Bears! on Puget Power Trail 9/21/2016

This was a short conditioning hike using a workday-snatched couple of hours.

I only had one meeting today in Renton and it ended at 10.  I figured I could do a little Tiger Mountain hike starting at E Sunset Way trail head (it is off I-90/exit 18, so not far from the north/south freeway I take home).  I was planning to just edit my post from April or May that I have been using for these little hikes.  But events took an unexpected turn.

I took the steep little connector trail up to Puget Power, to Adventure Trail, to High School Trail, to Section Line, to Nook, etc. etc. back down to Puget Power.

I was walking west on Puget Power trail – a wide and busy trail, not very far from I-90 – and I was just coming to the end of a short section with overhanging trees when, just around a little curve, I thought I saw a really big dog with a couple of little pals.  They were looking at me intently.

So I stopped, figuring I would wait until the dogs’ owners came along.  But it quickly dawned on me that this was a mother bear and two cubs.  Whoa!

At that point my heart rate about doubled.  My instinct was to turn tail and run but there is no way to outrun a bear and why act like prey?

So I stood there silently.  We stared at each other for a few seconds and then I slowly started backing away.  She kept looking at me but did not follow.

I backtracked about 1/4 mile and briefly thought about going back the way I came.  But that would take a lot of time, and I thought maybe the bears had split, so I turned around and slowly – carefully – walked back.

No bears, I am happy to say, but after I passed the point where I had encountered them I confess I set a record pace back to the car.

Just goes to show how ignorant I am of bear behavior.  In a hundred years I would never have guessed that bears would be hanging out in such a busy place.  But winter is coming, the bears are fattening up, and there must have been some berries (and/or senior citizen hikers) around.

Bottom line, I need to be totally vigilant not just some of the time, but everywhere I hike, all the time.

4 thoughts on “Bears! on Puget Power Trail 9/21/2016”

    1. This was just a short (4.5 miles, 2 hours) conditioning hike, like going to the gym but outside. Didn’t bring Garmin or camera and I was within a mile of the car, easy level trail, back to thinking about work. The instant I realized they were bears and not unattended dogs I was completely terrified. That’s not a dog staring me down, it’s a big mama bear! Even if I had had a camera I would not have stuck around long enough to snap a picture.

    1. Thanks, yeah, what an amazing surprise to see bears at such a heavily traveled location. But I plan to go back next week and be more focused and aware of my surroundings. I came pretty close to walking right up to them.

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