Friday, August 7, 2009

A Bear Story on Rick Mountain Ranch

I went to Buena Vista and Salida on Wednesday and Thursday for a research trip and Ann Parker's book signing. My friend, Bev McGuire, joined me in this research adventure and on Thursday morning, we found a little more adventure than we had anticipated!

It was important to me to go to Ernest Christison's ranch this week because several key events happened this week, 126 years ago. I just needed to see the land and feel it. I'll talk more about this and other adventures and discoveries in later posts.

I drove up Ute Trail Thursday morning in my "new" 1998 F-150 pickup and turned south toward the Rick Mountain Ranch. We took the road that goes to the east side of the ranch where the aspen grove is. This is definite "off-roading" and I even had to try out the 4-wheel-drive (it works good!). Bev and I got out of the pickup and walked around some, enjoying the cool breeze in the mountains on a hot day. We started driving west toward the pond, chatting away, when a bear plopped down into the road from a bank up ahead of us!

I slammed on the brakes. Bev and I stared at the bear in amazement and the bear looked back at us with the same startled expression. Then Bev and I fumbled around trying to find our cameras and snap pictures as fast as we could. The bear got over its shock and ran back up the bank. I drove up to where we last saw the bear and we saw it again in the trees (picture 2). It disappeared again and I drove further. This time we had a closer view of the bear as it turned over a log looking for bugs (picture 3). We thought this bear looked a little bigger and had a lighter muzzle and Bev wondered if we were actually seeing two bears! It moved up the mountain, so I drove down the road to the next curve where we could look back. We sat there watching for it a few minutes and all of a sudden, the bear burst out of the trees running across the road and down the gulch (picture 4).

Bev and I didn't see the bear again. And we never saw 2 bears at the same time, but looking at the pictures it appears the first 2 pics may be a smaller, darker bear (maybe a cub) and the other is a cinnamon color with a light muzzle and somewhat bigger. Did we see a mama bear and her cub?

Even though we headed down the same direction the bear went, we didn't see the bears again. And believe me, we were looking!

Sorry Ann Parker, your booksigning was the highlight of our trip, but you were trumped by a bear or two!

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