cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


Scree - March 06, 2011

Grizzly in Snow (NPS Photo by

(NPS Photo by Jim Peaco)

They're Out!

A couple of weeks ago I was hiking in the Smokies and was a bit surprised to see a couple of black bears. Luckily they were a bit surprised to see me also and ran away looking at that crazy guy clanging along with metal sticks (trekking poles).

Well, in Yellowstone the grizzlies are out of their dens. From Yellowstone National Park News Release...

"On Tuesday, March 1, park employees observed grizzly bear tracks on Mary Mountain, which is roughly near the center of the lower loop of the park’s Grand Loop Road.

Bears begin looking for food soon after they emerge from their dens. They are attracted to elk and bison which have died during the winter. Carcasses are an important enough food source that bears will sometimes react aggressively when surprised while feeding on them.

Park regulations require visitors to stay 100 yards from black and grizzly bears at all times. The best defense is to stay a safe distance from bears and use binoculars, a telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look.

Hikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, and keep an eye out for bears. Bear pepper spray has proven to be a good last line of defense, if kept handy and used according to directions when the bear is within 30 to 40 feet.

While firearms are allowed in the park, the discharge of a firearm is a violation of park regulations. Even the park’s law enforcement rangers who carry firearms on duty rely on pepper spray, rather than their weapons, as the most effective means to deal with a bear encounter."

(Yellowstone Park News)


If I had thought that bears were active on my hike, I would have made even more noise. And, if I was in grizzly country I would use any and everything to alert the bears that I was coming.

So if you are ever in grizzly country and hear cymbals clashing on the trail ahead, don't laugh. It might be me or someone else who just doesn't want a surprise, grizzly encounter. Ha!

Guns in the Park.

From the above article, did you notice what the gun policy was in the Park? Visitors are allowed to carry a firearm in the Park, but they are not allowed to discharge the weapon. The best defense against bears is pepper spray.