posted: October 3rd, 2015 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: Four days ago (September 29, 2015) a 65-year-old man hiking alone in the Many Glacier Valley of Glacier National Park surprised a sow grizzly, which attacked him. The sow had two cubs and shee responded to instinct, which had conditioned her to protect her offspring by charging.
The grizzly bear grabbed the man apparently by the lower part of his leg and shook him. Struggling for his can of bear spray the man successfully deployed the spray causing the bear to release the hiker and leave the area.
Though the man had puncture wounds on both his hand and his leg he managed to walk about a mile to his car and then drive himself 30 miles to an emergency center in Cut Bank, Montana. Doctors treated the man then released him where he continued on with his itinerary.
Hikers frequently encounter grizzly bears in the Many Glacier Valley, and should always be prepared to respond with bear spray.
Some hikers invite trouble, as these two hikers who cut me off from the safety afforded by traveling further down the Ice Berg Lake Trail.
Though bears in the Many Glacier area often encounter hikers, still most bears try to avoid contact with humans, in part because of good bear management in Glacier National Park. People who ignore the rules are generally ticketed, and had a ranger been in proximity to the people who cut me off several years ago as they tried to get the “perfect” bear picture, they would have been ticketed. As it was this image appeared on the front page of the Daily Interlake where I had hoped for an embarrassment factor.
But the events of just two day ago were different. The man was doing nothing wrong although the park strongly suggests that visitors not hike alone. It’s assumed that several people hiking together have less risk of surprising a bear. Simply put: more people make more noise.
Nevertheless, the man was alone — but did exactly what he should have done. He was carrying bear spray and he managed to keep his head and deploy the spray, a gaseous substance laced with oleoresin capsicum, a very harsh form of red pepper.
Conclusion? Bear Spray works!
THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
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Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
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Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy