Last week while driving down to the cottage late one night with Linda, I saw a large black bear sitting by the side of the road (Lac Nick road off the 245 / exit 106 off the 10). The road was icy and snow covered so I couldn’t slow down to much to get a great look. That would have been lovely; hit the brakes to see bear and wind up in ditch beside said bear in the middle of nowhere at 11pm at night during a snowstorm. Anyways — i’ve seen more than my fair share of wild black bears. This was the fourth time.
The 3rd time was the safest as I was a good 500 feet+ away, up-hill in Cape Breton. The bears just wandered off after giving the couple other people with me a good show.
The 2nd time was hiking with my friend Johan in Harrington on my father’s property. We had hiked up into the valley beside where I grew up, mid-fall before the snow. That time of year is hunting season so as we heard a rustle behind us we thought it must have been a hunter illegally poaching on our land. Instead we saw large brown shoulders through the waist high brush. It took both of us all of 3 seconds to figure it out and bolt. Ran for 10 minutes straight without looking back. Haven’t seen the bear up there since but others have.
The first time was the heaviest. Hiking by myself for a 3 day trek in Colorado (Crested Butte). I had hiked through this valley north of town and up this very high pass (2000 feet+) to get over to the next valley to the east before nightfall. As I reached the top it started to rain, I could see a clear path through tall grass fields down towards where I wanted to be. I started hiking quickly down and round a bend into an open meadow flanked by woods on all sides. In the grass about 100 feet away from me was a small bear. Behind that bear were two more, mother and cub who was mid-climb up a broken tree. They all looked up at me. It started to REALLY rain hard at that moment. I turned and ran back uphill, jumping a narrow, deep creek bed and hiding out at the best vantage spot I could find about 15 minutes away. No sign of chase. That one was lucky as there had been a couple Black bear maulings that summer in Gunisson to the south. I spent the most nervous night camping of my life 1 days walk from the nearest person. Raccoons scratched at my tent all night – which of course sounds very “bearish”. Welcome to the wilds of Colorado!
That’s my history with bears (so far). Pretty lucky re-reading this post. Anyone else?