I paid scant attention, as my auntie is more cautious than most people, and besides, I hadn't seen the news accounts of the bear attacks and for some reason, I brushed the information aside as I packed my hiking shoes. Then we got to the park and around every corner we were confronted by GREAT BIG BEAR WARNINGS.The photo above is the cover of a brochure distributed at all the entries to Glacier NP. You probably can't see on this reproduction, but this bear has BLOOD around its ferocious human-devouring mouth! And this is just the beginning. The national parks have a major fear campaign going on, and I must admit, it worked on me.
We went first to the Many Glaciers area on the east side of the park to pursue hikes recommended by Glacier-Park-frequenting friends. However, about half the trails, including the major ones, were closed due to BEAR DANGER. This danger, we were told, was because not only had bears been seen on or near the closed trails during recent park ranger sweeps, but bears had actually charged people. We were congregated in a ranger station with numerous other would-be hikers when we got this news, and I asked: Which area would we be least likely to encounter bears? The ranger, accustomed to clueless tourists and their stupid questions, responded, "All the trails have been closed due to bears at some time this year. There's no guarantee." In other words, around any corner of any trail, we could run into the very bear depicted on the brochure—a vicious tourist-charging blood-stained bear just itching to crush neck bones.
|We discovered that this warning was at all trailheads.|
I had the same concern, but PK didn't share it. He thought that a bear attack would be slow in coming and he could figure out how to take the safety from the spray can and shoot the bear in the snout. Self confidence is a good quality in a man, and I think he could figure it out. But I don't believe bears are leisurely in their approach to charging. It didn't seem like a good time to argue, however, and PK carried the bear spray.
photo album and more about our almost-saw-a-bear-and weren't-very-scared experience follows.