Mt. Carr, NH Oct 8, 2011 - Bearly made it out alive / no joke

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  1. #1

    Mt. Carr, NH Oct 8, 2011 - Bearly made it out alive / no joke

    I barely made it out of this one.

    Beautiful fall day, west approach to Mt. Carr. Nice easy gradually incline. Having a great old time about two miles in. I come to the crest of a ridge, hear some rustling in the leaves to my left. I see the rear of a bear running away from me. That's OK. He then crawls up a tree about 20 feet away. Wait, it was a cub. Oh tihs. I then hear what I think is another cub bolting up a tree. I'm stopped on the forest road at this point. Within seconds, this big black momma bear jumps up onto the road above me about 10 yards from me. No exaggeration.

    Now, picture a triangle. The momma, cub and I are on each point of the triangle. I'm frozen. Then she starts to step toward me, growling. I have never been eye to eye with a bear the way I was today. Then a large ROAR! my First thought was, "oh tihs". Second thought "oh tihs" Third, well, get the idea.

    So here I am. In a place I tell people never to go: between mama and her cub. S... happens. I crested the hill and we startled each other. Mama didn't want me there and neither did I. It was the ONLY time in my years of hiking that I wished I had a firearm.

    I start looking at my options. Up the road, nada. mama is there. To my back, brush and deadfall. No way I could make quick time through that. Back down the road. Oh tihs. I have to go right past the cub. Oh tihs.

    Thoughts are racing through my mind. Well, I'd better be prepared to get mauled because she's a stepping towards me, growling. The little cubs have a good seat watch the unfortunate show. Oh joy. This whole thing wasn't more than 30-60 seconds, but it was a lifetime. The strength and the size of those shoulders and snout was my worst fear. She looked dead at me, eye-to eye. Nothing at all like those city zoo with one inch railings.

    Adrenalin was pumping high, but there was no time to get scared or do something panicky. It was clear standing there was not an option. So I began to side step back down the road in one foot steps. One, two three. She stops but is still staring into my eyes seemingly ready to lunge. Four five six. She's standing glaring mid road. I did not want to take my eyes off her. Not that I could have done anything. I stepped it up at about the 100 foot mark. The bear still staring. I finally went around a bend, but I didn't feel good about it.

    So I started to do something I'd never done. Hiking while checking my back side every couple of seconds. I checked to the left, to the right. You never know where she might pop out. I got about 1/4 mile away. Should have been enough distance? Not for me. I went another 1/4 in a time that felt like eternity.

    I was a jumpy mess. "I'm going straight home" I was thinking. I was so jittery. The rotten stumps that were dark black scared me. A chipmunk spooked me. The little toad startled me. I didn't stop a mile. Even then I was pretty nervous. Not scared, just spooked big time.

    It all feels like a dream. The only times before I've ever seen a bear, was it's rear end running away from me. I don't know if I'll sleep well tonight or have nightmares. Don't tell my wife, please!

    Last edited by billski; Oct 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM. Reason: Clarify content.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  2. #2
    Wow Bill, glad you made it out OK... I can't imagine a situation like that.
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  3. #3
    Wow, Bill. Thanks for sharing! Glad you were able to extract yourself without incident... that is unfortunate timing that you wandered between them just at that time.

    I've twice encountered bears while hiking. Once while hiking a ski trail. Came around a corner and there it was sunning itself on the open field. Instinct took over pretty quick, no panic, just slow deliberate steps backward up the hill without turning and avoiding eye contact. After I got up hill about 100 feet or so and well out of sight, then I was like "oh crap!" LOL

    S and I were hiking trails around Rattlesnake a few years back when we saw a cub go clawing up a tree 100 feet in front of us on the trail and momma taking a defensive posture. We backtracked, waited 15 minutes, and checked back and they were still there. We had to do a 3 mile detour but there was no other choice.

    Fun stuff!
    -Steve
    TheSnowWay.com "Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs

  4. #4
    This bear stuff makes Moose encounters look lame. Thanks for the thoughts. Interesting stories. I've only ever seen lone bears before and they were on the lam.

    I was thinking about all those tv shows with pictures of cubs up a tree and how cute they are. Well, they are up that tree for good reason; something not cool is going on below.

    The whole idea of making noise goes against my grain.

    Funny, I carry an air horn with me, but just as well I didn't have it within reach, it would have startled her and just made matters worse.

    I didn't know you should not make eye contact.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by billski View Post
    I didn't know you should not make eye contact.
    I think its more of not trying to make a challenging posture. I don't know for a fact if avoiding eye contact is helpful. I sure wouldn't want to be in a staring contest though!

    -Steve
    TheSnowWay.com "Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs

  6. #6
    This is simply freaking me out. It's exactly how she sounded.

    http://tinyurl.com/3uzu7n8


    I think this does a pretty good job of portraying what I faced at 10 yards. I'm not exaggerating at all.
    Last edited by billski; Oct 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  7. #7
    TheBEast's Avatar
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    I've had a couple close encounters in my neighborhood with a black mama bear. Not quite as close as you billski, but way too close for my comfort!!

  8. #8
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    I have not yet had this experience but I know it is scary as hell. I've only seen bear once and it was crossing the auto road @ mtw. From what I've read you did the right thing--back away slowly while facing the bear. If you show your back they will put chase as it is their instinct. I'm seriously thinking of getting bear spray from cabela's now that I'm out west and the bear are bigger!

  9. #9
    From what I understand, you can't use your ordinary pistol. You need some big honkin thing to take it down. It's highly discouraged as not only would we not be well-trained, but it could go off by accident
    at the wrong moment.

    I had dreams all night about that bear staring at me.

    The longer you bike/hike/ski/board, you increase the chances of these things happening. unfortunately.

    BTW, bear hunting season is Sept. 1st to Nov 22. Now, we were in the WMNF but surrounded by lots of private land. I can see how they would be on the move now.

    According to the WMNF there is one bear per square in the NF.

    I'm still going hiking.
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  10. #10
    Glad you made it out of there, Bill. I can't think of any way you could have done it better.

    Can anyone comment on what you're supposed to do in this sort of situation?

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