While on vacation last year (2007) my wife and I went to Ashfield, Ma. To visit her family and relax. We took are to pups Sapper and Kiki along for the trip as well. We drove from Florida to Mass camping in the State parks and forests along the way. It was a long drive which my wife decided to take her Honda Civic instead of my Dodge ram 1500 for the trip up, but we managed to pack all our gear, rifle, food and the dogs (who at the time were still very much puppies) into the small car. It was cramped but in some way it made sense being as less gas money used driving the small car instead of the large truck.
We camped in the mountains on her Grandfathers property; the property was massive containing apple orchards and hills as far as the eye could see. The town is small a mere street lined with mom and pop stores and a small pizza place where we ate most days when canned food and beer was not the breakfast of choice. Down the road from my wife's Grandfather's house was a small old cemetery, which we made it a point to visit. While at the cemetery we began walking and observing the old stones and just admiring the work done to such headstones. We came upon an old stone almost hidden by time, we could not make out the name or dates on the stone but it's age was older than most I would think in that area.
While moving some of the dirt and grass from the stone the tree above made a knocking sound very much out of the ordinary. I stopped what I was doing and looked up to see if it was a bird or just a branch making the sound; oddly enough there was little to no wind. The tree was almost bare and there was no bird or limb making the noise. My wife said aloud, "Its ok we are not here to disturb you, were just visiting." The tree knocked a second time, the wind was almost nonexistent and the knocking sounded as if it came from the center of the tree itself. I distinctly remember feeling like I had butterflies in my stomach, it was a little unnerving but not very frightening.
We continued on our walk but my mind stayed with the tree. I'd never thought I'd hear anything like that in the middle of the day with so few clouds in the sky a very calm wind blowing ever so often but very gentle when it did. The dogs didn't act strange or really show any signs to care for that matter so I figured whatever it was it was at least a positive energy. We continued to walk the cemetery and had no further out of the ordinary experiences.
As we began to walk back to the car we made it a point to walk by the tree again. We made our way down the compressed earth path to the old head stone that sat next to the barren tree. While walking past the tree my wife said good-bye audibly and the tree made no noise this time. We paused half expecting something to happen, we looked around for a few seconds waiting but nothing happened. As we began to walk away the tree knocked twice, we stopped cold in our tracks waiting for anything else but it never came. Again I observed the dogs, they still made no noise or showed any signs, and so we returned to the car loaded up and went on our way.
The rest of the time spent in MA was of the norm; we had an encounter with a bear a couple of nights later. It was the first time I'd felt that my Winchester model 94 chambered in 30-30 win was not enough to stop him, but luckily he got spooked when I asked if he wanted a beer? I figured I was on his territory really but he must have been a whine-o because he went towards the Blueberry bushes instead of accepting a Samuel Adams. (Maybe he was a Miller kind of bear).
I know it sounds odd but me being from Florida my experience with bears is limited to, non-existent. Someone told me to make noise and it'll scare them, it does work, its just sad that in the heat of the moment all I could think about was to offer it a beer. I guess the Discovery channel will not be calling me anytime soon for a documentary on bear behavior.