In recent Catskills adventures there has been evidence of bears (clawed trees, scat, digging holes, etc). Lots of it. Two weeks ago we finally saw one. Luckily, my girl Sunny and I were in a car, turning around, but there it was, a black bear, with a honey brown nose and an enormous rump. We stared at each other for quite some time. Sunny and I both scrambled for our phones to take pictures but it took off back into the woods before we could get a snap. The only evidence of the sighting is a blurry cell phone picture of a black smudge in some tall grass.
Of course we were fine in the car. But what if we had been on a trail? I certainly would've had no idea what to do and Sunny, being from LA, would've probably been in the same boat.
The Catskills have the highest density of black bears in New York State. They can also run up to 40 MPH and can climb and swim. So, if you see a bear, here are some tips:
- Make some noise!
- Avoid heavily berried areas, bears love them!
- Bears have really good smell but if the wind is blowing into you, they won't smell you coming, so use extra caution in windy conditions so you don't sneak up on a bear.
- Back away slowly - don't run away! They will instinctively chase you.
- Don't stare at it.
- Don't get between a mother and her cubs.
Pretty straight forward, but not necessarily intuitive. I thought a good reminder would help us steer clear of any sort of Timothy Treadwill incident.