Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Goldilocks and the Bear

Just got back from a trip to Glacier National Park with the kids and kids-in-law. The photo is of Upper Quartz Lake where we backpacked and camped. We had a great trip, but it seems that bears are mistaking me for Goldilocks. On our last day in the park we went fly fishing on the North Fork of the Flathead River. My husband and I had been fishing in the morning downstream while our son-in-law checked out spots upstream. We had our bear spray with us, but had only seen sign of deer by the river.

After lunch our son-in-law said he had found a good spot by a beaver jam and had pulled out a lot of fish. My husband and I made our way down to that spot although he was slower than I was. I was reeling in a nice fish standing in the middle of the river by the time he got there. He went on past me and around a bend. Unfortunately the fish I was reeling in ended up breaking my line and taking my fly with him. I tied on another fly and cast several times but couldn't interest anything. About the time I took up my line and was going to check out how my husband was doing I sensed that I wasn't alone. I looked up to see a black bear 25 yards opposite me on the shore. About the same time I was looking at it and saying to myself, "That's a bear! Oh gosh...that's a bear!", the bear spotted me. I froze and then checked to see if I could see my husband because he had the bear spray....nope, no sign of him. Great!! Since we had viewed a presentation prior to backpacking on what to do when you encounter a bear, I did what they said...I started to walk slowly backwards. About this time the bear turned to leave, but for whatever reason he turned around again and stared at me. "Oh, oh...this can't be good!" I was still walking backwards but now was starting to shake. I was looking at the bear and then thought, "Oh don't look at the bear...quick! Look away!" The video had told us that bears will assume you are aggressive if you have eye contact with them. Geez, it's kind of hard not to look at the bear! About this time I was shaking so I did the next thing the video in a low voice. So I started saying, "Easy, easy" over and over. It was more for me than the bear because I wanted to turn and run, but that is the worse thing you can do. The bear kept staring at me but as I was getting closer to the oppposite bank, he finally decided to turn and headed into the trees. When I hit the shore I did a quick step watching over my shoulder to make sure that the bear wasn't following and yelled at my husband. About this time he had seen my peculiar backward two-step and realized that there must be a bear. He never did see it, but he had started making his way toward me. Of course I let him know in no uncertain terms that he was suppose to stay by me because he had the bear spray and I could have been attacked and drug off by the bear and that my life had flashed before my eyes. His response...he had the whole thing under control. Yeah, right!

I think I have had enough bear encounters this summer. I don't need to see any more! Mom


  1. Double WOW'S!!
    Suggest ya get your own bear spray
    next time, if there is another next time.
    Hubby seems not to be on the bear list this year.

  2. You sound just like my a lecture from him.