From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series

By Virginia Wyatt, 44R & 43R


Thought some of you might enjoy these true bear stories.

1. Do you old timers remember the bears at the dump? My family would load up on snacks and jump into the car and drive to the dump ( I think this is the sewage waste treatment now) as soon as it got dark. When we arrived other cars would be there. We would all sit with our lights off until we heard the bears rummaging in the garbage and then all car lights would come on and we would watch the antics of the bears for hours. Some of the bears got pretty brave and came up near our cars and we scrambled to roll up our windows.

2. One morning I went to the Pine Tree Market and saw that about 1/4 of the freezer chest lid on the deck had been torn back. When I asked what had happened they told me that some chocolate chip cookies were in the freezer and the bear went after them. It is surprising how much damage they can do with those sharp claws.

3. When we were living at the trailer house on our land. We had a deck and a bedroom built on but had kept a refrigerator on the deck (DUMB IDEA) because of lack of room in the trailer. We put empty soda cans around on the railings of the deck and metal chairs in the entrance to the deck. If I heard a noise at night I would get up and chase the bears away by hitting metal pans together. This one time I went out, the bear had the refrigerator open and had unscrewed the lid to a quart jar of mayonnaise without breaking it and had its about 6-inch tongue in the jar licking all of the mayonnaise out.

4. My daughter and her family came up to stay at the big cabin. They had a van with a small refrigerator in the back and a back door to open it. In the middle of the night she looked out and thought to herself, “Gee it is really moonlit tonight upon seeing a light in the van.” The next morning they found that a bear had opened the van, got in and ate all of their bacon and syrup for breakfast.

5. I used to sleep in the bed in the trailer with the small window open over my head and every night about 2 a.m. I would hear something sniffing the air and would smell what was something like a skunk only not as bad. There is a bear path between 44R and 43 R and the bears would be either coming or going to the river.

6. One time my daughter, who was staying in the trailer, left for a few days. When she came back the bear had gone through the kitchen window over the sink and got into the trailer. It took shortening, sugar, spam, canned goods outside to an area near the trailer where it appeared to have a picnic. It had ripped all the cans open. The funniest part about this was that inside the trailer we had a dark green Naugahyde couch in the living area. Now often bears get wet either in the streams or river and their fur will be damp. You could see where this bear’s haunches were as it sat on the couch and its feet were on the floor. It had sat there and eaten a box of cream of wheat which was spilled on the couch.

7. Now this next one I did not witness but the story going around was that before there were locks on the garbage bins, a guest went to empty the garbage and a bear was in the bin. I’m told that both the guest and bear were very surprised.

Ranger feeding bear in Yosemite