26 responses

  1. Jeremy Branham
    July 7, 2011

    Bears are fascinating but scary creatures. I do have a fear of them and we have our share in California, especially near Tahoe. Thankfully, we don’t have grizzlies but lots of black bears and some with cubs. Just don’t want to cross a bear and there have been many break ins in Tahoe in the last year. It’s quite scary how powerful these animals are.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      I don’t want to cross a bear either! I’d be happy to see one from a safe distance… like inside of a car, with windows closed!

      Reply

  2. Ciki
    July 7, 2011

    LOL, hey I could have sworn I read this post before.. in your old blog! The last photo really rings a bell!! so cute.. u tell a great story woman.. made me terrified of bears! Glad u lived to tell the tale yo;)

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      Haha, yes, this was a familiar post 🙂 I hope it didn’t make you scared of bears… it’s supposed to convey that you shouldn’t panic because I managed to survive. Oh well!

      Reply

  3. Traveling Ted
    July 7, 2011

    To make matters more confusing sometimes it is suggested that you fight back. If a bear is attacking you because of cubs then that is when you should play dead. Once the bear realizes you are not a threat it will most likely leave you alone. Hopefully, you are not dead before this realization is made. However, if a bear is attacking you because they see you as a food source, then by playing dead you are just making it easy on them to eat you. Fortunately, most bears do not see humans as a food source.

    Black bears so rarely attack that it is not really a worry. A human has a much better chance of fighting off a black bear attack if they do. With a grizzly there is really no chance if they are determined to kill.

    In this case the two people surprised the grizzly bear and the cubs. This probably means they were not making enough noise. Experience hikers suggest wearing bells when in grizzly country. If mama bears hear you they will vacate the area.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      Great points, Ted. I find the rules for the different types of bears confusing. I’m not sure in the heat of the moment, I would remember whether to run or curl up in a ball. In the attack last year outside of Yellowstone, the mother bear was actually stalking campers as prey (and she ended up being euthanized). Seems like the bears don’t always act as you might expect!

      Reply

      • Traveling Ted
        July 11, 2011

        I agree. The natural instinct is to fight. To make things even more confusing, I have heard of people fighting off grizzlys and surviving, so I think it just comes down to luck.

        Reply

      • Leslie Koch
        July 11, 2011

        Exactly! And you also hear about people who did everything right and get attacked by a rogue bear. You never know…

        Reply

  4. Bicultural Mama
    July 7, 2011

    Your hand written note was hilarious! Thanks for sharing the tips.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked it 🙂

      Reply

    • Lauren
      July 8, 2011

      Haha, I loved the note too!

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      • Leslie Koch
        July 8, 2011

        Of course you liked the note– I agreed to give you all of my belongings! 🙂

        Reply

  5. Nomadic Samuel
    July 8, 2011

    Leslie, I grew up in a small town on Vancouver Island, Canada. The threat of attacks from black bears & cougars was real. An elementary student was nearly fatally attacked while walking to school by a cougar back in the early 90’s. At the start of each school term we used to receive an information session about what to do when encountering wild animals.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      Wow- I can’t even imagine. Did you ever encounter a bear or cougar yourself?

      Reply

  6. Si @ thedepartureboard
    July 8, 2011

    I remember one year ski-ing in Lake Louise my wife and I took a walk outside the bear fence into the wilderness. She spent the whole walk petrified about coming across a bear. I explained they were in hibernation still but the whole experience left her with an uneasy feeling. She now checks the information regarding bears wherever we go! Even in Europe.

    Great post, Si @thedepartureboard

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 8, 2011

      Si, your wife and I have a lot in common! I’m pretty sure my husband actually wanted to see a bear– he seemed excited by the Bear Country signs, in contrast to my fear…

      Reply

  7. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    July 8, 2011

    So funny… I felt the same way after just visiting Yellowstone a week ago. I was really glad we didn’t have any bear encounters, but after I got home I was like.. “Why couldn’t I have just seen one crossing the road while we were driving?” 🙂

    Scott and I would do the same thing and talk really loud or sing when we were in an area with no other people around. We were probably paranoid, but I would rather be safe and look like an idiot!

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 11, 2011

      Agreed– it’s better to look stupid shouting than get mauled by a bear. No contest!

      Reply

  8. santafetraveler
    July 11, 2011

    I once interviewed a woman whose husband got scalped by a grizzly on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in the late 1940s. It made news all over the US. She was saved from attack by their small dog Boots. Quite a story.

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 11, 2011

      wow, sounds like a close encounter! Did her husband survive?

      Reply

  9. Michael
    July 13, 2011

    I did read somewhere it is advisable to hike in groups in bear country and to make as much noise to alert any bear of your presence. I’ve not hiked trails where dangerous animals lurk. That’s the advantage of hiking in Europe, most particularly in Germany.

    Reply

  10. Kris Koeller
    July 13, 2011

    We were in Yosemite last weekend and the Rangers were on full alert, rabidly enforcing bear and food storage rules. They were citing people right and left…

    Reply

  11. Emily
    July 17, 2011

    That’s a bummer that you didn’t have any bear sightings, but wonderful that you got out alive 🙂 I used to go hiking in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains every summer, and there are also tons of bears there. I never had a run-in with one, though I know a few people who have seen them there. I agree that some of the advice on what to do is so conflicting. The other day I read something that said play dead…but then some say stand your ground. So confusing.

    Reply

  12. Sailor
    July 22, 2011

    You have some fantastic pictures to share with us. I like the last picture with the close encounter 🙂

    Reply

    • Leslie Koch
      July 24, 2011

      Thanks! Fortunately, that was the closest I came to a Grizzly during my stay 🙂

      Reply

  13. Charu
    August 5, 2011

    I am cracking up on how you wrote a will and handed it to Jake!! You are so funny. you know my brother in law hunts bears? He even has a stuffed baby bear in his living room! A BABY BEAR.

    Reply

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