I’ve kept up my goal this month to go hiking every weekend. Among other places, I went to Marmot Pass, my first trip to the Olympic Peninsula; and a third trip to Mount Rainier this year, this time to Sunrise.
There were a few new experiences.
This wasn’t my first bear on a hike, but I’ve never been this close. I think we almost surprised each other, which can have disastrous consequences. I’m hiking alone, and that means I’m not talking, like many other groups.
The bear was on the trail from the White River Campground north to the path between Sunrise and Shadow Lake. It was next to the trail, right where the trail makes a sharp turn to the right. I noticed the bear first, I think, and kind of
said “holy shit”, because the bear was maybe 30 feet away. Then the bear noticed me and grunted, and ran
north. The bear stopped on the next part of the trail, and
that was the problem: When I came
around the corner, I had to get the bear to move off the path again.
So I just talked and coughed and made some noise, while slowly moving
closer. After maybe a minute, the bear got annoyed and ran south
again, to where I had seen it first.
The bear didn’t look too big, perhaps the size of a human crouching
down on all fours. When I think bears, I think grizzlies, I guess. But
that bear definitely had four-paw drive–it was so fast!