Unexpected Visitor – A Bear

Travel Journal – June 26, 2016
View from the lounge chair

View from the lounge chair

Today was another warm day with clear skies. A great day to relax, read a book and watch the river flow by our camp. This morning Mollie, the Campground Host who fills in for Sharon dropped by and introduced herself. She’s a nice lady also and seems dedicated to taking care of the park. She fills in on Sunday and Monday so Sharon can have a couple of days off to recuperate.

When evening came I visited a small restaurant in town that Sharon had recommended. Minnie’s is a small coffee shop featuring home cooking. Since the weather had cooled down a little I brought Jagger and left him in the Workhorse parked out front, while I enjoyed my meal. This is the first “sit-down” restaurant meal I’ve had in a long time.

Clarks Fork River

Clarks Fork River

After my dinner, Jagger and I took a little drive along the Clarks Fork river. It was early evening and there was a warm breeze blowing through the canyon that follows the Clarks Fork river.

My destination was Plains, Montana. Plains is the next small town along highway 200. It’s similar to Thompson Falls. Both have a population of just over a thousand citizens and a few businesses along the main street in town. When we reach the end of town, I turned the Workhorse around and we then headed back to camp.

Back at Camp

When I returned to camp I noticed that Jagger and I had some new neighbors. The “Montana Conservation Corp” had pulled in to the large campsite next to us. Their group looked like it included about six or seven youth and a couple of mentors. I noticed they were down by the river enjoying the evening and some playing in the cool water of the Clarks Fork.

I then left Jagger outside on his lead while I unloaded a few item from the Workhorse and got settled. When I came back outside I met one of the campers from the Montana Corps walking by our camp. She ask me if I saw the bear. WHAT? WHERE? She then told me over there, pointing to their campsite. This is not good, but at least there was some distance!

Evening Visitor

Evening Visitor

I thanked her for the information and walked towards the bear slowly. No I was not going to pet it, but Jagger was tied to his lead in that direction and I needed to get him before we had any trouble.

Initially Jagger had barked a few times, but I thought it was due to the lady approaching, but no it was the bear! As I walked slowly towards the bear, to my surprise, the bear turned and moved away. You can see the blurry picture here that I took after the bear moved at least 100 feet away.

Preparing for the Fourth of July

Preparing for the Fourth of July

I was prepared to grab Jagger and run to the Coach slamming the door on my way in, however I knew I needed to move slowly, not threatening the bear in anyway. Once Jagger was in the Coach, I turned making sure the bear was not coming our direction and I snapped a picture as he meandered away from our camp. A very stimulating evening and my first experience with a bear since I starting my travels over two years ago.

Hmm, after thinking about our encounter with our visitor, it he became aggressive bear spray wouldn’t have helped at all, as I wouldn’t have thought to have it with me during this type of camp activity. Anyway I am continuing to think about that day, if it ever comes, that I may be confronted by a grizzly. Heaven forbid!

Oh, The bear in the header photo was taken in yellowstone from the safety of my car 😉 If I encountered that one face to face I don’t know what I would do. I stayed in my car, but I couldn’t believe the number of people getting out of the relative safety of their vehicles to get that special “close-up”. They are crazy!

Safe Travels…Gary

More Photos: Thompson Falls


Categories: Montana

5 replies

  1. Glad your bear is just a distant away. We still have to see a bear although we saw some of its scat on the trail. And yes heaven forbid I don’t want to ge up close and personal with it. I get shaken with a snake how much more for a huge bear!


    • Me too! Jagger and I have seen a few snakes. It’s impossible to be in nature almost daily and not see wildlife occasionally it’s just such a surprise when one of the “dangerous” ones appear. It’s good to know how you’re going to respond or try too…


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