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(   National Park Service urges visitors not to push your slower overweight flat-footed friends down when running from bears in the forest just to save yourself   ( divider line
    More: Amusing, National Park Service, painful mouths of bears, Thumb, Friendship, better look, slower friends, Hunting, English-language films  
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2020-08-11 10:05:53 AM  

BubbaZinetti: We even practice getting it out and once we even went all the way to getting it out and deploying it so we could see how far it would spray. Bison and elk on the other hand, yikes, we have had far too many accidental encounters with them.  We like to fish, and more than once we have come around a bend, or a large willow only to find a bison less than a meter away from us.  We love going in the fall when the rut is on.  We know that elk or bison will fark you up..

What you and your wife do in the woods is your own business.
2020-08-11 10:07:07 AM  
nope, survival of the fittest.
I don't have to be the winner of the race but damned if I am going the one at the rear of the pack
2020-08-11 10:23:53 AM  

aungen: Unikitty: Buttknuckle: Tyrone Slothrop: Well, what's the point of having a fat friend, then?

You sound gay.

Um, might want to check your user name before calling people gay, buttmunch.

might have been fishing for a date.

Yeah, more of a really bad joke about how we gay men always have a fat chick as a hag.
2020-08-11 10:25:18 AM  

Pocket Ninja: That's the amateur approach anyway, one that stinks of last-minute desperation borne from a lack of planning. A far better approach is to engineer one last rest stop as you near the park. Make sure everybody gets out and leaves the vehicle -- rest room, grab a bit to eat, take a stretch walk, etc. While they're gone, you go into your backpack and take out the supplies you've carefully sequestered there -- a big jar of peanut butter, a big jar of honey, and lots of crackers. Prepare about six peanut butter and honey-coated cracker sandwiches for each of your friends' backpacks. You'll put five of those in a little plastic Ziplock bag to make it look like you were thoughtfully preparing a snack, but don't seal it up all the way. Then you'll take the sixth one and crumble it into the very bottom of the backpack. Throw away the extra peanut butter, honey, and crackers when you're finished. Now each one of your friends is a primed and baited distraction for any bear encounters, and you can walk the woods in comfort and security.'ve really thought this out...
2020-08-11 10:26:16 AM  

wage0048: Why would you waste the energy doing so? As long as you're faster than your slowest companion, you're fine.

Pushing them down puts them out of the race. If you triggered the prey response, bear will ignore them and chase you. You will lose, better to have tubby on their feet.
2020-08-11 10:27:45 AM  

g.fro: Well, what did I bring them for then?

Because they have a tender heart
2020-08-11 10:42:08 AM  
Corb Lund - "Grizzly Bear Blues" [Acoustic]
Youtube ORLlT0g9-oA
2020-08-11 11:13:36 AM  

Buttknuckle: aungen: Unikitty: Buttknuckle: Tyrone Slothrop: Well, what's the point of having a fat friend, then?

You sound gay.

Um, might want to check your user name before calling people gay, buttmunch.

might have been fishing for a date.

Yeah, more of a really bad joke about how we gay men always have a fat chick as a hag.

dammit.  I missed by a mile!
2020-08-11 11:35:00 AM Full Size
2020-08-11 11:36:58 AM  

aungen: Buttknuckle: aungen: Unikitty: Buttknuckle: Tyrone Slothrop: Well, what's the point of having a fat friend, then?

You sound gay.

Um, might want to check your user name before calling people gay, buttmunch.

might have been fishing for a date.

Yeah, more of a really bad joke about how we gay men always have a fat chick as a hag.

dammit.  I missed by a mile!

I did too
2020-08-11 11:43:24 AM  
I'm originally from a little two-tumbleweed town in MT about an hour due east of Glacier National Park, so I spent a lot of time growing up in and around the park, including working summers on trail crews during college, even after I had moved to MN permanently.

Around '97, a very cityfied friend of mine started bugging me relentlessly about going to Glacier. He'd never been to the mountains and he really wanted to go with me essentially as his unpaid "expert" guide. I thought that sounded like a fun, so we packed up and road tripped out to get into adventures.

When we first got to Glacier, I purposely started things slow with a leisurely stroll along the Trail of the Cedars with a segue to a slightly more difficult hike on to Avalanche Lake, just to get a feel for this greenhorn's adaptability to the outdoors. He passed the test just fine. He was almost drunk with Nature afterwards saying he was ready to hit the bigger and badder trails.

So, after camping out that night, we decided to hit the Grinnell Glacier trail the next day, which isn't a brutal hike, but at about 8 miles round-trip with about 2K' of elevation gain to about 7K' at the top, it's definitely much more strenuous and one that takes you through a significant stretch of grizzly country. In fact, here's the warning we saw at the trail head:

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The main way to avoiding bears is by simply letting them know you're in their living room by making a lot of noise. You just don't want to surprise them. Generally speaking, bears do not see you as edible and will usually just move away once they sense your presence. The main exception being if you encroach on their territory when they are with their cubs. We had bells on our packs, bear whistles, and we went out of our way to yell out a few "HEY, BEARS, HEY!" every once in a while. We didn't have bear spray.

The first low portion of the trail along the lake went fine and once we transitioned to the first stage rise (thigh burning 135' climb in 1/10th of a mile) everything was going great and, despite the rain, my friend was really showing a real knack for hiking with zero complaints. Due to the early hour and the weather, the trail was almost empty, which is rare.

We then hit the section with these absolutely beautiful alpine meadows surrounded by mountains. This is where we came upon another couple of hikers (turned out to be a husband and wife) stopped on the trail near the start of a switchback section. As we got closer they looked a little freaked out and started signaling to us to stop.

They told us that there was a bear up ahead on the trail and they were unsure what to do. They didn't want to turn back because, like us, the best part of the hike was still ahead - and getting to the glacier was our ultimate goal.

I suggested making some more noise and, since we were kind of tucked in behind a boulder, we could see the bear and watch it hopefully move away and, sure enough, after a few minutes, the bear sauntered off into the brush.

We waited another 20 minutes and after it appeared the coast was clear we restarted our hike with the couple joining us. The trail was very narrow at that location, with meadow to our right and sheer cliff to our left. For some reason, our single file order got messed up with the husband in the lead, then me, then my buddy and finally the wife.

We had only walked 100 yards maybe when I heard a snorting sound off to my immediate right, kind of like a pig noise, and as I turned to look, sitting there, only 15 feet away on a little flat outcropping, nestled among the huckleberries, was the grizzly. A very big one actually now that we were in a better position to judge. I could literally see the hair on its back stand up when it saw us.


I can't quite explain the primal sensations that overtake a person in these situations. Any soreness I had from the hike was instantly gone. Hearing, vision, smell, strength all went full Bionic Man. The adrenalin rush was absolutely insane. Even still, the guy in front of me and I simply acknowledged the bear's presence with a "Oh, hello there" glance, then averted our direct gaze so as not to challenge the animal, then turned slowly and calmly walked UP the trail and away from the bear.

My buddy and the woman? Well, they immediately turned in full panic mode and ran as fast as they could screaming DOWN the trail.

The bear then moved into a perfect spot right between the two groups on the switchback and sat down, effectively cutting us off from each other. It wasn't being aggressive, but it also didn't look like it was in a hurry to go anywhere.

Now what the hell were we to do?

The two separated groups were still within shouting distance, so once we all realized that we weren't necessarily going to be immediately mauled by a bear, we basically agreed that we were at the mercy of this bear leaving the immediate area, so we kept an eye on it from a reasonable distance and waited.

And waited.

Meanwhile, more hikers are coming up the trail and stopping where my friend and the wife are parked down the trail. They're explaining the situation to these people and the group agrees that waiting is the best approach.

Finally, the bear slowly moved up and away from both groups without a care in the world. Just then, from down below, I hear my buddy's bear whistle and from around the boulder here he comes like a marching band drum major tweeting on that whistle with about 25 people behind him walking up the trail. I turned to the husband and we both just busted up laughing. Our brave urban hero!

We were reunited and went on to finish the hike with no additional bear problems. Afterward, I asked my buddy why he had decided to run down the mountain, instead of following my lead.

"Well, I know this sounds crazy, but at that moment, I thought if the bear chased me, if I could just make it to the turn near the boulder, I could cut over at the last second and the bear would just slide past me and fall over the cliff," he said.

"Wait. Like Wile E. Coyote?!" I laughed.

"Right. Exactly," he said in all seriousness.

"And what about the woman? She was in front of you..." I pointed out.

"Well, luckily for her, she turned out to be much faster than me."

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