Friday, September 17, 2010

Ursine Essentials

Tomorrow I start my vacation in the wilds of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and it’s times like these that I think about one of my heroes, Lyle Simpson.

Simpson was attacked by a grizzly bear in April, 2005, while at a Bible retreat in Alberta, and lived to tell about it. While there are no grizzlies in Halifax, there are plenty of black bears, and if I run across one I hope I do as well as Simpson.

The odds of surviving a scrap with a grizzly unscathed are slim, and Simpson didn’t improve his chances by doing all the wrong things. He and six friends were hiking in the woods when they surprised the grizzly.

In the heat of the moment Simpson made a bad decision. He panicked, turned tail and ran. Grizzlies sprint at speeds of up to 30 mph (60km/h) and would have quickly caught him, but Simpson tripped making it easier for the grizzly to strike.

Simpson suffered a bite on his forearm and a gash on his hip before his Brazilian martial arts training kicked in. He unleashed an adrenaline-fueled kick to the bear’s nose and the beast backed off, losing interest and allowing Simpson to escape.

“I managed to stay alive and in one piece I think more so by the graciousness of the bear,” said Simpson. Even so, I think it takes a cool head to face an eight-foot tall, 800 lb attacker and live to tell about it, and for that Lyle Simpson has my respect.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies ( 2010.