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First real bear encounter

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First real bear encounter

Postby traderaaron » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:53 am

I was coming down the Medano Creek Trail yesterday morning after camping below the lake and trying for Mt. Herard on Saturday morning. High winds at the saddle that nearly knocked me over had me waiting for about 30 minutes below the ridge but a schedule that dictated I get back to town early and the winds that were still high 30 minutes later had me turn back for camp.

I met Matt from 14ers and his friend coming up just below the lake and wished them well after telling them about the high winds. Maybe they walked right by this bear and didn't know it.

About a mile from the TH I came up a slight rise the trail while about 40 yards away a very healthy looking bear is also coming up a slight rise in the trail so that we both come onto the level at the same time and see each at the same time. He looks at me, I clang my trekking poles together and yell "hey bear" and in about two seconds is gone into the woods. I barely heard him at all once into the woods and never saw him again.

It was a very neat experience, I think my early return from a wind blocked summit bid was the key in seeing this bear as it was still pretty early in the morning and the bear was moving to his likely sleeping spot for the day. I was amazed at how silent he was once into the woods and how I could no longer see him.

I wish I had a picture of this bear but he was gone so fast and I was trying to make sure he was doing so. I saw my first bear from a distance in the Huerfano Creek drainage, my second along Mosca Pass, my third west of Trinidad and this close encounter along Medano Creek. The southern Sangres are bear country.

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby JE242 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:59 am

Congrats!

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Philo » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:29 am

Awesome!
The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun. (Alex Lowe)

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:26 pm

Very cool; I like seeing wildlife, and have never been really close to a bear out on the trail. When we backpacked down the Sand Ramp trail to the Medano road a few years ago, we were seeing bear tracks crossing or following the trail about once every half mile. I definitely got the sense that there were a lot of bears around, although we never saw one. Or maybe the sand just holds tracks well. :-k
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Matt » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:18 pm

traderaaron wrote:I met Matt from 14ers and his friend coming up just below the lake and wished them well after telling them about the high winds. Maybe they walked right by this bear and didn't know it.

About a mile from the TH I came up a slight rise the trail while about 40 yards away a very healthy looking bear is also coming up a slight rise in the trail so that we both come onto the level at the same time and see each at the same time. He looks at me, I clang my trekking poles together and yell "hey bear" and in about two seconds is gone into the woods. I barely heard him at all once into the woods and never saw him again.

It was a very neat experience, I think my early return from a wind blocked summit bid was the key in seeing this bear as it was still pretty early in the morning and the bear was moving to his likely sleeping spot for the day. I was amazed at how silent he was once into the woods and how I could no longer see him.

I wish I had a picture of this bear but he was gone so fast and I was trying to make sure he was doing so. I saw my first bear from a distance in the Huerfano Creek drainage, my second along Mosca Pass, my third west of Trinidad and this close encounter along Medano Creek. The southern Sangres are bear country.


Aaron--
We saw your comment in the trailhead register... Wow.
On our way back down in the afternoon, we heard a series of very loud crashing sounds coming from the creek--wait for it--about a mile from the trailhead. Something big was moving down there, but the brush was too thick to see anything. We slowed our pace for a bit and looked hard, but saw nothing. We didn't exactly hang around to lure it out, either. I bet it was the same bear.
It was nice meeting you. Thanks for the tracks across that snowfield below the lake. Take it easy.
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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby traderaaron » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:16 am

We saw your comment in the trailhead register... Wow.
On our way back down in the afternoon, we heard a series of very loud crashing sounds coming from the creek--wait for it--about a mile from the trailhead. Something big was moving down there, but the brush was too thick to see anything. We slowed our pace for a bit and looked hard, but saw nothing. We didn't exactly hang around to lure it out, either. I bet it was the same bear.
It was nice meeting you. Thanks for the tracks across that snowfield below the lake. Take it easy.


How was Herard? I wish I had a full day up there to wait to see if the wind died down enough to encourage me to summit but I had to get back down early. I should have had warmer clothes to try for the summit that early because that wind was cutting through me as well as knocking me down.

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Paul S » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:38 am

We've been planning on Herard and 13,153, but have been holding off due to concerns that there may still be a cornice at the Herard / 13,153 saddle. Did you encounter any difficulties in getting up to the saddle (other than the wind)? Thanks!

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Matt » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:42 am

The Herard/Medano combo is now one of my favorite hikes in Colorado. The Medano Lake cirque is gorgeous, and views from Herard are mind blowing.
Wind was nasty, but bearable, until we hit the summit of Herard, where we lingered for 45 minutes or so. On the summit, it was intermittent and more calm than on the ascent or descent.
There's no cornice to worry about, but we got a nice glissade in from the saddle.
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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Rich H » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:38 am

We saw a big brown bear coming down off UN 13,565 west of Trinidad on Abbot Crk a couple of years back...It was the first bear I had seen that didn't run and instead lifted up to watch us. Left a strange feeling of being bait. I agree that the southern Sangres are bear country.

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby tmathews » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:45 am

Rich H wrote:We saw a big brown bear coming down off UN 13,565 west of Trinidad on Abbot Crk a couple of years back.


We don't have actual brown bears (Ursus arctos or Ursus arctos horribilis) in Colorado, just for clarification. We have black bears (Ursus americanus) with different colors of fur, but not *actual* brown bears.

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Rich H » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:47 am

yea i know but it was brown black bear

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Re: First real bear encounter

Postby Paul S » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:50 am

Matt wrote:The Herard/Medano combo is now one of my favorite hikes in Colorado. The Medano Lake cirque is gorgeous, and views from Herard are mind blowing.
Wind was nasty, but bearable, until we hit the summit of Herard, where we lingered for 45 minutes or so. On the summit, it was intermittent and more calm than on the ascent or descent.
There's no cornice to worry about, but we got a nice glissade in from the saddle.

Thanks for the info Matt!

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