Cougar, Bears, Bobcats & Trust! What the Wilderness taught me about myself and the Universe.

Life always gives you what you need when you need it and this lesson in trust was exactly what I needed, and no surprise when I needed it! Last summer I had a desire to spend some time in nature with my dog. It’s like I was being drawn to the woods. I listened to this calling and took a week off from work, not really sure what I was going to do. I reached out to family to see if they had some suggestions on places where I could go, my uncle had a cabin that he said I could use. Perfect, I thought! I had never been to their cabin but things were falling in place so I trusted that this was where I should be! I took the leap of faith, packed up the car and the dog and off I went to my uncles’ cabin in the woods. When I got there it was gorgeous, it was in the woods on a lake … it was perfect! What I didn’t realize is that it was in a small community of cabins that were pretty much abandoned during the week. Which meant I was going to be pretty much alone out there. At first, this did not bother me, I had at this point in my life become very accustomed and comfortable with being alone. My uncle showed me around the cabin, which was built on a hill, the main part of the cabin was on the top of the hill and there was a steep staircase outside down to a basement/spare bedroom which was built into the hill. The basement/spare room was rustic, (like you could see the tree roots and tree trunks) in parts of the basement. Usually, this part of the cabin was locked with a padlock, as the only entrance to it was from the outside. My uncle showed it to me despite me objecting, as I didn’t think I would really need it, thank goodness he did, as you will see in a minute. During the walkthrough my Uncle also shared with me that they have cougars in the area he had seen tracks right outside the cabin at different times throughout the year, and that there was a grizzly bear that other residents stated lived just across the field, and that they had witnessed black bears in the area, oh and maybe some bobcats too! I am not that outdoorsy and more than anything I was concerned about my dog, who at this point was losing her mind because on top of all the dangerous animals there were squirrels and my dog loves to chase things, especially small rodents. After getting all settled in, I decided to take my dog for a walk. We ventured out with some apprehension as I had never been there and to be honest my dog is my baby, so I was concerned for her safety (as I often am). We took a walk and found a path to walk for a bit. It was nice, I soaked in nature. Feeling more grounded and mostly calm, because on my walk I had realized this was the first time since Woody passed away that I had been on a trip completely on my own. I had travelled on my own but always had people to meet up with or conferences to attend, this time I was completely ALONE! This thought was exciting but as with anything outside of our comfort zone was also uncomfortable and so I was also feeling a bit anxious. We (my dog and I) spent the rest of the day enjoying the lake and the woods… then returned to the cabin at night time. It was a bit nerve-wracking being there with Bramble in the dark as she was on high alert for squirrels and I was definitely on alert for any potential risks. Not that it felt overwhelming but just on alert! I went to bed in the QUIET absolute silence, which was nice but also made it obvious how very alone I was! About 2:00 am I was awoken by my dog. Once I got my bearing from being startled awake, she let me know she needed to go outside. I turned the outside lights on (giving the wildlife fair warning to disperse, at least that was my thoughts and left them on for a minute before we ventured outside). Bramble was of course on a leash because as mentioned she loves to chase things and I didn’t want her running off chasing a squirrel in the dark. We walked out the sliding door and as there were now moths and mosquitos swarming the lights, I turned to slide close the door behind me. Didn’t even have a second thought about it, it was a sliding door with a latch lock, no worries, right?!?! Bramble walked around outside well truth be told she hunted around, turns out she just wanted out to hunt squirrels! I pulled her back on her long leash and we turned to open the sliding door… it didn’t open! It was locked! OMG!!!! Sliding doors don’t lock, I thought so I pulled a little harder feeling more frantic and the anxiety rising! It didn’t open! OMG!!!OMG!!! OMG!!! I was alone in my PJ shorts in the middle of the isolated wilderness with bears and cougars and god knows what else lurking in the shadows, not to mention being eaten alive by mosquitos and I was ALONE! Absolutely, ALONE! My car was locked, the cabin was now locked, and I didn’t even have shoes on! As I sat on the picnic table fear quickly turned into a complete state of panic! What was I going to do? There were not a lot of options. I took a couple of deep breaths put a couple of prayers out to the Universe and I’m sure swore a couple of times. Fear had completely settled in now and as our

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