Bears, bears, bears

Well, we’ve had a few bear encounters on this trip. The first happened when we were biking up Washington Pass in the North Cascades. Kait was head-down pedaling her way up the mountain when I saw a black bear cross the road in front of her. I yelled, “BEAR!” Kait looked up, saw this big furry creature, and turned her bike around to briefly descend away from him. In all, rather uneventful.

The second encounter was more interactive. We were sleeping in a campground at Lolo Hot Springs. Kait had to get up in the middle of the night, which she did, and when she returned to the tents, she saw two round circles reflecting the light of her flashlight. She didn’t think too much of it until the two eyes moved up and down. She stood there, realizing the circles were staring at her. She slowly backed up and made her way back to the shower facility. The next morning, the lady staying in the trailer adjacent to the campground said she saw a bear–the same bear Kait encountered.

The third encounter happened last night. Kait and I have an agreement that if she senses trouble in the night (especially bear trouble), she blows her whistle, and I come to her tent with the bear spray. Well, about one in the morning, I heard Kait’s whistle blow. I quickly exited the tent and pointed my flashlight at the bushes up from my tent, because I heard something. I’m not sure what it was, but it was pretty big. I then went to Kait’s tent–she blew the whistle because she heard something grunting and panting and slamming the bear boxes (where our food was stored). Thank goodness it left us alone for the remainder of the evening.

I guess it’s part of biking in this part of the world. We wanted to get off the grid, and bears seem to be off the grid. I’m not sure why these bear encounters always happen to Kait; Sue thinks that they are her spirit animal. Could be.

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Our friends John and Mitch took this photo while hiking outside of Missoula a couple of days ago.
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The kind of bear I want to encounter.
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