On Monday, my brother, cupkeiki and I went for a cruise around Pennock Pass. It’s a common destination for nature enthusiasts, including hiking, biking, horse back riding, and off road vehicles. I will say this about the area, it is insanely beautiful…but there’s also a grievance I have with the area, due mostly in part to those who make the haul up to spend the weekend enjoying their off road vehicles, and that is the litter. It was everywhere. It baffles me just how ignorant people can be when it comes to their idea of how to enjoy nature. Pack it in, pack it out. Leave it a little better than it was. To see copious amounts of beer cans, plastic ware, and general rubbish is ridiculous. And lazy. But enough of that.
We enjoyed the sunshine and hiked around, and when the clouds rolled in we decided to head out. I mentioned to my brother that it was a bummer not seeing any wildlife (due to loud vehicles and a cupkeiki who was excited to see everything I’m sure!) and two seconds later, a Doe and her babies were crossing the road in front of us! I hopped out of the truck and trailed behind them on the road as they crept up the hill side.
I commented to my brother about the joy of seeing the deer, and mentioned how great it would really be to see a big horn sheep (not common at all to the area), bear or lion next, as we drove out onto the main road. Not two minutes later, my brother looked out the window, said “no way!” in a more expletive manner, and backed the truck up. As he was backing up he said “you won’t believe this!” I said “what? WHAT?!?!” and he said “Bear”. I grabbed my camera and jumped out of the truck and across road. I was so excited about seeing a bear in the wild, as it is the first time ever seeing one. You hear stories of people in the mountains complaining about bears getting into trash or cat food left out. You see signs that they exist everywhere, but until you actually see one, they might as well as be an elusive myth. At least to me. I’ve heard a bear call out, and I know they exist, as I’ve seen them in zoo’s and sanctuaries, but to see one in nature is something more primitive and exciting. It backs up the reasons your father told you on camping trips as a child that “if you see a bear or a mountain lion back up, slowly. If it starts running at you, start screaming and throwing your arms in the air. If that doesn’t work, curl up into a ball and hope for the best…” I still hear that conversation in my head, but until I saw that bear…
I was trying really hard to hold still, I had my long lens on and between my excitement, the bear on the move, and not having a tripod I just snapped away praying something came out even half way decent so that I had proof of the sighting. People drove slowly past, one couple stopped and watched for a minute, I asked if they could see it, and they said, “yes and it’s beautiful!” And right there and then, my heart was full of love and gratitude for nature, for my time here in CO, for my family and for getting to share that experience with my brother and my cupkeiki. It is probably a trip I will never forget. I don’t know how often a person gets to put it out there to nature that they would really like to get to see something like a bear and have it actually happen. Love and gratitude.