Why, when I knew I was going to be out enjoying nature for a day, did I think that it was a smart idea to leave the camera at home? Mark wanted to take it; I persuaded him that it would just be in the way on our 3 1/2 hour hike in Jacques Cartier National Park.
He planned a whole day date for us. We left Joel at Claudia's next door and headed off for the park around 9:30 with a picnic lunch and a book. We decided on a trail that was 10 km. It was a great hike, and we had a fun time chatting about everything from our dreams to the kids to what we were seeing around us. It took about 2 1/2 hours, and we were definitely ready to eat when we arrived back at the car. At the welcome center we started to split ways with Mark heading to get our lunch and me off to the bathroom. Not 10 seconds after parting, Mark said, "Jill, there's a bear." I, of course said, "No, there isn't." He insisted that yes, there was indeed a bear. And when I walked toward him to see if I was getting my leg pulled, I saw it--a beautiful little black bear cub. We watched for a bit and then Mark ran in to alert the park staff saying that usually where there is a bear cub, there is big mama bear close. I continued to stalk the little guy from a distance, marveling at the beauty of him. All the park rangers (4 or 5) burst out of the building. One told us he had never seen a black bear in that park; a couple others had spotted the cub before and said that he'd been around for a month or so, but it appeared that there was no mom in the picture. As he toddled off into the woods, they told us that he wouldn't probably make it through the winter alone. Mark was especially touched and has been praying for that baby since.
And all the while, I was kicking myself for not bringing the camera.