Nittany Lions, Bullfighters and Bears, Oh My!
I love Central Pennsylvania. There is
some wonderful fishing to be found, so
every year in May, I pack up the camping
gear (which for me entails filling the bed
of my pickup truck with the entire contents
of my garage) and head up there to meet with
friends and fish Penns Creek and the environs.
By Frank Reid
Last year's trip went fine. Got up there on
Saturday and fished my brains out. On Tuesday,
I cooked a huge kettle of my famous Hungarian
Barley Stew, for 30 or so of my closest buddies.
On Thursday, it was Lobster Night at the Millheim
Hotel. Fished all day and ate two lobsters that
night. Life doesn't get much better than that.
After returning from the hotel, I went to my
brand-spankin'-new Kelty tent-mahal (20' X 17'
tent), grabbed a sixer of Yuengling and walked
up to my friend's trailer in the campground to
go over the next day's plans. At about 11:30,
I decide to pack it in and head back down the
trail to my tent.
As I crossed the meadow, I heard a bit of a
ruckus behind my tent. Hmm, time to go investigate.
I turned the corner of the tent and found a
giant, black throw rug going through my cooler.
At that moment, another friend of mine, Wolfy,
in the next tent growls in a sleepy voice; "Frank,
is that you?" Well, I sized up the situation
and calmly replied; "BEEAAAAARRRR!"
The bear removes his nose from my cooler,
raises himself on his hind legs to his full
six feet height, looks me straight in the eye,
huffs twice and then hisses at me. This is
bear talk for "get away from my munchies or
I'm gonna give you such a smack!"
I flash my flashlight in his eyes and gently
explain to him that he's chowing down my food
and beer and ask him politely to leave.
Harking back to stories of Dr. Dolittle, I use
bear talk, so this came out of my mouth sounding
like the scream of a 12-year-old girl at a Michael
About this time, Wolfy makes an appearance in
his best bear fighting outfit. Kinda like a
bullfighter's suit of lights. In this case,
it's a t-shirt and BVDs. He spotlights the
bear with his light. Hah Ha! We now have
this guy outnumbered. Between my intelligent
repartee, two flashlights and Wolfy's bear
fighting outfit, Yogi decides that discretion
is the better part of valor. He drops to all
fours, turns and lopes off into the woods.
After about 15 yards, he turns and sits down.
He's found the mother load in that cooler and
is not about to abandon it.
Quickly, Wolfy and I decide on a strategy.
I run up to the trailer, borrow a large pot
and wooden spoon and dash back down to the
meadow. We scream at the bear and pound on
the pot. The bear gets up and goes over
behind Wolfy's tent and sits back down.
Okay, plan B. I decide to get in my truck,
put the headlights on and honk the horn. As
I head for the truck, the bear decides it's
a good time to come out and finish his repast.
Wolfy reluctantly decides to join me in the
truck. To this day, I have no idea how he
got into the passenger seat of my locked
truck before I even reached it.
Well, this did the trick. Our reluctant
heroes won the day. The bear shambles deeper
into the woods, leaving us in peace. I get
out and survey the damage. The bear has
completely destroyed the contents of my cooler.
Two quarts of slightly fermented barley stew
are gone, along with half a ten-pound loaf of
rye bread, a half-gallon of milk, two pounds
of butter, and three pints of sour cream. Well,
I can at least salvage the half rack of Yuengling.
I clean up the mess and decide to spend the night
in my friend's trailer. Wolfy decides to hit one
of the group's cabins. Didn't even bother to
change, just showed up at the door. Eeeww!
Don't you hate those "come as you are" parties?
In the morning, I go back down to my tent.
Yogi had come back during the night. Since
the cooler was gone, he decided to check out
the contents of my tent. I've gotta teach
that guy how to use a zipper. He sliced open
the front of the tent and tossed the place.
There was no food in there, but he did find
my back pain medicine bottle. I had about
40 flexaril in there along with 10 darvocet.
Well, the medicine bottle was crushed on the
floor (should have gotten the child proof lids).
Half the flexaril were gone and all of the nice,
sugar-coated darvocet were missing. The tent
was toast. He had tried to make a new exit
door out the back to no avail. There was just
enough damage to the stress point that the tent
would no longer hold together.
So, barley stew, sour cream, butter, and drugs.
The camp ground owner did mention that there
had been a bear at the dumpsters overnight
with a bad case of the projectile diarrhea.
I figure that bear had a real good fiber and
grease system flush in the works.
I decided to sleep in a local cabin that
Friday night and at the local B&B on Saturday.
I had to stay around 'cause the green drakes
decided to hatch two weeks early, but I did
not want to meet up with a high-colonic-loving,
drug-crazed junky bear looking for some Captain
Crunch and more milk. Besides, my tent was now
cross ventilated and would not keep out the
By the way, before the night was out, everyone
in the little hamlet near the campground knew
me as the idiot that left a cooler out next
to his tent. I even heard about it at the
corner grill and grocery store in town. Oh
well, it gave me reason to stay at the cabin
Friday night and take everyone's poker money.
~ Frank Reid
Born and raised in Southern California, my mother
taught me to love fishing. I would fish from the
piers around Los Angeles as all my friends hung out
on the beach. At age 19, I joined the U.S. Air
Force to see the world and liked what I saw, so
stayed in for 23 years, finally retiring in 2000.
I've lived and fished all over the US and the globe,
from the deserts of California to the Philippines,
Germany, South Korea, England, beautiful Omaha,
Nebraska and about 1,000 other places in between.
These travels taught me to fish for whatever happens
to be in the local water. I now work in the Baltimore
area as a computer consultant trying to earn
enough to buy that next new rod or go on that next trip.
My wife is Brenda (who's quilting addiction rivals my
fly fishing/tying obsession) and we have two lovely
daughters. ~ FR
Lighter Side Archive