We're going on a bear hunt

Photo taken by Martin Horton

All together now 'We're not scared!'

One of the best loved children's books, by the wonderful Michael Rosen. A tale filled with 
 drama, peril and wonderful onomatopoeia words like swish, splosh and squelch. A lot of harmless fun is had by all, because this is a hypothetical bear hunt, right? The bear only exists safely inside the covers of the book, but what if there was a real bear, with sharp claws, terrifying teeth and a deafening roar? Suddenly, it would all feel very different...

Eva and I nearly saw that bear. There we were in the High Tatras national park in Slovakia, after completing a mammoth hike from Velka Svistovka otherwise known as the Great Marmot due to the cute creatures that make their home there - sadly we didn't see any. 

I'm amazed to see the translations describe it as a 'grassy mound' and 'an easy hike'. My legs would tell you otherwise. At 2037 meters, it's significantly higher than Ben Nevis at 1, 345 meters, and with chains and moving rocks, it's not a leisurely stroll, but the views are stunning, which made it well worth the effort.

Our destination, photo taken my Martin Horton 

'But what about the bear?' you'll yelling at me. Okay, yes, I wasn't distracted, I was just setting the scene. There we were, near the end of our mammoth hike, when we met some fellow hikers, who were a little wary as to some strange sounds they'd heard in the woodland. Loud clumping sounds, even their dog was concerned, so what did we do? 

We went stumble trip

swish swash

splash splosh

  squelch squerch 

            all the way back to a conveniently placed bus stop. 

Part of me would have been excited to have seen a real-life bear, but my legs were extremely thankful for a bus ride home rather than a further hour's hike. 

Me swallowed up by a mountain, taken by Eva

This is the closest Eva and I have ever got to truth slightly mirroring fiction; I'd love to hear of any of your similar experiences. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction, and you can find him on Twitter here. 



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