No one likes waking up to the sound of the alarm clock, but it probably beats groggily coming to in the wilderness face-to-face with the forest’s most intimidating beast. That’s what happened to John Steitz, but he managed to survive without a scratch.
Steitz (pictured) and his buddy were hiking the Superior Hiking Trail near Duluth, Minn. The pair had started their journey around 5:30 a.m., so by noon, they were ready for some rest at a campsite along the trail.
Snoozing on top of his sleeping bag, Steitz remembers having a vivid dream about playing with a dog. The dog was play-wrestling, licking his face, doing all the normal things a fun-loving puppy would do. But when Steitz awoke, he was in close proximity to a totally different furry creature.
“I opened my eyes, and there was a bear on top of me with its face in my face,” Steitz said. “I kind of opened my eyes and gave a, ‘What-the-expletive?'”
It was a black bear and it was breathing in Steitz’s face. The camper leaned forward and the bear backed away. Steitz then yelled and the startled creature moved about five feet off. With the extra room, Steitz and his companion started banging on their pans, sending the bear further away. Eventually, the bear walked away completely, stopping to turn around every so often on its slow retreat.
Clearly, the attack didn’t faze the two. Later that night, when the hikers decided to pack it in for the evening, they set up camp at Bear Lake, of all places.