Imagine you are walking down a path and you see this warning sign:
What do you do? Do you turn around and head home? Do you continue on, taking every precaution? Or do you wing it, figuring that you’ll be ok? We encountered this sign on one of our hikes in Glacier National Park. There were several options available to us, to avoid bears:
1. Don’t hike, because then you are sure to avoid bears.
2. Get a bell and make lots of noise, to warn the bears of your coming and scare them away.
3. Purchase the bear repellent spray for $49.95, to spray a bear if it comes near you.
Since we weren’t doing any serious back country hiking, just short hikes popular with the tourists, we opted to purchase a bear bell and continue. We already have our own noisemaker with us, in the form of an 11-year-old boy, so we figured we would be ok.
We were fine. No bears sighted on our hikes! Some beautiful things sighted along the path though, like gorgeous wildflowers and light dancing on the leaves. Experiences we would have never had, if we stayed in the developed areas bears avoid.
We could have been warned away by the sign. We could have avoided any chance of meeting bears by not going down the path. Hiking in bear country is a good analogy for living your life. Do you avoid any chance of danger, by not going down the path at all? Or do you weigh the options and risks, and move forward down the path with some precautions?
I especially love the phrase on the sign: “There is no guarantee of your safety when hiking or camping in bear country.” Really, there is no guarantee of your safety anywhere.
There is one absolute guarantee though, if you decide to avoid the path, you will miss some wonderful views.