If you live in the Rocky Mountain Region and have encountered a bear or mountain lion, I want to hear your story. If you are a ranger or open space manager or with the Department of Wildlife, even better.
I’m interested in backyard stories as well as wilderness and recreational ones (with both tragic or elated endings). Send a paragraph on the incident to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quid pro quo: Here’s one of my stories.
Make no mistake, the bears own and run Katmai, Alaska. You’re a visitor at best, at worst, dinner. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, because although Katmai boasts the greatest density of brown bear (think grizzlies) per square mile, only two deaths have ever occurred — those being the now famous Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend.
A couple years ago, I spent eight hours on the peninsula, dropping in by float plane. Within that time, I saw thirty bears, including sows with cubs. One even loped down the trail at me. As I stepped aside, his paws slapped against the flat earth and I felt him go by. If I had extended a hand, it would have brushed his fur.
In Katmai, you enter at your own risk without signing any waivers. You move about on foot, without an armed guide or forest service ranger. You cannot carry pepper spray. If this is disconcerting, well, the Alaskans really don’t care.
While some people might think I’m crazy, I count my Katmai trip, that eight hours, as one of my best adventures. Watching bear stand atop a waterfall as salmon leap into their open mouths while bald eagles soar above…was an unparalleled, and unforgettable experience. Now it’s your turn…tell me yours!