In Montana

by Marinka on August 12, 2012

If you’re reading this, I’m in Montana. Don’t ask me why, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Not that Montana is a bad thing, of course, that’s ridiculous, it’s a beautiful state, but with bears who are out to get me.

At first I was keeping what the insane call “an open mind.” Sure, I’d never been to Montana, but dozens of people who vacation there can’t all be wrong. Besides my family seemed enthusiastic. My daughter was excited to go because one of her best friends lived there and Young Ladrinka was excited to go because it’s where the Football Hall of Fame is, except that’s in Ohio and not in Montana, but what’s the point of calling yourself The UNITED States of America if you’re going to get all technical about what is where. But Young Ladrinka is now less excited and more despondent because apparently he’s some kind of a states rights freak.

Balancing out the family is Husbandrinka with his Lewis & Clark fetish and threat/promises that we will be visiting many sites important to the expedition and my step-son who told me that he Googled the population of Montana and it’s some number.

So there I was with my open mind, hugging random buildings in NYC as I prepared for this next adventure when suddenly and for no good reason I get an email from a Montana acquaintance and she says that she’ll lend us her bear spray so we don’t have to buy our own.

What the fuck is that about, exactly?

I immediately Google “Why the fuck do people in Montana need bear spray” and get a site that schools me on the use of bear spray on an angry grizzly bear (at 25 feet away! You may want to practice before hand because the spray comes out with great force!) I start feeling mildly lightheaded and faint (because it’s terrifying, not because I’m pregnant). And then there’s a section on snakes, but I’m sure that section is there to make people feel better about the bears and there’s only one poisonous one to worry about, so I’m liking my odds.

So I immediately email Kelcey, who lived in Montana, Annie who presently lives in Montana, and Husbandrinka, who hopes to survive in Montana. Husbandrinka’s all “I have no idea why someone would need bear spray” and also says some shit about how he thinks we’re supposed to spray it on ourselves to repel the bear which I know from the little I’ve spent on the Grizzlies & You website to be 1000% wrong. Kelcey’s more helpful in the “nice knowing you” and “don’t carry around a pot of honey” way and Annie tells me not to worry, but I can hear her laughing while distributing my photo to the local grizzly. So I’m pretty much fucked.

“Don’t worry, mom,” Young Ladrinka, the future cartographer, tells me and I sit him down to let him know that we will be staring death in the face pretty soon, so don’t forget to pack your toothbrush because they’ll probably be using dental records to identify us and we don’t want them to detect gingivitis.

“Oh, I’m not really worried,” I lie , “I just think it would be fun for us to learn all about bears in preparation.” And specifically what kind of guns work best on them because suddenly I’m a big proponent of the Second Amendment and the Right to Bear (OMG, if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is, except that Guns & Ammo one I hope to see flashing at the Bozeman airport.)

“Like in order to get into character, I’m going to dress as Goldilocks,” I told him even though he had already lost interest.

“Goldilocks isn’t bears,” he said. “It’s wolves.”
“Excuse me?” I asked, making a mental note to enroll him in remedial fairy tales 101.
“Little Red Riding Hood is bears,” he explained.


Hopefully there will be no re-enactments on the trip.

I’ll keep you posted.

One year ago ...

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Rae @ smacksy August 12, 2012 at 10:52 am

You will be missed.
(Dibs on your Manhattan apartment.)


August 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

Having spent some time hiking in Montana, I’m pretty sure you’ll be bear safe. In fact, i think the scariest thing in this post is YL’s misrecollection of Goldilocks. The bears are IN THE TITLE.

Don’t discount the possibility of running across a full- grown moose. It is a big as a house, but it can’t claw you to death, though, so there is that comfort.


deb August 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

after returning from an awesome week spent hiking around yellowstone, i discovered how much I had become accustomed to the threat of bears (like learning to drive the DC beltway everyday without worry) i had turned on some sort of unconsious bear radar that didn’t turn off when i came home. i had to retrain myself that it was safe to walk to the mailbox without singing loudly or wearing bells on my shoes!


annie August 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Would it help you to know that I’ve never once in my life purchased bear spray? It’s the crazy mean buffalo you need to be worried about – they’re the ones distributing your pictures around the Park.

You know, you could avoid all this angst by driving 200 miles and parking your tush on my deck while I bring you cocktails! (the bear spray is in the side pocket of the wicker chair)


Kate Coveny Hood
August 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Seeing as I’m not fond of trips that involve regular use of BUG spray…

Look forward to hearing about the trip!


the mama bird diaries
August 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Interesting note, there are more cows in Montana than people.
And on the upside, I have family in Montana and they have yet to be eaten.


annie August 13, 2012 at 12:17 am

That’s because there are so damn many cows! What bear in his right mind would eat people instead? Cows don’t have thumbs to carry bear spray.


Anna Lefler
August 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

I’m sorry, “bear spray?”

If we have something in a can that can drop an enraged grizzly at 25 feet, why are we not using it to keep the Kardashians under control?



joeinvegas August 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

Get one of th0se video cameras that you wear on your hat, so when the bear is finally tracked down and the camera removed from his stomach we can see what really happened to you.


Corporate Wife
August 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

Stay safe with the bears. When you come home you will discover that the Hudson has become the newly toxic Poopsdon River.


mexmom August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Have a beary good time in Montana!


August 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

You know there’s this really cool place right near you where you can vacation called The Hamptons? It has beaches, bars, and, barring a potential brain scarring run in with a B list celeb in a Speedo, I hear it’s super fun and safe?

But…have fun with the bears!!


Lady Jennie August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Oh dear. I hope to hear from you again. My mom goes hiking and totally needs bear spray. Or at least bear horns to warn them you’re coming so they run away. Except I don’t think the grizzlies run away, I think they come and hug you nice and tight before nuzzling at your neck.

Not that you should worry or anything. I’m sure it will be fine.


dusty earth mother August 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

This will be an exciting and dramatic way to die. Too bad you won’t be around to write about it.


Mary August 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I keep bear spray next to my bed and I live in Los Angeles. It’s mostly for intruders but last summer at 4:30 in the morning a bear was in my driveway eating EVERYTHING that was in my trash. He stuck around for 20 minutes looking for more. I froze standing there in my underwear (it was hot) and watched him. I was too scared to even take a picture and prove it really happened. Then he took a GIANT dump at the end of our driveway. I took a picture of that for my husband who was away at the time. Proof. The bear spray never moved from the side of my bed. Good luck out there! Bears are apparently everywhere.


Steph August 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Please be careful! I don’t want to lose my Marinka fix.


August 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm

If it makes you feel any better:
1. I’m leaving for Montana on Saturday (misery loves company, no?)
2. Back here in the good ole city, I slipped on a DEAD MOUSE today while crossing West 86th Street. No shit.

At least it wasn’t a rat.
Or a bear.

Here’s hoping you make it home.


Anonymous insider that knows montana August 16, 2012 at 12:13 am

Honestely. Montana is the greatest state that there is, and if your so afraid then… WHY DID YOU GO? no one forced you to go, so please just be greatful for the wonderful place that your in.


Alexandra August 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

I can’t believe this post.

The fair, demure, fragile, lady like born in the wrong century lady-of-the-court in MONTANA?

Surely, your blog has been taken over by the same aholes that tried to do erin in.

I won’t believe it….


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