Monday, July 13, 2020

Social distancing with bears

My favorite romance writer Kari Dell posted a link on Twitter to this:
WEST GLACIER- A Kalispell woman in her thirties was running on Huckleberry Lookout Trail when she collided what is believed to be a young grizzly bear.

A release from the Glacier National Park says the encounter happened on the morning of  Saturday, July 11 about four miles down Huckleberry Lookout Trail and was reported to dispatch around 9:00 am.

The woman was running with two other people and was the lead runner when she and the bear collided.

Both the woman and the bear tumbled together off the trail,

Clearly this writer does NOT know how to tell a good story because after this highlight, the narrative just continues blithely on.
and after they were separated, the bear ran off.

Rangers who checked the scene determined it was a surprise encounter with no further issues, and there are no other reports of the bear or additional encounters on the trail.

The trail has been posted by rangers for bear frequenting, but the trail is not closed

The woman sustained minor, non-life-threatening, injuries to her head and arm and was able to walk back down the trail with friends and meet rangers as they arrived at the trail head.

She was able to get herself to the Kalispell Regional Medical Center for further treatment and evaluation.

And again, a great missed opportunity.
What did she say when she presented herself at the ER?
Then again, this is Kalispell, maybe they see "lack of social distancing with bears" more often than we'd think.

Glacier National Park is reminding visitors that the park is home to black bears and grizzly bears, and that trail running in grizzly habitat is dangerous because runners traveling quickly and quietly through bear habitat have a higher risk of surprising grizzly bears at close range.

Trail running is discouraged by the park to protect the public and bears.

Those hiking in the park are encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking and to have bear speak accessible and know how to use it.

I googled "bear speak" cause who wouldn't but found nothing.
If anyone out there knows what bear speak is, please let us all know.

And of course, the great missing line in this story is: "The bear could not be reached for comment."


KMK said...

Oh, man! Why don't we have that in my newsroom this morning? I would crawl over broken glass to have that on my lineup...and I suspect that a fair number of our listeners would be grateful for a laugh right about now. And yes, you are SO right, the biggest missed opportunity is: no comment so far from the bear.

Laura said...

I’m guessing this story didn’t run in the Flathead Beacon Police Blotter. With items like, “The golfer on the sixth green at a local course turned out to be a black bear,” it’s one of my favorite newsfeed subscriptions.

Mister Furkles said...

Bear Speak is an attorney who represents the interests of bears in courts of law. Naturally the bear in question is suing the irresponsible runner, her companions, and the park service. The park service for failure to protect him, the bear not the lawyer, from irresponsible runners. The bears refuse to respond to inquires and refer all to their attorneys. Who make no comment as it may jeopardize legal proceedings.

Okay, so, that is just fiction.

There are noise devices which can cause a bear to move away. They do not work when you tackle a bear as happened in this story. Moral: in bear country, travel in groups but do not attempt to include wild bears in your group.

After many SCUBA dives, I've found sharks much easier to deal with. Not Literary Sharks, of course; they are the most dangerous.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Thank you for this fascinating way to wake up on a Monday morning!

Kitty said...

I think "bear speak" could be bear spray. How to Use Bear Spray (Properly)

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Good idea for a contest, don't you think? Take this incident and make it a story.

nightsmusic said...

This poor 'reporter' needs an imagination. This story could have been great with a little dry humor added in. And I love your line, The bear could not be reached for comment. Hah!

The Sleepy One said...

If bears see you--and think you don't see them--they'll bark at you. It's happened to me a couple of times in the backcountry.

The barking is actually a good sign since it means the bears don't want any trouble. It's also concerning to be hiking and have a black bear bark at you, but you can't actually see the bear. So it's a good idea to whistle and make noise for a while.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

What Kitty said... It's a typo. Bear spray.

I was bitten by a cougar cub when I was 16 y/o. His canine punctured an artery in my wrist and blood spurted 10 feet in the air. Fascinating. A parade of people kept walking by the ER room hoping to gawk at the mauled teenager, but alas, there was nothing to see.

Sarah said...

This is amazing!!!!

When I lived in Virginia, my family doctor broke his collarbone after he hit a black bear while mountain biking. If I remember correctly, the RNs in his office did a fantastic job of telling the story. Perhaps they should have written the article...

Kitty I assumed they meant bear spray, too.

The Sleepy One, my husband and I hiked in the Canadian Rockies last year and we definitely tried to make noise so that we didn't surprise any grizzlies. I suppose it must have worked because we never heard barking. What backcountry do you hike in?

John Davis Frain said...

I like the idea of bear speak waaaayyyy more than bear spray.

Bear speak reeks of certified courses and practicing in the forested hills and completing a Master Class with Bear Grylls. Bear spray, on the other hand, I can pick up for $5.99 at the camp store.

Also, I don't believe in typos, so that can't be the explanation.

Kitty said...

Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant had an encounter with a bear. Thank God for bear spray.

John Davis Frain said...

Oh, one other thing. Is anyone out there able to read "huckleberry" without a chuckle? Ever? I mean, come on.

Kelly said...

They could have meant bear spray. But bears do communicate through huffing, chuffing, and puffing type noises to let you know how they feel about you. And if you encounter a bear (depending on the type), there are things you should say/do to encourage the bear to skeedaddle. Like if I ever came too close to a black bear, I would raise my arms over my head and speak in a calm and polite voice telling the bear that I love them and I'm so grateful to meet them like this, but I really have to get going. Not such much though for polar bears or grizzlies.

Beth Carpenter said...

That would have been the greatest last line of all time!

Huckleberry lookout! Many,many years ago, hubby and I were camping in Montana. A neighbor in the campground asked if we were there to pick huckleberries, and when I confessed I'd never tasted a huckleberry she rushed inside her camper to return with a cup of gift berries for us. I'm still touched by her generosity, and yes, fresh huckleberries are the best fruit on earth. No wonder the bear was hanging in the area.

Irene Troy said...

I've spent much of my childhood in Montana and am very familiar with Glacier. It's an amazing place full of beauty, but also with bears and other wildlife (which helps make it such a great place). I've encountered bears on several occasions, but never tangled with one. The scariest encounter was a time I was hiking with a friend and we somehow managed to get between a young cub and its mother. My friend saw the cub, pointed it out to me and then I turned around to see the mother a few yards away on the other side of the trail. We stopped still and waited for mom to make a move. She never stood up (a good thing) and seemed unconcerned. Finally, she growled and the cub scampered around us and to her side. They then waddled off into the woods. Whew.

I think the "speak" was "spray" or maybe there is something you are supposed to say to a bear...wish I know what it was.

Dena Pawling said...

Kelly - “huffing, chuffing, and puffing noises” sent me right into Thomas the Tank Engine. I wonder if any of the engines ever encountered a bear?

Bear speak, aka how to talk to a bear

Brigid said...

Kelly, can you share more resources about talking to bears? We just moved to Eastern Washington and I feel deeply unprepared. Definitely can't reason with a cougar.

Meanwhile, the adventurous 3yo says she and her doll are gonna steal Papa's bear spray and go on a bear hunt and go in the cave and SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY.

...In retrospect, I regret buying Going on a Bear Hunt.

Kelly said...

Brigid, here is some excellent advice for dealing with bears:

Black bears are really just 'fraidy cats in bear suits. Grizzlies on the other paw ... well, they can be more confrontational and rather brutish. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Of course, what most people don't realize is that the WALRUS is the animal we should all be terrified of. When I was volunteering at a polar bear science center 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle I learned, "Walruses will kill you in ways you never imagined."

Emma said...

bwahaha! Oh my god. That just made my afternoon. I think my favorite line is THEY TUMBLED TOGETHER OFF THE TRAIL. There are just so many ways that can go, and minor injuries is not where my mind went.

Panda in Chief said...

Another case of bears behaving badly.

The reporter definitely did not have their whimsey hat on. I, on the other hand, will file this news under: capers for my cartoon grizzly bears, Frank and Mikey, to comment on during their next episode of Bear Talk.

Craig F said...

Hit and run, Alaskan style

The Noise In Space said...

Reminds me so much of "the President, while riding his bicycle on his vacation in Jackson Hole, came to a sudden arboreal stop" from The West Wing.

Missed opportunities abound!

Lennon Faris said...

Craig, did you mean a 'run and hit?'

Ah, reporters. I read some articles in the news and wonder how they got their job. Sometimes I can't even tell what the article is about. At least this one, if completely flat, is clear.

AJ Blythe said...

I can only imagine the bear recounting this tale later in the day: "One of those two-legged meals, you know, the ones that taste of chicken, tackled me. I wasn't even hunting (still full of salmon, now that's a meal). What's the woods coming to when innocent bears can't even walk off breakfast?"

AJ Blythe said...

Janet and Laura, thank you both for introducing me to the Flathead Beacon Police Blotter. My feed is now subscribed. I just meant to read a few to get an idea so I could write my FF entry, but it is too brilliant to just read a few. I've managed to spend far too long reading through the entries. Brilliant!

nightsmusic said...

Someone needs to tell me what the Blotter Feed is. I've tried everything and all I keep getting is the regular news stories. Help?

AJ Blythe said...

nightsmusic, you can find it here:

nightsmusic said...

AJ, thank you, but I used that and I get everything on the site. I was hoping just for the police blotter. :)