Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bearly Seen

Signs are everywhere...Be Bear Aware. This is Grizzly Country. There are black bears here as well. Announcement on the park shuttle service: Pepper spray has been effectively used against aggressive bears. Hikers debate whether wearing bear bells (big jingle bells) actually deter or attract bears. Recommendations are to make noise on the trail especially around blind curves or near rushing water (which muffles sounds) so as not to surprise or be surprised by a bear. Attentive readers of this blog will remember Alan's bear mace practice session. He has the mace canister attached to his pack in such a way that he can quickly grab and spray. As for me, I agree with one of the rangers who said, "I'd prefer to see a bear from my vehicle."

After an afternoon break, following a morning hike and lunch in Glacier Natl Park, Alan and I decided to ride our bikes on the trail from the Apgar campground into the nearest little town approx. three miles away.
As we rode, Alan pointed to the forest area right off the trail to a deer, of which there are many around. Riding in silence -- and not carrying his mace -- Alan again points off into the trees but this time mouths, "BEAR." Sure enough, we saw our first grizzly. I am glad to report that it didn't see us. Obviously, we did not stop and we did not get any photos. I never thought that the vehicle I would first view a bear from in the wild would be my bicycle!

The next day while driving into Canada and the northern section of the Waterton-Glacier Park we saw a smaller black bear and were able to take photos -- I'll post next. It did see us but was too busy eating berries to be interested.

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