We took a week and went to southern Oregon, partly to see Henry V at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and partly to camp a bit in the Cascades. We stayed in a camp on Lake Odell, a beautiful place. On the second day, we took a hike up towards another lake. Now, in Alaska, bears were a given. You had to be careful where you hiked, and it was usually advisable to carry at least a loud noisemaker, if not a firearm. Grizzlies are nothing to fuck around with. When we left there, my wife the orsophobe breathed a large sigh of relief.
So we’re hiking along and stopped to take a photo and drink some water. I always keep a sharp lookout when in the woods, whereas she is more the type to gaze at scenery with a beatific smile on her face. I also have a real knack for spotting movement. As we started forward again, I caught a brief glimpse up-slope from the trail of something black moving uphill through the brush. I stopped my wife and said: “pretty sure I just saw a critter of some type.”
We walked on, slowly, while I kept scanning up-slope, expecting to maybe see a deer, or flush a large crow. Suddenly, there’s a crashing noise to my right, on the down-slope side, and I see the ass-end of a black bear charging downhill in an absolute panic. When he got near the creek, he bolted up a tree, which is often cub behavior. My wife says “do we go back?” Hell yeah, since the movement I saw was UP-slope and this yearling-sized guy was DOWN-slope from us. Blackies are usually shy, but no mama bear is going to give ground when a cub is involved.
Time to replace the batteries in the noisemakers.