Photographer's Note

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Bear

North fork of the St. Vrain River
Wild Basin Area
Rocky Mountain National Park

Update July 16. 2007.. my Bear made the news:

One of my favorite places to photograph flowing water is the Wild Basin area of the park. The North St. Vrain river cascades through thick dark woods along the trail side .. sometimes wide .. sometimes narrow .. over several waterfalls. A truly wonderful place.

I had a day off yesterday .. my wife and daughters are in California seeing family .. Andrew was in school .. So after I got Andrew off to school I headed up to Wild Basin .. figuring the thick woods and cloudy skies would have some potential even for mid day images.

Whenever I solo hike I try to stick to busy and popular trail systems ... Wild Basin fits the bill. I had a hard time finding a place in the large parking lot. The trail was busy until the afternoon thunderclouds rolled in.

This was one of my last images of the day .. a nice spot along the river about a half mile from the trail head. I then continued down the trail and ate my lunch sitting atop Upper Copeland Falls

From there it is just a third of a mile (around 500 meters) back to the trail head. I had loitered too long at the falls and it was now getting to be time I had to hurry back to my van to get home before Andrew's bus returned from school. So I hurried down the trail (unfortunately camera in bag).

I was rounding a corner very close to where I took this image and standing (on all fours) in the trail in front of me (maybe 30 meters) was the largest black bear I have ever seen. A very long second passed where we stared at each other ..
I did a bad thing and took a step back .. luckily he was more scared of me than I was of him .. and as soon as I moved he took off running into the woods ...

I hurried back up the trail ... reported my experience to the ranger at the trail head .. The rangers acted quickly ... I had driven the few miles up the gravel road to the highway ... when I met a group of Rangers towing a bear trap (large cylindrical cage with a door) .. down to the trail .. apparently to trap my new friend and relocate him farther into the back country.

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Additional Photos by John McLaird (jmcl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2514 W: 131 N: 4070] (14535)
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