My grandfather was a pretty funny guy sometimes. He is the same fellow from a past post about a family reunion and his barn door being open. He told me this story a bunch of years ago. I think I was about 19 or 20.
As the story goes, he was up around Aspen, Colorado, and was out hiking and checking to see how hunting season might be that fall. A lot of the forest had been cut down in the 1800s for homes, the mines, for shoring up the tunnels, and for new buildings in Aspen. A lot of the stumps from these trees were about 8 feet tall or taller because when they were chopped down during winter, the people who chopped them were standing on top of the snow (we can have snow up to 20 feet or more sometimes, in the mountains, here.)
Anyway, he was walking and checking for sign of deer and elk. As he walked, he noticed how pretty the valley looked and he wanted to get a better view. So, he decided to climb one of the big old stumps to get a better view of the valley. He said that it was a bit of work to get to the top of the stump. As he neared the top of the stump, he found out that the big old stump was hollow.
When he got to the top, he thought that if he straddled the top part of the stump and put a leg on either side that it would hold him so he could see the valley. Well, he said that just about the time he was settled on the stump. One side caved in on him and his leg went down in the stump so he tried to put all his weight on the other side. It let loose, and his other leg went in the stump! He said that he tried to stop his fall inside of the stump, but just ended up with his arms up over his head and he was worried that he was going to fall all the way down inside this stump.
He said all of a sudden he quit falling, looked up, and could see that his hands were about three feet from the top of the stump. He was stuck good and pretty tight . He hollered and hollered and started to think about how to get out of the stump. He knew that no one knew where he was, and that no one could hear him scream and holler.
Pappy said that he felt like he had been in that stump for hours and was about to give up when he heard something or someone outside of the stump. Just as he was about to shout, it dawned on him that what he was hearing was some animal. After a few minutes of listening to this animal sniff around the stump and make all kinds of noise, it started to climb the big old stump.
Pappy said that he could hear it climb up the side and, all of a sudden, the light was blocked out. It was a bear coming down inside the stump, butt first!
Figures that he would have to pick some old stump that a bear had used all winter to sleep in. Now it had been out eating whatever it could find and was wanting to take a nap!
He said that he was as quite as a mouse. As the bear was backing down the stump, Pappy lowered his arms as far as he could.
He said just as soon as he felt fur, he reached up as far as he could and grabbed as much of that bear butt fur as he could, then he screamed as loud as he could. That poor old bear didn't know what had him! The bear yanked him far enough up the stump that he could get his elbows wedged at the top of the stump.
As he raised himself up high enough, all he could see was that poor old bear running like he was on fire, down the side of the mountain! And the bear never looked back at him.
As Pappy made his way down the outside of the stump, he said that he heard someone holler his name. It was a friend of his. When he saw Pappy, he asked him why he was covered in pine bark and wanted to know what in the world he had in his hands. Pappy looked down to see that he had two big handfuls of bear butt fur. There was enough there that he could of made a real nice hair piece for someone.
After being told this story and all of the times that I have been in the mountains since then, I can't help think of this whenever I see a bear. When I watch them run off, fuzzy bear butt wiggling down the trail, I fondly think of my grandfather.