I have wanted to see a bear for a long time. I've lifted countless prayers asking God to let me see one. And I was thrilled this summer when we were driving to New Mexico and saw a bear on the side of the road. Thrilled! On the trip home, we saw another bear, though it was pretty far away. Wow...two bears in one summer...what more could a girl ask for?
How about a really up-close visit by a rather large bear...one I could view from the safety of my cabin?
We spent most of Saturday driving around Rocky Mountain National Park, and strolling the streets of Estes Park. We returned to our cabin mid-afternoon for some rest and some down-time. The weather was wonderful, so we sat outside visiting on our tiny cabin porch. Around 5pm, I went inside to heat up the soup I had made for dinner (cool nights are just made for soup!) I looked out the kitchen window at a pretty rock grouping and thought I needed to get a family photo. The lighting was perfect and we had some time to kill while the soup simmered, AND I had my in-laws there to snap a photo of the five of us. So, I grabbed my camera and started walking the very short distance to the rocks. As I was walking, a lady in another cabin close to ours was whispering and pointing and I couldn't quite make out what she was trying to communicate to me. I walked a little closer and she said in a low whisper, "There is a BEAR over there!" She pointed to the cabin directly in front of ours and indicated that the bear was behind it. I couldn't see it, but I got John and the kids and let them know what was going on. About a minute later, we see this brown nose peeking around the corner of the cabin. And because I had my camera already in hand, I did what any good woman would do and handed the camera to John with instructions to take some pictures, and ran inside with the kids!
Just so you know, he zoomed in to capture these images.
The bear walked behind another cabin and peeked around the next corner. At this point, the bear was fairly close to us. You can sorta tell from the photo (NO zoom this time). The kids and I were inside, along with John's mom, but John and his dad were outside snapping photos...a little too close for comfort if you ask me. Right after this picture, the bear "woofed" at them and stomped his front paws. Kinda scary. After another minute or two, the bear turned around and scampered off.
I gotta tell you it was thrilling, and frightening at the same time. I was so excited to see a bear up close...but my knees were knocking the entire time.
And we didn't let the kids play outside unsupervised for the rest of our time at the cabin.
In retrospect, I think this was such an unusual encounter. Bears usually smell and/or hear people and leave the area before we're anywhere close to them. Right now bears are preparing for hibernation and their daily caloric needs are astronomical. I think this bear was foraging for some grub...and I think that his need for calories probably made him a little more brazen than he normally might be. Nevertheless, I got to see a bear...up close...from the safety of my cabin! AND I have some great photos thanks to my very brave husband and father-in-law!
I am so thankful for the gift. And so thankful for the *warning* from the lady in the other cabin. Can you imagine if I had taken the kids up the photo spot and seen a bear come around the corner? Wow...it might have turned out quite differently!
Here's the cropped (and zoomed) image...WOW!