pounding on the cabin door and screams for help. It's the crew leader of the Rayado Women trek that stayed in camp the night before. They were almost done, and had been on the trail for 27 days. Not much in the way of real food, only dehydrated and freeze dried stuff. For twenty seven days. Ugh. The night before, I had given them a HUGE work detail, all voluntary. Told them any participants in the work, could come into the cook shack in the morning and help themselves to a dozen eggs and a pack of bacon, as long as they didn't wake us up getting it. Well they didn't. Until it all went south.

I opened the door to this totally panicked young lady, who told me a bear was "attacking" her tent mate who was back in camp cooking the bacon. I grabbed the handheld radio, and my ax (a real ax, not a Tele) and ran the quarter mile up the mountain to where they were camped. I will never forget what I saw.

There was a small campfire, which they were using to cook their hard earned spoils. On one side of the fire, was the bear. Probably a three year old, maybe 300 pounds, tops. Not a big black, but not a small one either. On the other side of the fire was a seventeen year old girl. Probably 5' 2" and 90 pounds soaking wet. She was red faced, seething mad, had a cast iron skillet in her hands cranked back like a ball bat, and had that pack of bacon sticking out the back of her pants, where she had stuck it so she could stand off the bear without him grabbing it. I have never seen anybody more pissed off in my whole life. Never.

They were circling the fire in front of each other, her keeping the fire between her and the bear at all times. The language coming out of this young lady's mouth directed at Mr. Bear, would have made the cast of Pulp Fiction blush. She'd been on the trail for 27 days, with no real food, she had busted her butt the day before cutting and splitting a monster pile of wood to earn that bacon. No bear was getting it. No way in hell. Sailors would have been proud of the things she was yelling at the bear, I swear.

It was a great scene, especially when the bear made a move and she swung that skillet and clipped his nose, but enough was enough. The bear was about to lose his cool and snap her like a twig. Luckily, the rest of my staff showed up, and with four of us there, we were able to chase him off far enough that the girls could get down to the cabin safely. The girls could have easily chased him off themselves if they had all stayed put, there were fifteen or so of them. He would have run off easily facing that kind of opposition, but they scattered, or stayed in their tents. Silly. Lesson learned.

Back down at the cabin we cooked up the food in the safety of the cook shack, and I got bacon girl calmed down. Bravery and bear fighting gave way to shaking and crying, etc. It freaked her out pretty badly. She told me it was just reflex, that her first reaction was "no way is this thing getting MY food", but she soon saw it was bad idea. By that time though, she figured she was in it, and the only thing she could do was finish it out. One thing everybody knows out there- if you run from a bear, your'e done. Once things reach a certain phase, you have to stand it off, for better or worse. If you run, it's over. Bear wins.

We discussed that while it's really, really bad to feed bears, and good to protect your food supply, in that instance it would have been better to give up the food, back away, and stay safe. She could have been really hurt, or worse. She looked at me over her plate of bacon and eggs, and totally serious, in a sweet little voice, said "f&%k that bear". And the whole room exploded.

I have no idea what ever became of her, though I have often wondered. That was twenty years ago. I'll bet she really grew up to be somebody though. Anybody who will fight a bear three times or more her weight for a pack of bacon, is not a person to be trifled with.

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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That. Is. Epic.

You should post that on on Reddit.com, they love bacon and epic battles there. You might even get a response from the young lady.

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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good story! Bacon will do that to people.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bet your heinie no one would stand off a bear for a marshmallow.

Chocolate, maybe, but not a plain marshmallow!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That's one hell of a story. I could see the whole thing playing out in my mind as I read it.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, my kind of lady! Great story
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How come you always have great stories.
You should write your own book ala Larry F
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yep, That's a goodun... and nicely told. That girl's alright in my book!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I dunno, even cats are seeing bears off these days.


Although it's a good job it wasn't this bear

Sic transit gloria
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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great Bacon story... I could picture it in my mind..... however serious a situation, glad you can all laugh about it now....
like Katherine Hepburn in them old movies... sweet and demure or full on cussin' crazy swinging frypans...

Hey.. I'm still laughing about the River Bacon story from earlier on..... :)..

mmmmmmm.. Bacon stories.... arrrgghh,....;)

I searched my brain cells for an interesting bacon story from my past to relate.... and couldn't recall any....I'm sitting here feeling devoid of any culture at all..... sigh....
"by degrees the flood of music drove all speculations out of his mind. It was as though it were a kind of liquid stuff that poured all over him and got mixed up with the sunlight that filtered through the leaves."
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Great post.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Great story,thank you!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Good story, thanks for sharing.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:40 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Great story. If she ever got married, I hope it's to a guy who never fails to put food on the table.
If you swap the pickups, electronics, hardware and neck that'll make a decent guitar. Oh, and a new body, obviously.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Great story and like Hoodie and Trev I could see it unfolding in my mind as I read it. Loved it...
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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Great story !
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Great story indeed.

I wonder if my wife knows she has a twin?
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Old December 6th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Great story indeed!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Awesome story Jakedog! I can see how after a few weeks on the trail with nothing but freeze dried meals, how I might feel about the prospect of cooking up a pound of bacon

I swear, whenever I catch up with you, it will be story time, and the beers will be on me

Same goes for The Good Texan...

TDPRI stories: they're just damn good intermess content
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Nice story.
Thank you.

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