You know from our last post that we had a huge day earlier in the week here in Glacier. It started with an incredible hike, turned into a sad story and then – after walking into a bear and her cub – ended with a lot of whiskey. It's not uncommon to spot a bear or two on the roads within Glacier. It's actually pretty fun to spy a black bear or grizzly from the safety of a car.
Running across a bear while on foot is an entirely different story. It's only happened to us a few times, and it's terrifying. Over our several visits, we've hiked hundreds of miles in the backcountry of Glacier and are honestly surprised that we haven't had more encounters.
Honestly, there are times – when we're deep in the wilderness – when it consumes our thoughts. Last year, on a monster hike, we came across fresh grizzly scat and nearly lost our minds. Most of the time we keep our cool, but it's tough to keep scary thoughts from invading the brain in those moments.
We follow the backcountry rules, though, and are very good about making lots of noise, being careful with food, etc. We know the drill and take safety precautions seriously. The thing we always keep in mind is that bears don't want to encounter us anymore than we want to encounter them. As long as they know you're around, they are typically happy to get out of your way. This is particularly true of black bears, who tend to be a bit more relenting than notoriously prickly grizzlies.
All bets are off when a cub is involved. Mama bears don't mess around when a cub is in the mix.
As you might know from that last post, our bear encounter occurred near dusk when we were taking a short hike from camp over to a lake in order to clean up. We were distracted – and even numb – from the day, but we were, as always,"bear aware" as they say. Dawn and dusk tend to be the riskiest day parts for bear activity.
We were startled at our first glimpse of the bear and then all out stunned when we saw the cub. We collected our breath, safely snapped a couple pictures, headed back to camp and drank whiskey.
Here's the really strange thing. Bears haven't been our biggest concern on this visit because there have been mountain lion sightings near our camp.
More whiskey please!