We started down the side of the mountain. It was very steep and all I could think about was how horrible the hike back out was going to be. Sarah was refusing to walk, so Aaron was carrying her part of the time with Alex also on his back. I had the front carrier to carry Alex in, but I didn't want to use it unless it was absolutely necessary.
So, Sarah was crying. Then, Jada started getting blisters. We were about halfway down the 1.4 mile trail. We decided I should just head back to the top with Jada and Sarah, allowing Aaron and the other kids to hike the rest of the trail in peace. We parted ways, agreeing to meet back at the top.
I am not in good shape. I would have struggled by myself to hike up the side of a mountain. Carrying a 2 year old on my hip was pure torture. (Aaron even said he wasn't sure he could've made it back up with Sarah on his back instead of Alex. It was a very difficult hike). We would hike about 50 feet, then I would have to stop to take a breather and set Sarah down. Every time I set her down, she would scream her head off.
Jada was hiking ahead of us and would have to stop and come back towards us when we would rest. On about the third rest, Jada turned around to talk to us. Suddenly, her face turned white and her eyes were huge. She turned around and started running at top speed, yelling something incoherently. I glanced behind me and saw a small, black bear crossing the path about 30-50 feet below us. I watched him cross the path and not even give us a glance. Jada was still running like a crazy person. I could now understand what she was saying, "BEARS ... BEARS ... BEARS."
I yelled for her to stop and quickly caught up with her. Her face was pale and green. I think she was almost scared to death! I was able to calm her down and we both tried to get ourselves up and out of there as quickly as possible. I still needed to stop several more times, which upset Jada. She just wanted to get out of there and was scared to death that we were being tracked by the bear. I assured her that a bear would try to avoid us as much as we would try to avoid him and that I had seen him go on his way. I told her that bears usually only attacked people if they thought their babies were in danger. When we finally reached the end of the trail we both felt relieved.
I started asking Jada about the bear ... whether it was big or small, etc. Thats when she informed me there were 2 bears. The first one was big. The second one was little. A mother and her cub. By the time I turned around to look, only the small bear was still there. I am so thankful that we weren't still on that part of the trail when they stepped out into the trail. We missed them by just seconds. God was definitely watching out for us.
The rest of the group made it down to the waterfall and back up without nearly as much excitement as we had. They said the waterfall wasn't even that neat. Everyone but Josiah struggled to make it back up the trail (so I don't feel quite as bad).
And Jada will have a story to tell her grandkids. I'm not sure we'll ever get her to hike again.