With an opening in my schedule and the mountains calling I found my way 'home' to all that I love. There are many, but there are two stories I'll share.
On my way to the Tokopah Falls I was at the shuttle stop and noticed some movement in the woods. It was a bear, young, maybe one-hundred fifty pounds. I calmed the waiting tourists but something said I should inform the Ranger so I set off to the kiosk to let him know. He was in the middle of a conversation but the moment I said bear we were off. I've run into the children of the forest so I was happy to help point her out and help the Ranger take a video log. The shuttle arrived, and seconds after Bear Management so I decided to stay and help. My parents had been Bear Techs years back so I knew the drill. As it turns out this was a 'problem' bear known as B17. She was about five at one-hundred forty pounds and had recently taken some M&M's from a camper's tent. It seems a seventeen-year-old girl went to sleep with a bag of M&Ms in her tent. Sometime that night B17 slit the tent, took the bag, and made off without anyone noticing. B17 was on 'The Watch List' and they were desperate to keep her safe for the rest of season. Long story short, the Bear Tech later told me he tracked her based on what I gave them and tracked her to a meadow. They shot her in the butt six times with rubber bullets and hoped the sting would help her find her way away from the easy food campers provide. It's sad but A Fed Bear Is A Dead Bear.
The next day we went to Kings Canyon and stopped at End Of The Road to check out the Wilderness Station. There were two John Muir Trail hikers, and having been I started asking them some questions. How were the trail conditions this year, what was your favorite thing, were there any difficutlties, etc. I learn a lot from others on the trail and always like to know what works and what doesn't. Somewhere the conversation led to them saying they were sad they hadn't seen a bear, and on cue as if it were planned I looked over their shoulders and said Like That One? There was Kings Bear walking across the trail heading toward the back country. Like B17 she was young, probably three to five years old, about one hundred and fifty pounds, but a different coloration. More tan and black than the classic black we are accustom to. I ran to the car, switched lenses, and ran down the trail after her. I've been around blacks most of my life so I know the rules, and with a deep respect for them, I kept my distance. It wasn't easy getting a shot, but she stopped for just a minute and posed for me. Such a beautiful bear!
Kings Bear is a last second capture while visiting Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.
- Brutal honesty is best! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"