Wednesday, October 5, 2011


While hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana this August, we saw these signs posted on most trails.  Do you see the small print?  "There is no guarantee of your safety while hiking or camping in bear country."  YIKES!
Did we see bears?  YES!  But thankfully not on trails near us.  Bears are very busy in the Summer eating and eating and eating in preparation for Winter.  Can you imagine how much vegetation a 300 pound bear must eat a day?  
The closest we came to a bear was a juvenile black bear on the side of the road.  Of course cars were stopped and cameras were clicking.  A park ranger, with help from bystanders, clapped hands and threw rocks to scare it away.
mother black bear with 2 cubs

Black bears (Ursus americanus) are North America's most common bear, typically living in forests. Despite their name, black bears can even be brown, cinnamon, or blonde.
Being opportunistic eaters, their diet consists mostly of grasses, roots, berries, nuts,and insects. They will also eat fish and small mammals.
Black bears historically ranged over most of the forested regions of North America, including all Canadian provinces, Alaska, all states in the contiguous United States, and significant portions of northern Mexico.  They are found only in heavily forested areas in the US now.  In Canada, black bears still inhabit most of their historic range except for the intensively farmed areas of the central plains.  In Mexico, there are only a few remnants.  It is estimated that there are about 600,000 black bears in North America.
 mother black bear
You will want to know if we saw grizzlies, and we did!  We saw 13 bears in all--most were very far away.  We saw a mother black bear and her 3 cubs about 70-100 yards away.  (photos above)  They were happily munching away on plants.  Black bears are easily scared away.  But don't be aggressive towards a grizzly!  When we were hiking in bear country we had to make nose almost continuously even when other people were not that far away.  No bears want to attack humans; you must let them know of your presence so they can move away.  And always carry bear (pepper) spray when in bear country!*
    black bear facts   
    North American Bear Center Den Cam  (Thanks,Sarah!)
      cub pausing while eating
    I'm participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Come and join in the fun!  You will be charmed and even enlightened in a delightful way!  See more entries HERE. This week our letter is "Y."  Y is for yellow--as in yellow sign!  and YIKES!

    There are better photos of bears on the internet, but these are mine! 
    photos by me © 2011 
    * I'm adding more information, because I can see from the comments that some people might actually be out in bear country.  First of all, I'd say educate yourself thoroughly.  Black bears and grizzlies behave differently when encountering humans.  There are lists (which I am not recounting here) of what one should do if one encounters a bear.  Keep the bears away in the first place!  Carry bear spray and know how to use it!  MAKE NOISE!!!  not those little bells that people attach to themselves.  Clap hands.  Call out "Hey Ho!" or "Hear Bear!"  LOUDLY!  Know that if you are going around a corner, or up hill, the bears may not have heard or smelled you.  They don't want to encounter you either!  Don't assume that because there are others not far away even on a well-traveled path, that the bears are staying away.  There are reports to the contrary.  Stay safe!  Educate yourself!  

    October 10:  linking up to Erika's It's a Wrap Party on Artful Rising.  Come on over and link up your favorite post from last week.


    1. Wow! Great pictures! ...Makes me wonder how powerful a lens you have on your camera, or how close you got to them!

    2. Fantastic. We don't have bears in the UK any more. Your photos are great; especially the cub :)

    3. Great photos! Aren't you lucky to have gotten to see them up close! The cubs are cute :)

    4. That is EXACTLY why I'm making my husband buy bear pepper spray-- he's got a camping bug up his butt. Thanks for the noise tip, I will pass it along. :)

    5. they are so adorable! It's great that the US has national parks so the bears can exist. Someone I work with took off this week, so he could go to his property in Eastern Oklahoma and hunt bears! It makes me so mad@@!!@@ {:-D

    6. Great ‘Y’ post especially as the name of my street is "Bear" Road (in Spanish!)

      Happy Alphabe-Thursday!

      Have a great weekend too & look forward to *seeing* you again next time,

      XOXO LOLA:)


    7. Wonderful photos -- you captured their expressions so well!

      I followed a "den cam" for a black bear named Lily which chronicled her from building her den through the time when she and her cub (Hope) parted ways. Now there's a new one for Lily and Hope together in a den with new cubs! Here's the link if you'd like to look:

      (I still say Y is for Yikes!) LOL!

    8. They are beautiful...but I don't think I'd want to come in close contact with any! Love your pictures!

    9. The cub is so cute! There did seem to be a lot of bear attacks this year. So sad.

    10. Wow, how exciting (though a little scary) to see bears so close! Thanks for all of the info about them.

    11. These are amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them with us, as well as the informative tidbits about bears.

    12. The cubs are very cute! I'd want to pet one! :) Yeah, I know, not a good idea. I keep saying I want to go to Glacier National Park and now I really do!

    13. They are so cute! I don't think I would want to be up close to one, but I admire them in pictures.

    14. How lucky you are to be visiting such a gorgeous area! Your photos are great! I love the last one. I think bears are pretty but I'm a nature lover anyway. On the otherhand, I prefer that the bears stay as far away from me as possible. :) Just bein' cautious. My husband and I want to visit Alaska someday. Thanks for stoppin' by aprons and old lace. As for freezing greens, you can freeze any greens the way I showed. Just make sure to write the name of which kind it is because they all start lookin' the same once you get 'em in the bags to freeze. Take care!

    15. Amazing photos, and when we went to Montana we saw grizzly bears but not near enough for photos thank goodness.
      Oh and those bells, lol- I've heard jokes about how they find those in bear scat!

    16. LOL The Desert Rocks!
      Some people call them "dinner bells!"

    17. Hello.
      What wonderful shots!
      If I had to choose, it would be the cub pausing while eating.

      It's great that you've added the extra information for those who like hiking (I'm a poet, being out in nature is way too adventurous for me). (lol)

      Thanks for sharing & visiting.

      Yesterday With You

    18. While traveling through the Smoky Mountains, we came upon a black bear just off the road. Several people had stopped to take photos, so we stopped, too. There was a stone wall between me and the bear, a juvenile. I started shooting photos and kept getting closer and closer. I was so fascinated by this creature! Then I became away of Rod, whispering my name in a LOUD whisper, "Judie! Get back! Get back! You're too close!" And I was. I could see the saliva on the bear's teeth. I backed away, and made it back to the car safely. I did get some great shots, though.

    19. I'm such a chicken about encountering wild animals and poisonous snakes, etc. Maybe that's why I miss out on seeing some fabulous sights! I'm glad you had a good hike, spotted bears, and weren't attacked! :0) Great info!

    20. Wow. Very brave. I have been to Banff and Seqouia and Kings Canyon. Saw bears in all of them and while I was awed and humbled was also frightened! Where there's a cuddly cub there's a ferocious mama! Very lovely pictures.

    21. I'm afeard of bears...a little bit.

      Sure they look cuddly and sweet but those teeth...and claws!

      This was really an informative (and interesting) link to the letter "y".

      Thanks for sharing it!

      And be careful!



    Your comments make my day! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!