California: Caution – Bear Crossing

California: Caution – Bear Crossing

I will be the first to admit that I will say things like, ‘Oh, bears are so cool. I’d love to see a bear!’ In passing these comments are meaningless but when you really consider seeing a bear close up, you just might feel entirely different about it.

When we were riding through Sequoia National Park I made it clear to Kenny that I needed a little space from the group. When you’re used to doing things on your own, stopping and starting a train of people can feel a little claustrophobic at times. With that, off I went on my own.  The gang still behind me but out of sight, I slowly moved along up the road towards the Giant Forest Museum feasting on the wonder of my surroundings.

As the road climbed and rounded a curve in my left peripheral vision I saw something brown bound out of the foliage. Given my limited scope of animal exposure, I had assumed in that split second that it was a deer. I came to an abrupt, shaking stop in the middle of the the uneven road and nearly dropped my motorcycle. My arms had instantly gone to jelly. Standing there momentarily was a small bear. It was about 20 feet away from me. I was stunned and completely startled. My auto-piloting brain was frightened.

The bear didn’t really think much of me and didn’t linger. It scurried its way up the banking on the right side of the road and slowed its gate to a meandering stroll. I could see a green tag on its ear as it turned around to look at me. I sat shaking in the middle of the road. Kenny pulled up along side of me and I pointed to the bear and he was able to grab a quick shot with his camera.

Bear spotted on a motorcycle trip Sequioa National Park

Its not a perfect shot – but its enough to say ‘look what I saw!’ My first bear. And in hindsight… hopefully my last from that close up.

4 Replies to “California: Caution – Bear Crossing”

  1. While of course we’re ALL glad you’re okay, I think the bears are more scared of people than vice versa.

    However, if you leave food in your car, they won’t hesitate to rip the doors off to get at your snickers bar during the night. 😀

  2. Two years ago we took a ride to Republic, Washington. We were a little behind schedule and left for home late in the afternoon late September. This is prime time for wildlife to hit the road. Also the area had a lot of wildfires that year and one had burned right to the edge of the two lane highway but it didn’t jump. The fires had calmed down considerably by then but smoke still lingered and crews were stationed every 15 miles or so watching for flare ups. I was leading a group four riders and knew the time was right to see wildlife so I was cautious. Low and behold out in middle of nowhere I encountered a car stopped in middle of the highway in the opposite direction. I knew the only reason was because the driver had eyes on an animal. As we got closer I saw a black bear behind the car. I slowed everyone down to a crawl in case it spooked and ran infront of us. When I reached the back of the car, the bear and I locked eyes and it scampered off into the brush. We reached the ferry dock in Keller and 10 minutes later a woman on a day trip rolled up in her car. She stopped for the same bear and had pictures of it trying to get in her car. I think it was panicked over losing its habitat from the fire and found safety on the highway. Fascinating but also dangerous when you think about it.

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