I went mountain biking down one of my favorite trails with my friend Peter Merrill yesterday. Before we started out, I told him that we had seen a bear a couple of weeks ago near the bottom of Camp Brook Road. The trail that we picked up starts at the top of Charlie Wilson Road, and empties out on Gilead Brook Road.
The trail was very wet, or as my friend put it, “the river was a bit dry.” As we navigated our way down from the top of the trail, I saw a (very) large hoof print in the middle of the trail. Knowing that moose live in that area, this was not a surprise, but I was a little extra vigilant because running into a startled moose is not what I would consider the high point of my bike ride. Fortunately, we did not see any actual moose, just moose prints.
About an hour later, as we were nearing the end of the trail, I kept thinking what it would be like to come up around a bend and see a bear. As we reached a straight part of the trail and I could see more clearly ahead, about 50′ in front of my friend was a young black bear.
I could hardly believe it. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I tried to yell out “It’s a bear!” But I couldn’t find the words and all I managed was “Peter stop!!” He did, and the bear took one look at us and bolted into the woods. For a big, heavy thing, it could move pretty quickly! We took a picture of its claw prints once we were sure it was gone, and then decided not to stick around any longer.