I didn’t get the chance to ask the book clubbers for bear stories, but I did hear from Garth who owns the store. As you might expect of a person living in Montana, he has a few great bear stories.
This story, which I first posted over a year ago, caused Garth to speculate that, “camping is something a bookstore owner should probably not get involved in.”
I hope for the opposite. If we had more bookstore owners/campers like Garth, the wild would be a better place.
Garth tells his story:
“In Glacier, we saw a massive (looked massive) grizzly on a hillside above us. Maybe 300 yards from us? It was of course just browsing, ignoring us. It looked as large as a Volkswagen bus, even from a distance. I tried to get a good photo but couldn’t hold the camera steady enough, and then rain started coming down hard so we had to get moving.”
This grizzly is huge.
What I find interesting about Garth’s encounter is that it was ordinary. As he points out, the grizzly ignored them. I had a similar encounter, where the grizzly was equally disinterested in me. This is consistent with my direct experience of bears. They are either apprehensive of or disinterested in humans.
It is also why the predatory bear attack in Algonquin Park, which became the springboard for my novel The Bear, has always been at the back of my mind. My experience of bears said one thing and my knowledge of this particular attack said the other.
How to reconcile the two?