BEAR!" someone yelped as we--Bethany, Stanley, Wayne, me--headed north along the Klondike. "Bear!"
Wayne hit the brakes, swung a u-eey, and nosed us south, creeping, bear ahead. Aware of we were approaching, Mr. Bear seemed unconcerned, no doubt figuring we were of no threat to his dandelions and other grub prevalent along the highway. I grabbed my camera, put it on video, and leaned out the window.
We have a couple kinds of bears up here. The black bear comes in various colors: blue, blonde, white, brown, black, cinnamon. The brown bear--better known as the grizzly--also comes in colors of your choice: cinnamon, black, brown.
And we of course we have the gummy bears. They come in every color: red, blue, green, yellow, orange...
The black bears max out at about 600 pounds. The browns, 800. It's important to know the difference.
The black bear, when encountered, is more afraid of you than you of him. So act all brave and brawny, growl and scratch the air with pretend claws, make yourself look big, imposing. Off he scampers. Usually. But if you come between mama and cubs? Better shinny up the closest tree, the skinnier the better, since skinny is hard for a 600-pound enraged mama to scamper up.
The brown bear, however, is not afraid of you. When you encounter a grizzly, don't try to scare him, or you're dead meat. The MO upon stumbling across a grizzly is to play dead. Yup. Try to remember this in your panic. He might come up and sniff you, maul you a little, try to flip you over. Stay calm. Generally, they say, he'll loose interest and trot off. Then you can start breathing again and tell your heart to simmer down. However, and this is a huge however, a government brochure, and I kid you not, say that if the grizzly starts to eat you, it means the attack has turned predatory and that you have to fight back. Really? Who are these people?
Meet our brown bear, our grizzly!
Suddenly a car roared by and off scampered our bear. But, hey, BEAR! Always a thrill.