Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Montana--Day 4, Part II

As I mentioned, after our day of driving and short hikes, I was eager to get back on the bike, even for a quick spin. My National Geographic Map showed a trail near the east entrance of Glacier that apparently allowed bikes. Cool, for VERY few national parks allow bikes on the trails.

I gathered my map, my bike, and headed off, leaving Jean near the visitor's center with her book(s).

The trail is called the Old Flathead River Ranger Station Trail, and it, like everywhere else in Glacier, was grizzly country.

I like to think of myself as brave, and I tend not to shy away from activities that have an element of danger, but while out on the trail, alone, the mind can wander, and you start to think exactly how you'd stack up in a fight against a bear.  I did some quick calculations, factoring in the few mixed martial arts classes that I had taken and determined that I'd be dead.

Of course, the number of bear attacks appears to be exceedingly low, and some bears simply break into people's houses in home invasions. Of course, this was just sent to me...But I was still probably more at risk by being attacked by a human. However, the mind, the mind does play tricks. As fully grown adult male, I'm not used to thinking of myself as prey in any situation, and when mountain biking, NONE of the trails I ride at home have predators that I need to watch for, unless you also count the ticks and mosquitoes.

video

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Anyway, I followed the recommended precautions, used my bear-bell (which in bear-speak is known as the dinner bell), made lots of noise, and kept my eyes open.

It would make for a VERY cool story now, if I could say that I did see a bear, but I didn't. I saw nothing. It was still a good ride though, fairly buff singletrack, with the occasional tree down across the trail. I didn't make it to the end as I was hoping, because while I was watching for bears, I had to keep my eyes on yet another threat--a fast moving thunderstorm. After a few claps that seemed very close and a couple of flashes of lightening, I decided to head back to the visitor's center.

For what it's worth, the storm blew through and never really amounted to anything, but that's okay, even though there were no near death experiences, the post-ride beer (not bear) still tasted good.

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