Life on campus was, if you could describe it in one short statement it would be “energy in motion”. There was always a hustle and bustle of activity. Something was always going on. It seemed like an endless stream of activity.
It was during the 1960’s when every year the students were treated to a trip to either Yosemite, or Sequoia National Park’s on the way to the Feast of Tabernacles at Squaw Valley, California. It was an exciting time of adventure for the students, some of which had grown up in, and had never been beyond the limits of the big city. For those students it would be a fascinating quest into the wilderness.
The several days they were in the park, was a journey into adventure. Their days was filled with hiking and various avenues of exploration and discovery. The evenings would be spent around a large campfire under the canopy of a star lit night. It was a perfect time for singing songs and telling of stories. It was a wonderful time to be young and free.
But the park was not without its dangers. Sometimes unwary tourists would find themselves in serious trouble when they got too close to the wildlife. There were even cases of individuals being mangled or mauled because of their ignorance and carelessness. One child had it face sliced open by the hoof of a dear. It was a time to be enjoyed, but caution needed to be exercised to avoid what could be a painful memory.
One of the biggest dangers travelers were exposed to was that of bears. The Rangers would emphatically warn all new comers not to feed the bears, and to only observe them from a distance. For every once in a while one would become a rogue bear, filled with anger and fury it would destroy anything and everything in its path.
It was the Rangers job to protect the visitors from dangerous animals. This protection sometimes required that they hunt down and destroy the awesome but deadly rogue beast.
The students were really enjoying themselves with the activities and exploring during the day, and the bright and cheerful campfires by night. All was going along just fine, until……
The Range had been alerted that a bear had been sighted within a very short distance of where the students were staying. A couple of coeds just happened upon the creature and it chased them right back to their camp. The poor young ladies were almost hysterical about their encounter.
It appeared they had a rogue bear on their hands. This called for immediate action. So they quietly set up a plan to either capture or destroy the bear before it could do any serious damage, or perhaps maim or attack someone. They advised everyone to stay close to camp. They did so very discretely, they did not want to upset any of the tourists.
The next thing they did was to arrange a hunting party to handle the situation with the bear. Among the Rangers there was a small group of men which were specifically trained to track down the beast. These men were not only good at what they did, they were highly trained experts, and well equipped to handle any hostile encounter with the bear.
This situation created an atmosphere of serious concern and tension as the bear chased another group of students as they went for a walk.
It became apparent to the Rangers that capturing the bear was out of the question. The only alternative they had left was to destroy the creature. It was not their first choice, but it was the only option they felt they had left.
The last thing they wanted to happen was for one of the students to get mauled by an angry bear. So they quietly intensified their search.
It was toward evening when one of the Rangers discovered fresh tracks, but these tracks did not look right. There was something distinctly odd about their appearance. Since they were only a couple of yards from where the students were going to gather for a sing-a-long around the campfire latter that evening, they were quite concerned. There was an air of urgency among the men, it was obvious that this problem with the bear needed to be corrected, and right now.
They quickly went into action, and began to carefully track the bear, knowing all to well the potential danger they were in. If they did not bring down the bear on the first shot it would provoke a raging charge and vicious attack by the injured animal. So they proceeded with a great deal of caution….Then one of the men spotted it several hundred yards away in a wooded area. He alerted the other men to close in.
In a systematic manner they moved in for the kill. Knowing they would only have one shot to bring the beast down, they picked their best marksman for the job. The other men would move in and provide a slight distraction while the shooter would move into position to take the bear down.
He had the bear in the scope of his high powered rifle, the cross hairs were aligned on the most vital area for the fatal shot….Something strange caught his eye, the shooter hesitated, for a split second, he thought to himself, something is just not right here! He checked the bear over very carefully through his scope on the rifle…He felt an icy cold chill of horror come over him. He now knew why this bear and its tracks were different. Almost in a panic he desperately called off the other Rangers.
He lowered his rifle and approached the bear from behind…was he being brave, foolish or just plain stupid? He caught the bear completely off guard and by surprise. Wrestling it to the ground he ripped its head off….Of all things, it turned out the rogue bear was nothing more than just a foolish Ambassador College student dressed up in a bear suit. All he wanted to do was play a prank and scare some of his classmates. Not realizing that he came within a heart beat of being shot dead!
He owed his life to the quick thinking of that park Ranger. If he had not hesitated for that split moment, that college student would have been killed!
For the moment he was safe, the Rangers wanted to lynch him as an example of stupidity, not that they would have, but they sure wanted to! They took him into custody with some very nasty charges filed against him. If it had not been for the skillful persuasion of the church officials, this young man would have gone to jail for some time. But instead the Rangers agreed to release the student into their custody.
His biggest experience in terror was yet ahead of him. When he returned to the campus he was to meet with the dean of students immediately upon his arrival. What happened to the student? Did he survive the fiery trial he must have gone through in the deans office?….Well, to be perfectly honest, I do not remember the rest of the story or what happened. Sorry, you’ll just have to use your own imaginations about the rest of the story….But do keep in mind, mercy and compassion were not always among the virtues of either church or college administrators.
Life on campus was full of thrills and chills. Sometimes the situations were down right frightening.
Blast from the past by By Bob W.