A hiking excursion with a group of female friends led to an unexpected wildlife encounter for Ali Wentworth and pal Mariska Hargitay.
Wentworth filled in for Kelly Ripa on Monday’s episode of “Live with Kelly and Ryan”, where she regaled co-host Ryan Seacrest with an anecdote that featured a surprise appearance by the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star.
“We decided to go hiking in Tennessee, which is out of my comfort zone because I like a nice beach and a hot dog,” Wentworth told Seacrest. “It’s beautiful, except we stupidly went on a hike without a guide and we don’t know how to read trail signs. So we started out, we thought we’d go for like, 45 minutes because, you know, we’re not in tip-top shape.”
The back-to-nature trip included a lack of wi-fi coverage, with Wentworth jokingly complaining that “we couldn’t Insta Story for like, two hours. Anyway, four hours go by and then we run into …” she continued, and then held up a photo displaying a bear.
“This is a black bear. Let me tell you something, you can throw me a copperhead or a rattlesnake any day, but when you see a black bear, your heart jumps.”
She admitted she couldn’t remember if one is supposed to hide or make noise when encountering a bear, which led her to do both.
“I had a complete personality disorder with the bear. He was pretty close and I was doing, screaming and then rolling, screaming and then rolling, and he literally looked at me and was like, ‘You’re a crazy person,’ and kept going and left.”
That was when she revealed that one of her hiking companions was Hargitay. “I’m dropping that name because I kept saying, ‘You’re Olivia Benson, do something, go fight the bear!’ And she wouldn’t fight the bear.”
They finally made it back to a road, and were rescued by a passing car.
“We got back because this really sweet couple in their 80s picked us up, it was like, Tim and Joanne, and we were like, ‘Help, help!'” Wentworth said. “We got in the car — I was sitting on Mariska’s lap — they drove us back to where we were staying.”
Wentworth concluded by sharing what she told the couple: “You can go home and tell all your friends that you saved Olivia Benson.”