How many of you outdoors people can say that you returned from a hike and found a bear in your vehicle? Not many, I'll bet. But that happened once to me, and once was enough, believe me! I'd gone for a long hike out a trail whose trailhead was near the Visitors Center in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park years ago. Stupid me left an apple in the back seat of my car. You're probably beginning to get the picture already, right? As I was returning, I heard a horn blowing quite stridently, shattering the peace and quiet of this rather unpopulated area. A few minutes later when I reached the parking area, a young man jumped out of his car and ran toward me, pointing to my car. "Is that your car?" he asked.
"Yesss, why?" I asked somewhat suspiciously, although the sight of a young woman seated in the passenger side of his car somewhat allayed my nervousness.
"A bear broke in and is still in it!"
Upon taking a closer look, I saw, first of all, the top of driver's door at a right angle to the body of the car. Second, peering through the window, from a few feet away, of course, I saw a black bear sitting in my back seat. He had smelled the apple through the vent and somehow hooked his claws over the top of the door and bent it down like tin, shattering the glass in the window of course.
As we stood there talking, the bear decided there wasn't anything else to eat there, so he came out while the young man and I beat a hasty retreat to his car.
To make a long story a little shorter, I went with the couple and managed to flag down a park ranger who bent the door up so it wasn't sticking out quite so much.
What really makes me mad is that I had my camera with me, but the shock of seeing a bear in my car totally drove that memory from my mind. Well, live and learn, as they say.