This is my tenth year of passionately hiking our beautiful Colorado Mountains. In those ten years, we’ve been charged by a mother bear — been forced down the trail by a bear having lunch by a tree — and had two little bear cubs running parallel to our trail near Gregory Canyon.
Today I was hiking solo. The last time I hiked the Kohler Mesa trail was September 2007. Time to reacquaint myself.
The trail begins with a rather steep stair climb up a hill. It levels off at the top and connects with the Mesa Trail. The views were beautiful.
At the .83 mile mark — Bear Scat!
My head said, “Run Bear Scout! Run back to the car! Go home! Make some hot chocolate and watch a movie!” My Bear Scout head said, “Nah — it will be fine. Keep hiking.”
Besides — bears don’t want to eat me. They want to eat the berries on the numerous berry bushes I passed.
I stopped to marvel as a Gibbifer Californicus was diligently pushing a clod of dirt up the trail. It was hysterical. He would travel about 2 inches, then the dirt clod would roll over him and he would begin again. After numerous attempts, his buddy came to help. And yup — the clod pushed them both down the trail. I really wanted to help, but I wasn’t exactly sure of their destination.
I continued on the Mesa Trail, and took it all the way to NCAR; then turned around to complete my Friday hike.
I arrived at the intersection of Mesa Trail and Skunk Canyon Trail. It looked inviting …..
So down the trail I went. I was about 10 minutes down the trail, rounding a slight bend when just 4 feet from my head coming from the bushes I heard a loud, grumbling sound. Now — as my faithful blog followers know — I have a rather active imagination. This was NOT my imagination. I looked towards the bushes and saw either the hind end, or shoulder of a black bear.
Let me answer the questions running through your heads right now …..
- No, I don’t know if it was a male or female.
- No, I don’t know if there were cubs.
- My best guess — this bear was sleeping and I walked by disturbing him/her.
- No, I did not get a selfie! (Although — what a great idea!)
- Yes — I am CERTAIN it was a black bear.
- Yes, I had my bear spray with me.
- No, I didn’t have to use it.
- No, my life did not pass before my eyes.
- No, I did not have to give up my PB&J sandwich (which I really didn’t want to share).
- Yes, I was beginning to question my sanity of going down a narrow remote trail solo.
What did I do?!?!? I backed up the trail, but the bear did not move. (I really do think I disturbed his/her afternoon nap. And you know how you hate to be interrupted while napping!) When I was about 10 feet away, I turned, and walked VERY fast up the trail. When I was about 20 feet away, I ran like hell and got back to the Mesa Trail in record time.
OK — no more diversions. Back to the car!
Well — one more diversion. Near the Kohler trailhead is a short path to Green Mountain Cemetery (where I was NOT going to end up this Friday). A quick trip to the cemetery …..
…..then back to the car. On the way back what do I see? More …..
I gotta get the heck outta here and make some hot chocolate and watch a movie!