I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bear Cub has a Bad Day... and other Glacial thoughts.

updated 7/27/2010 8:06:22 PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio — TV host and zookeeper Jack Hanna says he took his own advice and used pepper spray on a grizzly bear headed toward him.
The Columbus Zoo keeper and frequent David Letterman guest said he was with his wife and other hikers in Montana's Glacier National Park on Saturday when a bear cub, weighing about 125 pounds, charged them. Hanna told The Columbus Dispatch that he held up a canister of pepper spray, which he takes routinely on hikes.
"At about 30 feet, I unload my pepper spray, and the wind takes it," he told the newspaper.
But the bear kept coming. Hanna sprayed toward the animal again, but still it kept coming.
"Then the third time I unload that pepper spray right in his face," Hanna said.
The bear turned around and fled.
Hanna said he's been carrying pepper spray on hikes for 15 years, but Saturday was the first time he's used it.
The group was returning from Grinnell Glacier by way of a narrow trail with a cliff on one side and a steep drop-off on the other. They rounded a corner and saw a mother bear and two large cubs about 30-feet away coming toward them, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
"We thought of letting them go by, but the trail was cut into the rock and was too narrow," Hanna said. "So I said, 'Everybody talk loud and we'll back up until we can get off the trail.'"
They moved slowly back up the trail to a clearing.
"I said, 'Crawl up the hill and put your backs against the wall,'" he said.
Then they stood still while the mother and one cub passed by. The other cub, instead, charged toward them.
Hanna had recently filmed a message for the National Park Service encouraging hikers to carry pepper spray. ~associated press story~

The bear CUB attacked them.... the bear CUB. Not the mom, but the baby.
This was only weeks before we drove into the park and if it could happen to Jack Hanna, it could happen to anyone. Obviously, the bear cub didn't know who this man was. Children have no respect for their elders these days.
So.... we decided that we would NOT be going on any long hikes with or without a guide, with or without other people. We also went into a store in Apgar Village, at the west entrance, and these spray cans of what they call Bear Spray were $50.00 a can and it's recommended that you take two of them with you. That was the clincher.
The problem is that something happens to you when you get into this park. I think it's some kind of hypnosis. All of sudden you see this....

...and this.

You forget everything else that made sense before you drove into the park. This is a magical place. The view sweeps you into another world. Lake McDonald's Rorschach like reflections ink-blot impressions on your emotions that eliminate any reservations you had about not being safe.

You stand on the edge of astounding beauty and the Grizzly bear becomes one small part of the wilderness before you. The Black Bear, Elk, Mountain Goats and the Bighorn Sheep exist only as a part of the whole and therefore seem far less ominous.

This is the first psychological test that greets you as you step onto the edge of this great preserve. It is a deceptive loveliness that takes away your safety net and makes you vulnerable.
Standing on the edge of this lake I think I could hear the earth breathing....
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  1. What beautiful photos. I have been to Glacier
    National Park in the spring time some years back. There was snow on the ground and some of the roads were closed. What we did see was beautiful. No bears thank goodness. I am so
    glad you had a good time. Have a blessed day.

  2. I've never been there. Your photos are awesome! Hypnotic? Indeed!

  3. Oooh, that last sentence is beautiful. I have an uncle in MT and am ashamed to say I've never been out there to visit. I'm so glad nothing happened to Jack Hannah -- I like him a lot. Be safe!

    I had to edit to say that my word scramble to post this was "peril" -- I kid you not. Be careful!

  4. Having visited many places, one of my regrets is not visiting the upper left corner of the U.S., specifically Montana & Wyoming. What a gorgeous place! A bear could come up and whisper in my hear and I wouldn't hear him say "gotcha"...mesmerizing.

    $50 is ludicrous!! Of course, being the novice I am...I'd probably buy 3.

  5. To be honest I have always felt that 'bear' spray is the last thing I would want to use on a bear or ANYTHING for that matter. We are in their homes. If things go sideways, well I guess thats the chance you take. We have many bears around here and I try to learn what not to do. By the way, the scenery is breathtaking!!

  6. First and foremost: Your photos (as usual) are FANTASTIC!!
    Second: Hanna told the newspaper, "At about 30 feet, I unload my pepper spray, and the wind takes it.," Well, that’s just swell as long as you’re not downwind!!
    I think the bear behaved appropriately under the circumstances and I’m so sorry that he had to suffer the pepper spray ordeal. I know what it’s like, I got sprayed once, myself!
    $50 for bear spray!!?? WHAT A RIP-OFF! Info for anyone considering a hike where they might encounter bears: You can buy the same size pepper spray all over the internet for about ½ that price.
    And remember, always go hiking with at least one other person. If the spray doesn’t work, go ahead and run----you don’t have to outrun the bear; just one other member of the group!!!
    ~ Dawn

  7. I have no real awareness of the dangers of bears. I'm sure I'd totally forget about them if I ever entered an area as beautiful as what your photos show.


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