Monday, July 25, 2016

Fellow Travelers: Part One

We spent last week Shenandoah National Park, where temperatures were hot, but bearable (no pun intended). We set up camp by late afternoon. As I relaxed with Toby in the campsite a tall, elegant doe strolled casually down the road.  

Other humans were rarely encountered on the trails, but we were discovering that we weren't alone. The inhabitants of the forest were all around us and on the move. 

As I dawdled behind him on a shady stretch, Ted spotted movement beside him and to his right. He scrambled backwards, shouting, "A BEAR! A BEAR!"

Toby sits quietly like this to observe the bears.

Sure enough, a young bear was contentedly munching the ripening raspberries. I fumbled for my camera, all thumbs with excitement.

He ambled up onto the trail just a few yards from us. When he glanced our way the three of us stared back, awestruck. Unhurried and not too interested, the little bear walked down the trail away from us. 

Bears walk surprisingly quietly through the forest. 

He mosied up the hill, pausing every few steps to gently pluck more berries. 

A few hours later a much larger mother bear with a little cub emerged from behind a log about 30 feet in front of us. We froze. She gave us two hard,  long stares. Finally she crossed the trail and climbed the ridge with the cub following. They were enjoying the raspberries too. We watched the little family until they were out of sight but didn't try to get closer for a photo. 

Ripening raspberries along the trail make for close encounters with bears.
For the rest of the hike I expected to see a bear around every curve! It was an amazing experience to see these healthy animals foraging in the wild.

Next post: Non-mammalian fellow travelers on the  trail.


  1. That is an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Toby you are so very brave...that was a most handsome young bear. What keeps them from visiting your camp site?
    Hugs madi and mom

    1. Absolutely nothing. In fact Ted was taking Toby for his early-morning walk one day and bumped into one emerging into a different campsite. He looked at Ted, peered around, and walked back into the forest!

  3. OMD Toby, you got to see a real live BEAR in the furs!!!!! How cool is that!?!
    I do bark at them on the TeeVees but I don't finks I would be brave enuffs to do it in the furs
    What a pawsome holiday trip
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  4. OMG I would have been terrified to see a bear!!! Beautiful photos!! DakotasDen

  5. What a great (and exciting!) experience!!

  6. Oh my! I don't know if we would be that brave seeing bears on the trail. Great photos! So glad you had fun!

  7. Oh wow, what an amazing experience!

  8. what a cute bear! i love the pics

  9. that is fantastic and terrifying at the same time! you are braver than me. i would have packed up and left immediately.
    wags, bailey unleashed


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