This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Fleeting. I immediately knew which image to post.
In summer 2000, Terry and I took off to visit the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah, along with our new dog Rex (recently sprung from the Denver dog jail). We stopped for lunch and then climbed back into the truck to continue exploring. Terry slowly drove down a 4WD road through the trees. We were no more than 70 yards away from our picnic spot when I suddenly saw a bear standing up on her hind legs! I was speechless…literally. I jabbed Terry’s arm and pointed, stuttering until I finally got one word out: “BEAR!!”
He stopped the truck, and we saw that she was accompanied by two cubs. She immediately ordered them up a tree and started to retreat. I found my trusty point-and-shoot Pentax in the glove compartment and started snapping away as quickly as it would let me. Mama Bear quickly changed her mind and called her cubs down from the tree, and they followed her off into the forest. Although the entire encounter probably lasted less than 2 minutes, Terry and I were thrilled with our wild bear sighting (my first ever!).
This was the pre-digital era, so I had to take the film to my local grocery store for processing. I waited for what seemed like an eternity to pick up my precious bear photos. (Remember those days before instant digital gratification?) In my mind’s eye I could see the bear and her cubs so clearly. I was sure I had taken a photo worthy of National Geographic! When I finally saw the photographs, I laughed out loud. To this day we call this image my “bear butt photo.” A fleeting glimpse, indeed.
P.S. Later that day ANOTHER bear, a small juvenile black bear, ran across the 4WD road ahead of us. So in one day I had my first and second bear sightings in the wild!