A Funny Thing Happened

     This morning after I dropped the kids off at the school bus stop for their second day of the new year I decided to take a walk.  While walking on the Gunflint Trail I noticed some dirt in the middle of the road with numbers by it.  The numbers are courtesy of the Cook County Highway Department and there are several sets along the road.  The numbers have been there for quite some time so it wasn’t the numbers or the dirt that got my attention but the large pile of bear scat on top of the dirt. 

     I was a bit suprised to see such a big pile of scat right on top of the pile of dirt.  The scat looked like it was full of blueberries which is normal for bear scat found on the Trail or in the BWCA.  The pile was much larger than all of the other piles along the side of the Gunflint Trail, but it made sense to me because there are two active bears in the neighborhood.

     It wasn’t long before I came upon another set of numbers.  Much to my suprise there was more dirt and another huge pile of bear scat on top.  This was amazing.  I started to think about how cats use litter boxes and wondered if bears possibly had a preference for pooping on dirt.  I had never heard of such a thing but one never knows.

     It wasn’t until I got to the fourth or perhaps fifth pile of dirt with bear scat on it that I had to take a closer look.  My eyes were not playing tricks on me, I swear I could see the berries and the small seeds in the pile of scat.  In order to confirm this strange phenomena I bent over and picked up a piece of the scat.  I think it was the first time I ever touched bear scat so I wasn’t sure what it should feel like.  It was a bit sticky and hard which I guessed it would be if it had been ran over by a car tire.  I still wasn’t convinced and decided to smell the scat.  Hmmmm.   The smell wasn’t quite what I expected and the mystery began to unravel itself in my mind.

     I thought of a story a friend of mine told me one time.  It involved her as a little girl when she enjoyed chewing on fresh tar.  I know this probably isn’t a common thing but I figured if she was still alive then it must not be too bad for a person. 

     With the story of my friend in mind, a piece of unidentified substance in my hand I bravely put the suspected scat into my mouth.  Suspicions confirmed.  The dark blue/black sticky substance that looked exactly like a pile of bear scat was actually some fresh tar courtesy of the Highway Department and not from a bear’s butt.

     I got a good chuckle out of the experience and as I passed by the piles on my return trip I still thought it  looked exactly like bear scat and not tar.  A funny thing happened on my walk.  I discovered tar does indeed taste pretty good so I sure hope the County doesn’t mind me shoveling it all up to snack on later.