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Black Bear Encounter
in the Pine Bush

by Alan Gilda

It had always been a dream of mine; an encounter with a wild bear--approached with some trepidation I'll admit. Many opportunities had existed. Trips to the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Adirondack Mountains had yielded tantalizing clues of bear activity, but alas, no actual sightings.

Until a magical summer night in the Pine Bush.

On Sunday, June 21, around sunset, I was enjoying an evening walk in the Madison Ave. Barrens. I often walk and ski in the Pine Bush and see many deer, an occasional fox, and other small wildlife. On this particular night, I was walking southwest on the white trail, close to a spur trail that leads to the Point of Woods condo complex, when, to my great surprise and astonishment, a black bear was ambling down the trail directly toward me, not twenty yards away!! Unbelievable!!

I watched for 15-20 seconds as the bear investigated some bushes alongside of the trail, totally unaware of my presence. Suddenly, the bear, which was about the size of a panda and probably a juvenile, caught my presence and ran full speed away from me down the trail. For a moment, I thought of pursuing the bear, but decided against it, as I did not want a angry mother bear chasing me up a tree.

The next day I looked for bear tracks along the trail and saw several. Never again will a walk in the Pine Bush seem ordinary. It was only a brief, fleeting encounter--but one that will live forever in my memory.

published Oct/Nov 98 Newsletter


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