Not Faster Than a Bear

We have lots of unique stories and sayings in the West. One has to do with bears. When hiking in grizzly country, you always want to go in a group. The larger the group, the more noise you make going through the forest. This warns bears of approaching people and they move out of the area. People are even told to wear little bells to help make noise. Bear encounters can be dangerous.

It used to be that I was a fairly fast hiker. The older I get, the slower I go. Or maybe, everything else is speeding up and I am still the same. Not sure, but these days I am usually near the back of the pack. This is not a good place to be in bear country.

When going to mountains, you want someone in the group who walks slower than you. At least, you want someone along that you can outrun. A person new to hiking in the mountains may wonder how it will help to run if a bear comes after you. “Don’t you know that you cannot outrun a bear?” That is very true. We cannot. But in a group, we don’t have to outrun a bear, just one person. As long as you are ahead of that one person, you are safe.

When this explanation is given before we start a hike, everyone looks at me and they feel safe. They have confidence they can outrun the old man. Well, I have news for them. They have never seen me run from a bear.

Stay safe and always remember to bring someone slower than you when hiking in bear country. It could save your life. Hmmm. This might explain why I keep getting asked to go hiking?


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