In the fall of 1983, Patricia Van Tighem and Trevor Janz are newlyweds. Young, successful people - he's in medical school and she's a surgical nurse, they take some time off work to go spend a weekend in the wilds of Waterton Lakes National Park, in the Canadian Rockies.
Having camped in the snow, they're hiking down a trail when suddenly they encounter a grizzly and her cubs fedding on a carcass. The huge bear attacks Trevor first. Patricia is powerless to help him and climbs a tree. But suddenly the bear turns and charges right up her perch, reaching up to swat her out of the tree. Patricia will never forget the feeling as the grizzly chews on her head.
When the attack stops as suddenly as it began, the couple of course feel great relief. They'll get themselves back to a ranger station, where they're helped. Janz recovers quickly. But Van Tighem will have a tough time of it. She'll need surgery after surgery to repair damage done to her face. Eventually, she loses one eye that was crushed by the bear.
They go on to do some traveling, living for a time in New Zealand, and starting a family. They already have one daughter when Van Tighem gives birth to twins, one of whom it turns out has Downs symdone. This will prove very difficult for Patricia. Eventually she'll spend some time in a mental institution. It's only there that she tries to recover.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines