LAKE JAMES, NC (WBTV) - A Tennessee woman's story about a bear encounter is getting traction online after she says the bear walked up behind her and licked her neck.
According to Kristen Jones, she was visiting her parents' home on Lake James last week when she decided to do early morning yoga by the lake. She put in her earbuds and started listening to music on her phone.
"I was sitting on the steps with my feet propped by the water,when I felt a sniff on my right shoulder and a lick up my neck [and ear]," she wrote on Facebook.
That's when Jones says she reached up to pet the animal, thinking it was the neighbor's dog, and discovered it was a bear!
MOBILE USERS: Click here to see the bear Jones says licked her neck.
Jones spoke with WBTV Thursday morning and said that when she reached up, the bear got startled and backed up. She knew something was off before she even turned around because the fur felt sharp and prickly. The bear trotted off and Jones stood up.
"I stumbled backwards into the water and he ran up the hill," she wrote online.
"The entire thing happened so fast. Sixty seconds and it was done," Jones said. "I was absolutely terrified. I wouldn't have been able to defend myself against a bear like that if he had attacked. There was an overwhelming sense of being powerless."
Jones says she immediately started taking photos of the bear, "in case something happened and people found my mauled body." She followed behind the bear until she got to the street and watched the bear go back into the woods.
She saw a couple neighbors come out to walk their dog and warned them about the bear. They began calling neighbors to give them a heads up.
A newsletter was sent out saying that several other neighbors had also seen a bear, Jones said.
Jones told her friends that she called her parents "like all children do."
"That's right. When it comes to being licked by a bear, I am still a child," she joked.
Despite being scared during the encounter, Jones said she won't let it change her habits when she visits. She still plans to do yoga and watch the sunrise over the lake and mountains and going for hikes in the woods.
"I'm not going to be nervous - nature is nature."