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bear in forest
Photo: Getty Images.

A Wild Encounter for One Denver Family

Christening the camper brings unexpected adventure to this family’s doorstep.

It was 1 a.m. at about 10,000 feet and my wife Nicole awoke to frightening sounds outside our camper. We were deep in the woods, tucked away in a secluded part of Jefferson, Colorado. It’s a beautiful location just up and over Kenosha Pass on Highway 285, with some of the most breathtaking views in the state—a favorite location of mine ever since high school.

Nicole was surprised to hear the ruckus outside our door at that time of the night, knowing that not another soul was within miles of our remote compound. The shuffling, clunking, thump, and bumping of a rather clumsy intruder continued for a few minutes before she decided to wake me from my deep dormancy. Startled by the unease in her voice, I hopped out of bed to join her and our two wide-eyed kiddos who had also been jolted awake from the commotion.

We all stood silent, waiting for our unwelcome guest to make another move. Then, quietly, we tip-toed over to the side window of our camper and gently tipped up the blinds to see who was rummaging through our coolers full of Capri Sun and low-carb adult beverages.

The campsite was awash with the light of the moon, but it was still not bright enough to see what was going on out in the wilderness. Needing a little more illumination on the situation, I reached for the light switch to flick on the exterior porch light. Just in that instant, two large black paws flopped up on the window, and a bright pink tongue started slurping up the mosquitoes and moths attracted to the light. We were face-to-face with a black bear.

Our visitor was just as curious about our startled little family, huddled in the camper, as we were with the racket that he and his three bear buddies were causing outside. We gazed at that big wet nose and those sharp teeth for a couple of minutes before he let out a big bear yawn. Dropping back down from the window, he gave us a quick glance back, seemingly annoyed that we humans had interrupted his bug appetizers. The bears foraged through our stuff, then became bored by the lack of treats and gradually lumbered off into the darkness.

Filled to our ears with adrenaline, we didn’t sleep a wink the rest of that night. We were all pretty pumped about what had just happened—we had been face-to-face with a bear, with only a thin layer of glass between us! What at first was fear had now turned into the four of us laughing about the experience. My kids couldn’t wait to get back and tell their “city friends” about the excitement of the evening.

That was the maiden voyage in our family camper, and we now had an awesome story to regale our friends and families with for years to come.

We’ve been adventuring in our camper for two years now. Purchasing it was one of the best decisions my wife and I have ever made. Growing up, I went on countless trips with my parents and we created magical memories. I wanted to pass that magic on to my children, as well. The adventures we’ve created thus far in our home-on-wheels have proven to be a priceless investment in our family’s history—complete with bear prints and a couple slobbery coolers.

Family Food

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