Hiking: Just the Bear Necessities

With so much closed and cancelled during the height of the pandemic, we took a couple short local vacations last summer to explore the nearby Rocky Mountain parks.

We felt we needed another break so we’ve booked a couple more nights (in the near future) for a spring hotel getaway about five hundred meters from where I took this photo of a bear last summer.

for whatever one photo is worth:

The thing about hiking in the mountains is that you’re probably going to see some wildlife.

Maybe it will be just some birds flitting through the trees or a squirrel dashing across your path.

Perhaps a larger animal of the cloven hoof variety will wander through the trees just far enough away to assert her caution into the scene.

Or occasionally, a big old bear will be lumbering down the side of the road.

I’ve come across bears a half dozen times on my wilderness adventures and every single time has resulted in a golden story that others want to hear. Bears, for whatever reason, are hiking adventure tale jackpots.

I think it’s probably the blend of big critter who doesn’t have a care for what some pesky human is doing in the woods… unless of course he has all the care and could kill you if you get in his way.

We’d been spotting bear advisory signage up and around the hotel and trails, but even so it was a bit of a shock to see this fella, a young black bear, ambling near the road leading into the trailhead parking lot one July weekend. We were preparing to hike from that same parking lot. I leaned cautiously out the car window and snapped a few photos with my iPhone, and we drove another three or four minutes down to park the car… a little rattled, a little awed.

Luckily he was headed the other direction, and we enjoyed a couple hours in the mountain woods anyways.

If all goes well, we’ll be hiking that same trail again inside of two weeks (and I’ll have some adventure journaling to share.) Chances are we’ll see some wildlife. Hopefully it’s still a little too early for another encounter with this guy.