Last Friday was a good animal encounter day. My coworker Ann and I had just set off down a dirt road towards the area we were supposed to cover for the day when around the bend of the road I spotted something brown. It took about half a second for me to recognize that it was a bear. I said “Bear” to Ann who quickly looked up and we stopped. The bear looked at us for a few seconds, hesitating, and then turned to take off from us. Having seen 20 bears on the A.T. I was not afraid, definitely cautious and was planning on the whole waving hands and yelling thing if needed, but I was happy to know that I was going to overreact. Of course our cameras weren’t out. At that point I hadn’t been carrying mine in my work vest and it was safe in my backpack. We got them cameras out anyway just in case we spotted the bear again as we eased down the road. At the point I thought the bear was I started looking for prints and found one! No bear though.
A little while later on the same road it was Ann that spotted the porcupine. Now, I’ve been wanting to see one for awhile now as I never saw one on the A.T. We heard all about them licking salt off boots at shelters but never actually saw one. This one crossed the road about 20′ in front of us and didn’t even pause to look at us. Just ambled across like nothing was going on. Again, no camera. I’d already replaced mine back to my backpack.
Lesson is: Keep camera in work vest!
So in comparison to your hand, how big was this paw print? I think I would have been overreacting no matter what. I would have been yelling and waving anything. My hair would stand on end.
Bears are great until they charge you (been there…no fun) 🙂