Home / Raffles and Polls / Reader Poll: What’s Your Most Memorable Wildlife Encounter?

Reader Poll: What’s Your Most Memorable Wildlife Encounter?

A Moose near the Wild River
A Moose near the Wild River

Describe Your Most Memorable Wildlife Encounter

Leave a comment below describing your most memorable encounter wildlife encounter on a day hike or backpacking trip.


  1. I had a few run-ins with bears and moose while hiking/camping, but my most memorable wildlife experience was camping with my family as a teenager. I had saved up my money from babysitting to buy myself a hammock and I was determined to use it on our family camping trip, I think Pawtuckaway it was that year. I tied it off and settled into my sleeping bag liner for the night despite the suggestions from my family that I might be better off in one of the tents with my brother. But I was getting close to nature, swinging beneath the trees, on my very own hammock, under the stars and free. So, I settled in for the night. A night full of mosquitos and black flies. Too proud to flee to the tent, I spent the night being eaten alive. I had too many bites to count the next morning, mostly on my face which, combined with my acne, made a very attractive combination. I never slept outside in the hammock again.

  2. Many years ago I was camping in the osceola national forrest in a new hennessey hammock with the rain fly over it. In the middle of the night there was a loud noise of something crashing through the palmetto. it sounded enormous and a little scary. I felt very exposed in the hammock compared to a tent. I finally got my legs out through the hole in the bottom and shined a flashlight around. I found a smallish armadillo, not paying any attention at all to me or my light, walking through the palmetto around my campsite making a very large sound. It seems pretty funny today :-).

  3. AuntieCoosa/OneMore Carol

    My most memorable wildlife encounter happened the time I was sleeping in my tent on the Coosa BackCountry Trail in North Georgia. At the half-way point of the 13 mile trail, I set up my tent on an old Forest Service Road next to the trail. When I looked for a place to hang a bear-bag, I could not find a tree with branches low enough for me toss a rope, so I decided to put my food inside three black plastic bags and put it inside my tent. I knew I was in Black Bear Territory and I hoped nothing untoward would happen. I climbed inside my sleeping bag and fell into a worried sleep.

    At approximately 3 AM, something outside the tent poked a nose into my back and woke me up with a start. My only thought was …. BEAR! I sat up quickly expecting the worst and waited ….. nothing happened. My breathing was shallow and my bladder responded with a need to empty. And I knew there was a BEAR outside my tent, just waiting to get inside. I decided the better part of valor was NOT to go outside but to wait until daylight. I laid back down and tried to go to sleep. If you’ve ever tried to fall asleep with a full bladder, you know how difficult that can be.

    I finally dozed off but my full bladder woke me up again and I knew I had to take care of it. I sat up and listened for any noises outside the tent and heard nothing. I flicked on my headlamp and slowly unzipped my tent door and peered out into the darkness. THEN my headlamp went out! It was pitch dark, I had to go empty my bladder, and I was in Black Bear Territory with a bag of food inside my tent!

    My bladder won. In the darkness, I dashed outside my tent about 25 yards down-hill, emptied my bladder and made a mad dash straight back up the old Forest Service Road and dove into my tent, breathlessly zipping the door closed and waited ………..

    I fell asleep again and at around 6:30 AM, I woke up, thankful that the bear who’d nosed me awake from outside my tent had left without tearing up my tent and getting to my food. I unzipped the tent door and walked around the outside of my tent to look for the Black Bear Paw Prints I knew I’d find …….. And THERE, right next to the tent, under the tent fly was one paw print in the dirt ………. a little baby paw print …… a little baby RACCOON paw print.

    And THAT is my most memorable wildlife encounter while on a backpacking trip.

  4. I haven’t had many encounters on the trails but have had a few on the way to trails. They went fine for me but not so much for the animal or my car.

    Years ago was driving through Jefferson, NH. Was going about 5 MPH in a bad snowstorm when I saw a dark shadowy thing to the left – I slowed down even more and moved to the right. BAM! The moose must have gotten startled and then disoriented because it ran away and then turned and ran into my driver’s side door. Hit the truck so hard spun me around about a 1/4 turn. Couldn’t see where he went but knew he was hurt in the crash. Drove about 30 minutes until I could get a signal to call the police – they had me drive back and met them so we could try to find him so he didn’t run out and cause another crash. Found him against a fence that prevented him from getting into the woods. The officer then asked me if I wanted the meat. WHAT? He had to shoot the moose and under NH rules the person who hit the moose has first call on the meat – he even had a list of local butchers who would help me for a small percentage of the meat. I said no thank you and asked him to wait until I was gone to shoot him, felt bad enough about the crash, I didn’t want to be there for the execution. He said OK. When I asked him what he would do after he shot it he said he would get the “road kill list” and call the first person on it to come claim the meat.

  5. I think my most memorable was on a day hike in Glacier over a quarter century ago.I’d planned on taking the Highline Trail from Logan Pass to the Granite Park Chalet, over Swiftcurrent Pass and down to Many Glacier. My wife and daughter dropped me off and drove around to pick me up on the other side. After I passed Haystack Butte, I saw multiple lines of thunderstorms moving in. Due to poor preparation, I didn’t have an early start, rain gear or a flashlight in case I came out in the dark and decided to turn around and head back (the first smart decision I’d made that day), which would also mean I’d need to thumb a ride forty five miles to Many Glacier. Mad at myself and dejected, I plodded back to Logan with my head down, consumed in my self inflicted misery. I heard a snort, looked up, and found myself in the middle of a herd of about twenty mountain goats, with a large and grumpy male pawing the middle of the trail, eyeing me with suspicion. I stopped and slowly pulled my camera up to get numerous shots of the herd, the kids bouncing, playing and cavorting off the rocks. My mood quickly transformed from glum to awe and wonder as I stood there transfixed for close to a half hour.

    A year or two later, my father, brother, brother in law, and I made that hike. Turning back when I did the previous time was definitely the wise thing to do.

  6. My most memorable wildlife experience was while hiking up Three Fingers. Conditions werent the best, so we decided to wait another day before summitting. Another hiker talked with us for a bit and decided to see how far he could make it. While admiring the mountains beauty, this black object began barrelling down the western face. At first we were silent in shock thinking it was the hiker tumbling to his death. Instead it was a black bear at full sprint traveling down steep terrain. The bear exited the glacier and traversed across rocky slopes with such ease. Hours later, the hiker returned for more whiskey and we swapped stories. He told us he came around a corner, spooked the bear, and watched it take off.

    More recently, i awoke pre-sunrise to find elk grazing in the field around me. Watched them for the next 40 minutes as the sun started to rise in the sky.

  7. My best wildlife encounter was during a Scouts canoe trip with my two sons and the rest of our Scout Troop on the Bowron Lakes circuit in British Columbia. Having stopped for the day at an old cabin at the end of Bowron River several boys decided to explore up river and took two canoes upstream. There was a bit of a mounded bank separating the river from the marshy area and the boys were paddling slowly along the bank trying to see over it. As one boy half rose to peer over, a large momma Moose popped her head up on the other side! That poor kid jumped a mile high but, surprisingly, didn’t take a dunking! That became a 1st Central Surrey Troop legend!

  8. Despite spending a lot of time outside I seem to avoid, other than many sighting, wildlife encounters. When hiking the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, while in Boy Scouts years ago a herd of wild horses ran through our camp site trampling a few unoccupied tents.

  9. My most memorable wildlife encounter was this summer on a solo hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. In northern Minnesota there are black bear, mountain lions, moose, and other semi dangerous animals in the woods but what did I get attacked by?….a quail. I was hiking along the trail when this bird jumped out in front of me; it was huge, at least 5ft tall :) It had its wings out and was hissing at me. I thought, “Well that’s weird,” and then it came at me. I hit it with my trekking poles and watched it tumble down the path behind me still not quite sure of what to make of this little, I mean BIG bird. The quail got back up, hissed at me again and started coming at me. So, I did what any grown man would do in that situation…I tucked my tail and ran down the path like a little girl! The thing chased me for a good 20 yards before letting me be. I finished off the trip without any other major animal encounters, aside from some deer and smaller less aggressive animals.

  10. My most memorable wildlife encounter was when i was hiking along a cut line in northern BC. i heard some snapping and cracking coming from the side of the trail. i look over as a black bear moved onto the cut line next to me. He began to eat the blueberry’s that were around and did not even notice i was there. i sat and watched him for a bit then continued on eating blueberry’s as i went .

  11. During my first season as a Ridgerunner for the Appalachian Mountain Club I used a Hennessy Hammock exclusively. On one particular night while I was drifting away to sleepy town and enjoying the warm summer breeze on a Berkshire mountain side I heard some very light tip-tapping underneath me. I rolled over and in the dusk light saw a fox sniffing the ground and just being all around adorable. It did not seem to mind me or my hammock swinging above it and for nearly half an hour it zig-zagged and pitter-pattered lightly back and forth hunting and foraging. The sound of its delicate steps faded in and out of ear shot. It was a very cool experience watching the fox do it’s thing while I swayed in the wind only a few feet above it. It had a dream like quality to it. Foxes are every bit as cute as they are portrayed in the cartoons.

  12. I was coming down from a successful summit of Mt. Yale in Colorado when I spied an incredibly chubby marmot. It had spied a dog a little lower down on the trail and was standing on its hind legs, evidently on high alert for itself and its burrow, under a nearby rock.

  13. Hiking in the Mineral King area and camping near a small meadow along the Timber Gap Creek I had a memorable wildlife encounter. This spot had a large population of deer and some would meander into our campsite without much regard for us even being there. We were having to chase them away from our packs as they were trying to get into them and would chew on the straps. One was particularly bold, especially at dinner time. He would come right up to us to see if he could get some of what we were eating. Since it was amusing we did not chase him off right away. After dinner my buddy had turned his back for a moment on a pot and utinsils that had not yet been cleaned and when he looked around that deer was into that pot. The deer picked up a spoon out of the pot. When my friend went to get the spoon away from the deer it went running with the spoon still in it’s mouth. It was a memorable sight to watch them chasing in full circles till the deer finally gave up the spoon.

  14. We walked up on a baby elk and its mother. We stood there real still so not to scare them.

  15. While we have lots of memorable animal encounters on canoe trips (tonnes of loons, some moose, otters, beavers, a bald eagle, snapping turtles, etc), here is one of the most recent and most memorable stories we have from backpacking:

    My wife and I were hiking in to our site in Frontenac Park in Ontario late last October. It was a chilly day (5-10C/40-50F), threatening rain and it felt like we had the park to ourselves. The trail were on was pretty twisty and undulating, when we came around a corner and face to face with 2 young deer 30-40 feet away. They stared at us… we stared at them… I slowly got the camera out and snapped a couple of shots and after almost 5 minutes, we were getting a little antsy to move along, but they were pretty standing on the trail ahead. So we waited a bit more. Eventually, they strolled off the trail, up the knoll and disappeared into the woods. It always amazes how camouflaged deer and moose are – in a couple of the photos where they are wandering off… they practically disappear. Pretty special that they didn’t just charge off immediately.

    Some great stories posted – thanks all!

  16. Once I was walking down a trail, completely zoned out, and I saw a snake in the middle of the trail and I screamed like a 5 year old. I looked at it and realized it was dead, so I got a little sad. I quickly realized that other people might have heard me, so I was really embarrassed and spent a little while waiting to make sure nobody was on the trail behind me.

  17. I actually think that my favorite encounter involved two insects– a wasp and cicada. I was hiking in the grayson higlands in Virginia and I witnessed a wasp attack a cicada and begin laying eggs inside of it. The eggs would later hatch and the larvae would eat their way out of the cicada while it is still alive. It was very gruesome but fascinating.

  18. I was doing a short, one night, backpacking trip in central Pennsylvania to break up the drive from Philadelphia to Cleveland, and simply hiked to a small campsite 3.5 miles from the road to spend the night. One reason I chose this spot was because it was located next to a remote fishing stream, so after I set up camp I threw my line in the water and quietly set down next to the water’s edge.

    After about 15 minutes, a porcupine nearly the size of an average dog sauntered along the stream where I was sitting. Neither of us noticed each other until we were about 5 feet apart from each other, and I’m not sure who was more scared when we finally did see each other, him or me.

    A few moments after the porcupine scurried back into the woods, dinner hooked itself on my line!


  19. I’d say a longstanding encounter with a family of skunks. They came with the other animals of the wildland-urban interface to eat the birdseed dropped beneath the feeder, and then they set up housekeeping under the floor of the old barn we call home. My partner, Patrick, and I kept meeting them, out and about in the evening. “Hi there, sweetie-pie. Nice little skunky,” we’d coo, and move slowly past them. For twelve years, they cycled through generations, until either the last one was run over on the highway or the yellow-bellied marmots and raccoons usurped their quarters in the cozy corner below the woodstove. We learned more about skunk lifestyles than we bargained for, more than wildlife biologists knew.
    Mating involved snarling and screeching and what sounded like nasty fights, always topped off with heavy-duty erotic squirting that seeped upward into our living area with a toxicity that gagged. For the first fifteen minutes each time, we’d wish we had gas masks. And although we never, in all those years, came directly into the line of fire, our clothes smelled for hours as though we had. No one could stand us during mating season, either in town at social events or coming to our door. But in ten minutes or so, a nose will become accustomed to the lingering ambiance, and so it would no longer bother “us.” The fun part was poking our heads out the windows and watching as many as six babies just below playing like kittens in the tall grass. Among themselves, they wrestled and stomped their feet and practiced raising their tails and backing up to each other. All the while the family roomed beneath us, the barn stayed free of spiders and other creepy-crawlies, and the cats always got on well with them. In spite of the obvious drawbacks, the skunks offered plenty of entertainment, and we came to love them.

  20. Last year there was a government shutdown in july and my wife and I decided to capitalize on the lack of tourists normally seen at Itasca State park. There was hardly anyone there except for the park rangers and a handful of people who rented cabins for the summer. We carried in plenty of water but were surprised to find a water fountain still plugged in and operating. We saw deer in the largest, most public picnic area. On the trails we spotted a grouse with her chicks, a baby porcupine and nearly got sprayed by a couple of skunks on our way back. We spent the entire day there and took a swim before we headed home. I guess it was nothing truly spectacular but it was one of the most peaceful hiking trips i’ve ever been on and I still wish the gov would shut down for a bit again :)

  21. I was on a spring time dayhike in a conservation area. While bushwacking from one ridge to the next I stopped to catch my breath. I was leaning against a tree and heard something coming. I froze and waited to see what was headed toward me. It was a group of four whitetail bucks with their antlers in velvet. The first three walked within arms reach and never noticed me. The fourth was about to do the same but at the last second he looked me right in the eyes then turned back to the trail and continued on. I waited till they were well past me until I continued up the hill.

  22. Back when I Was hiking the Golan Trail in 2007 we spent our first night in a small grove by a road.
    After pitching our tents and starting a fire, we started hearing noises coming from the bushes just outside the circle of light. It sounded like something BIG, and we were only 4 hikers alone in the woods. After several tense moments we picked up our stuff and moved out of the grove, to camp just by the paved road. I was so glad our tents were free standing…
    The noises were probably made by a big boar who came snooping around. People told me later that boars won’t attack hikers with no reason, and that it was probably more afraid of us than we were of it, but it was quite scary anyway, and I don’t think I would have done anything differently had I known this fact back then – moving away from this noisy boar was the right decision.

  23. My most memorable wildlife encounter was last year when I startled a black bear sleeping under a downed tree. He did not hear me as it just started to rain, nor did I see him in the underbrush. He jumped up about 25 feet away as the noise from putting on my rain gear awoke him. As quick as he appeared, he disappeared down the hill.

  24. I’ve heard many stories about moose encounters, bears poking tents, rattle snakes that would not move, grouse attacks and strange sounds at night that would keep a trembling hiker frozen in his/her tent until dawn. But my story is not like that…

    It was late August 1978 and I was hiking near Mt. Chocora in the NH Whites with my college roommate. It was super hot during the day and we had earlier run out of water. So when we made camp that night, somewhere off the Beeline Trail, we were really beat and relaxing like normal college kids. Tequila and other stuff. We had a fire going and the dusk had turned into a nice cool night. Until we heard something. A snap of a twig. Or was it a dead branch kicked off its trunk? At first it sounded pretty far away. The sounds of trampling forest duff would stop, and then start up again. Only louder. I was sure it was being attracted by the fire and it was coming closer. Gary and I stopped talking – actually whispering at this point – and listened intently. I’m sure he was as worried as I was. This thing sounded HUGE. It seemed to be tromping its way right toward us. And what did I have to defend myself? My Swiss Army knife? Yea right. And where was it? In my pack? No way I’m moving to get it now. This thing was getting real close now. I could see that Gary was getting visibly upset. I think my hands were shaking. I looked around for some kind of club to bludgeon the thing in what I would imagine to be my last desperate act on the earth. I thought about how stupid the whole thing was – to meet my end at this moment. Who would find my body? Would there even be one left? The light from the fire cast a glow that reached perhaps 10 feet. Beyond it was what ever was coming. Straight at us. It was there. Probably watching me right now. The sounds were more regular now. It was tromping at the edge of our vision – just beyond the fire. And then I saw the thing as it came into fire light. A 3 inch field mouse just trying to get warm.

  25. My most recent animal experience was driven by “Bearanoia” while I was at Mt. Elbert in Colorado last week. I started off late at night and moved up through the trees to the alpine meadows to be positioned for a very early morning summit push. I came across two guys descending in the night as I was setting up my Bivy and they told me there had been bears in the area. I ate dinner and realized I had no place to bear bag as the trees were 1000 below. I set up my poles and suspended the footbag to at least keep the marmots away, but was awaken an hour later by what sounded like a large growl. Having stayed in boots and clothes, I flew out of the bivy and grabbed my small pocket knife and, after the fog cleared, realized the noise was my stomach! The morale of the story – don’t eat Salami and Swiss Cheese so close to bedtime!

  26. Doing the “Passage de Orteige” in the french pyrenees in winter. I had no idea what I was doing and it was quite scary back then. It is a very small footpath next to a long long drop (100+m). In places its very narrow and there is only a steel cable attached to the rocks that is quite loose in a few places (missing bolts and the like). And as an addition to that: Biting cold and quite a bit of ice on the trail.

    It wasnt actually difficult or dangerous. Good footholds and the ice was easily managed with the crampons. But I was not used to the exposure and so it was quite scary. I had to rest for a bit to get my heart-rate down again :)

  27. My most memorable: It was the summer before my fifth grade your. My dad had planned out a hike for my brother and I, plus a friend each to hike up to the Scottish lakes in Stevens pass WA. We would spend 2 days hiking and 4 days fishing the 3 lakes. On the 1st night we all were tired and slept like logs, but on the second night I had regained my energy and had a hard time sleeping in the September heat. We had 2, 2 man tents and 1, 4 man tent, set up all in a circle with the doors facing the center circle. I remember Danny My older brothers friend waking up and franticly shaking my brother awake, “Tremayne! Tremayne! wake up!?!?!”
    Of course this woke me up and got my attention, but my brother was having a hard time coming to. Finally I heard it ” WHAT?!”
    “I hear a BEAR outside rummaging around the tents! He sounds mad!”
    I did not hear a response from my brother, but maybe he was listening for the bear like I was. A minute later, still nothing from my brother. Then Again, “Tremayne Tremayne! Wake up! Danny frantically urged.
    I still did not hear my brother respond again and I did not hear a bear. I responded to Danny wondering what he was hearing that he thought was a bear. “Danny,” I said in a hushed voice. “where is the bear?”
    “Can’t you hear it”
    “There it goes again?!”
    “What! There it is again. Did you hear that?!”
    “DANNY!? That’s my dad snoring”
    “YES w/laughter”
    I didn’t sleep a wink more that night due to the fact I couldn’t stop giggling to myself about how Danny thought my Dad’s snores were a bear. My Brother and my friend Eric woke up the next morning oblivious to the bear threat in our camp that night. I still chuckle about it every now and then.

  28. My most memorable wildlife encounter is the time a water mocassin ATE my sandal. At least I think it did. It’s possible (I argue highly probable) that my bestfriend and I imagined it.

    We were about 8 and her family had taken me a long for a day hike. We had our own little backpacks and everything and felt very grown up so when we stopped for a bite to eat, Sarah and I changed into flip flops and wandered off to a stream edge by ourselves and we’re messing around in the water.

    Suddenly, I looked down and saw something brown and snakelike swimming toward me. I gasped. Sarah looked at me and then down and then she gasped and she maintains (this is completely her version, I say she panicked and attracted the stick/snakes attention) that at that exact moment the water moccasin lunged toward my foot, she heroically leapt in the way, grabbed my arm and jerked me away and we both ran flat out for her parents. Leaving one of my sandals behind.

    When finally stopped screaming and explained what happened to her parents they went to check and my sandal was gone. They didnt believe us and we were thoughly scolded for wandering off. it was a lasting bond. For year, we never doubted it was a snake. And that it at my favorite sandal. It wasn’t until later that it became a debatable point.

    20 years later Sarah and I can’t decide what happened but we still laugh about a snake getting my sandal to eat. Still, stick or snake, it’s nice to have friends willing to leap into danger for you.

  29. My wife and I were doing some trail maintenance on an underused local trail. The trail was overgrown with thick mountain laurel, so we were not moving very fast or being very quiet. As I came over a small crest in the trail, I noticed a black spot about 30 yards in front of me. I quickly realized that it was a bear. I grabbed my camera and took two pictures. In the second picture on the viewfinder I noticed that it was now looking directly at me. I started slowing moving back down the trail but my wife was still working away below me. She looked up at my like, “why are you coming back down with that crazy look in your eyes”. So I used sign language to spell out B E A R. My wife is a speech therapist and had tried to teach me the sign language alphabet. We both started moving down the trial. When we got into the truck she said she had no clue that I had actually paid enough attention when she was teaching me to sign. She still brings it up from time to time, she thinks it was cute that in a stressful situation I remembered what she taught me.

  30. I was leading a backpacking trip through the ADK near Marcy Dam with a group of teenagers and a coleader for an area YMCA camp a few years ago. We picked a lean to near the dam for 4 days to base out of and hiked many of the mountains in the area. We packed our food in bear kegs that we stored maybe a hundred yards behind the lean to. Every night at twilight we heard the bear smack the kegs into trees and rocks until one opened and have himself some dinner. Try as we might to tighten hide and adjust the kegs just so, the bear got some food every night. Between the bear and the kids we were out of food completely on our last night in the woods. We heard the bear kicking the now empty kegs around at twilight as usual, then he (or she) came to our lean to and, in a nonaggressive way, put his paws on the end of the lean to and gave us a harrumph as if to say, where’s the food guys? He turned and lumbered away into the woods giving the kids and leaders alike an encounter to remember.

  31. My wife and I took my then 10 year old son backpacking in western Maryland with a few of his friends. We were almost ready to pack up and go home, so we let them do some exploring while we finished. After a little while we heard screams – I started running up the mountain and caught up to them running down the mountain. Apparently they found a hornets nest, and a really obnoxious kid threw rocks at it. Of course they were got some stings, but my son had it the worst. He had thick curly hair and had about ten hornets stuck in his hair still stinging him. We dunked his head in the creek, pulled out the hornets, gavehim some benadryl, and high-tailed it out of there!

  32. While on a fall hike on the northern end of the SHT I spotted what looked like a house cat in the distance. It saw me, turned, and jumped into a tree. I realized with the big bushy tail it wasn’t what I thought…maybe a large squirrel. Arriving at the tree I looked up and a few feet above me was an American marten. ( At the time I didn’t know what it was). It was propped up with it’s front legs hanging over the tree & we looked at each other for 1/2 a minute.
    I’ve come across many more wildlife encounters since then, but this was the most memorable and unique.

  33. Watching kingfishers at Lake Vesuvius in Ohio. A buddy and I camped at a spot at the end of a little peninsula that juts out into the lake. At the tip of the peninsula, the lake narrows a bit, and this is where most of the action took place. The occasional duck or goose would fly or float by, but it was the kingfishers that put on a show, dipping and diving after their prey. What magnificent birds, zipping by like crackly jets! To top it off, they roosted all around us that night and surprised us with their kookaburra-like song.

  34. It appears I missed the Aug 19th deadline to enter this raffle, but here’s my story anyway.

    One of my most memorable experiences with wildlife was while backpacking a section of the AT in GSMNP between Clingman’s Dome and Fontana Dam. I was with my brother and we were both still backpacking novices, attempting to start a Memorial Day weekend backpacking tradition. We had just been in the Tourist area in Cade’s Cove days before and couldn’t shake the images of the large boar hogs that live in the park, as well as the normal warnings about bear encounters. After hunkering down under our ponchos to wait out a thunderstorm, we resumed hiking along a fairly steep ridge section (near Thunderhead Mtn) when we heard grunting sounds up ahead. Envisioning scenes from “Old Yeller” we froze and contemplated what to do. We decided to bang our metal trekking poles together to scare it off. As soon as we started making the noises two black bear cubs shot across the trail followed and joined their mother bear where together they took off down the trail away from us. We stood there frozen, quaking with fear, realizing that we might have accidentally walked between a mother bear and her cubs.

    About 10 minutes up the trail we came across a tent just off the trail, where some hikers had set up a temporary shelter during the storm. They were pacing around it excitedly and told us that something HUGE had just raced past their tent, scaring them to death. We explained what we had just experienced and concluded that it was the same bears.

    I’ve had a few wonderful wildlife experiences, observing Bald Eagles up close and fishing beside loons, but that near-bear encounter as a novice will always be one of the most memorable.

  35. I just send email to the winner of the Cloud 15 sleeping bag raffle – check your email – you might be the winner!