July 12, 2010 by Michael McCurdy
Filed under: Health 

Michael J. McCurdy, Founder/

Reporting from the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania


On July 1st we moved from our home base in Manhattan, NYC, into a summer house in the northeast Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania . We are 10 miles from the nearest town, and 30 miles from the nearest city. Across the road from our house is a trail that goes through a forest where black bears and deer roam. It is formally known as “The Promised Land” state park. About 3,000 acres in size, it is 1,800 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by 12, 464 acres of Pennsylvania’s Delaware State Forest. The forests of the park consist primarily of beech, oak, maple and hemlock trees. Two lakes and several small streams add to the
parks outstanding beauty. The air is so clear, it seems surreal.
I slept 12 hours each night for the first three nights, without Tylenol PM. No fire engines, ambulance sirens or police cars. It was awful :)
As I toured the area by foot, I came across the local gas station about a mile down the road. Much to my amazement, it sells the New York Times, for which I immediately reserved one of the 5 copies it receives each day.
On the fourth day here, I was invited to a ritual of a nightly “bear watch” fire and barbecue, where the locals place breaded and buttered corn in the backyard of one of their houses, and at approximately 9pm each nite, adult bears and their cubs and some deer come to feed. For a true city boy, it is quite a site!
Not so, on the fifth night. As I sat in my driveway, looking at the stars, I heard what sounded like large rakes scraping across the asphalt to my left and rear. As the sounds got louder, I also heard what sounded like panting. A huge 400 pound black bear walked nonchalantly by me within 10 feet, and proceeded across the road and into the forest. It took at least 5 minutes for my body to defrost. It took another five minutes to push my eyes back into my head.
“Oh, that must have been Apache” said a local when I described my experience. “He’s harmless. Loves to introduce himself to newcomers.”
The next night, not to show any fear to the locals, I sat down in the exact same spot. At around 9pm, he came into view from out of the forest, crossed the road walking straight towards me, proceeded up my driveway, passed within ten feet of me, and into the bushes behind the house. It took 15 minutes for my body to defrost and 15 minutes to push my eyes back into my head. This is vacation ?

Next week: Reporting in from the mountains, Part 2

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