A Wild Bear is a Wonderful Thing to See

My wife, two friends and I just returned from a week long backpack trip out of Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. It was a great trip with many image making opportunities. However, the  pinnacle  of the trip had to be my brief interaction with a black bear.

Our goal on that day was to climb Black Rock Pass, then on to Little Five Lakes.  We did the first 1500 ft of the climb the day before, camping at Pinto Lake. Leaving about 3000 feet to go we decided to start the climb early.  The good thing about this were the photo opportunities in the early morning, which I took advantage of.  Doing so, I separated from the the rest of the group early on.  Walking up the trail I noticed something black ducking down behind some brush downslope and to my right.  A few seconds later a young deer spirited out the brush with a black bear in hot pursuit. They continued downslope and out of sight. I though this was the end of it but another thirty seconds or so late the deer ran up trail of me moving from right to left across the trail with the bear still in pursuit. The deer was yipping but the bear was losing interest and slowed. At this point he (or she) was about 20-30 feet from me upslope.  The bear stopped and made eye contact with me. It seemed like minutes though I’m sure it was only 10 seconds or so that we stared at each other. The bear then ducked down behind some shrubs and disappeared. I walk slowly up the trail hoping to see the bear again but he was gone. I have no idea which direction he went. It amazed me how quiet they are, even running at full speed.  A wild bear is a wonderful thing to see!

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