What’s worse than being stalked by a grizzly bear while out on a hike? Being stalked by TWO grizzly bears while out on a hike!
A group of thirteen hikers in Banff National Park learned this the terrifyingly hard way as two large grizzlies stalked their group for 20 minutes. According to the CBC, the beasts remained about 10 to 20 meters from the group the entire time, with one making a couple of runs towards the people.
Hiking guide Phoebe Nicholson was leading the group when one of the hikers alerted her to some rustling in the bushes nearby.
“We have had a lot of training, and I talk about [bears] on all of my tours as well. Knowledge-wise, I knew exactly what I should be doing, but it is different putting it into action.” – Phoebe Nicholson
The group remained calm, keeping a slow pace while continuing down the trail. Eventually the two bears, who Nicholson believed were a mother and adolescent cub, departed from the group.
Absolutely terrifying moment, but it seems that Nicholson, and the entire group, did exactly what they needed to to get out of there unharmed. In this case, the bears were likely just using the trail to travel, much like we do. Phoebe did have bear spray on her just in case, as anyone should who’s traveling in bear territory, but it didn’t become necessary for her to use it.
Always obey warnings and closures when in any national or state park. Keep bear spray accessible, and travel in large groups of four or more. Talk loudly and make your presence known, and always keep dogs on a leash. In cases like this, WildSmart program director Nick de Ruyter recommends safely moving off the trail and letting the bears pass when it’s safe to do so. If it doesn’t become safe, slowly back away, talk to the bear in a calm voice, and avoid making eye contact.
Image Credit: CBC