August 21, 2017, is a day that many will remember with fondness because it was the day of the solar eclipse in America.
In the morning I witnessed the solar eclipse from my vantage point outside my place of work in downtown Estes Park, Colorado (I think it was a 92% eclipse in Estes Park) but as magnificent as that was, what I will remember most about this day is the visit I got from mama bear that evening, and the two cubs I saw in the distance.
I simply couldn’t wait to share this with you.
I was sitting in my van with the side sliding door wide open, just enjoying the cool breeze passing through after a heavy rain had just passed by when I sensed something and looked toward my open door. She was so quiet and I had not heard her approach, but there she was stretching her head to peer into my van with hopes of finding some food for supper. Our eyes met, and I had a moment of astonishment before my brain said Make Noise, Chase Her Away!!! I raised my hands to clap, but she was turning tail before my hands came together.
I reached for my camera, turning it on as I jumped outside to chase her away.
I took a few pictures of her retreating rear-end, then returned to my van and installed my 210 mm zoom lens.
She had fled across the meadow to some trees near a rocky outcropping, where I saw other black shapes moving, one of which was climbing up a tree, and I realized she had cubs with her.
I found a vantage point at a safe distance away and took these shots. Please Note*** These were taken with a 210 mm zoom lens and stored as a huge image file which was then cropped, I was NOT this close to her or her cubs.
What an incredible experience; I’ve had plenty of bear visits, but this was the first time I’ve seen cubs.
In case you missed it I recently wrote a post about Living in a Vehicle or RV in Bear Country. I write about keeping a BARE camp and trying to keep odors that attract bears to a minimum with hope of reducing the chances of a visit from a bear, but on this night I didn’t have any smelly trash, I wasn’t snacking on salt and vinegar potato chips (that seems to be a favorite bear attractant), and I hadn’t started cooking yet, so this just proves that a bear can smell any odors no matter how minimum (just the food in my ice chest, or the glass of wine I was enjoying) or they may visit out of curiosity. This bear may also have become conditioned to humans and may have learned that vehicles are fun and easy to raid. A bit like opening a tin can.
After a while, mama bear and her cubs grew tired of watching me and took their leave.
I slept well, and they didn’t return. If they had, the solar lights I have installed on the outside of my van would have triggered and alerted me to their presence before they got to my van, and possibly scared them away. I also have a motion sensor alarm I can use if I wish, but I didn’t feel any sense of danger from this particular bear last night. However, bears start eating more at this time of the year in preparation for their winter hibernation so I might start turning the alarm on (I haven’t actually used it yet), and just for safety, I will cook elsewhere tonight before parking for the night in the same spot.
That’s all for now…and remember if a bear approaches make noise (clap, bang pans together, yell and scream, and throw rocks in the general direction of the bears if you wish but not AT them). It is for their safety and yours, and never, ever feed them. A fed bear is a dead bear, and this planet needs bears.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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