Thursday, September 18, 2008

And Bears Oh My......

Last night I went for another evening ride on the Centennial trail. Because I was riding by myself I brought my iPod along and started the ride out with some Jackson Browne. Ahhh, very relaxing. About 500 feet into the ride I passed some walkers and they started pointing and talking to me. I pulled my headphones out and they told me that they just spotted a black bear in the bushes up the trail between milepost 11 and 12. A rational person would have probably just gone back to the car and gone home but I was out for a ride and DANG IT no bear was going to stop me.

I’ve only seen bears in the zoo so closest thing I have to experience with them is my friend at work who grew up in Alaska. He has told me a lot of stories of how they used to chase black bears away from their work sites so I rationalized my riding safety by telling myself that any bear that I saw on the trail would run the other way if he saw me and I made enough noise. It’s good to have a plan.

Right after I spoke with the walkers I noticed there were some other cyclists just up the trail from me. Not that I was scared or anything but once I saw them I sprinted in their direction and caught up with them. I figured if a bear mauled me it would be good to have some company.

As I rode with them we started talking about the bear sighting. I noted that I had seen posted signs of possible bears in the area but I had never heard of anyone actually seeing one. One of the cyclists told me that was because the cougars usually scared them away. I think his attempt at humor was wasted on me. Lucky for me my new cycling friends had bells on their bikes that they constantly rang. If there was a bear in the area he would definitely know we were there.

As we passed milepost 11 I figured I was in the clear so I bid my new cycling buddies farewell and took off. As I rode toward Snohomish I started calculating how long I could ride before I would have to turn around to make it back before it got dark. The last thing I wanted to do was to ride on the trail past a bear in the dark. I at least wanted to see the bear before the attack.

I ended up turning around just before I got to Snohomish. On the way back my legs were starting to lag a bit but I did have the motivation of bears in the dark that kept me going. I ended up getting back a little earlier than I expected so I stopped at Lake Cassidy to take some pictures of my bike on the dock. As I was taking pictures I heard something rather large rummaging around in the tall reeds by the dock. I didn’t put two and two together until I got back to the car but that could have been the bear. Probably not though.

It would have been nice to see a bear at a distance just to say I saw one but I think I’m relieved that I didn’t.

Distance 20 miles
Avg MPH 15.8
Bear sightings 0

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, i love that first picture. i wish i could have been there. and ...i'm really glad you didn't get mauled by a bear!