Peering in the bushes I immediately knew the face and the brown thick fur left me no doubt. Crouching in the bushes a bear 1-2 yards away is looking back at me. I hesitate and step backwards. I am in front of our small group of four. Another couple hikes with us out fear. We met them where the trail opens to a beautiful site Yosemite Upper Waterfalls. The falls are incredibly high and the water seems to tumble and plunge down.
People hiking up the trail inform us they have seen a bear. This news surprises me; because Yosemite Valley is full of people. Bears typically avoid people. We could hear kids shooting it turned out to be 35 teenagers and they saw a bear.
My husband and I reassure the other couple, “bears are easily scared off by humans.” My thoughts are bears stay well hidden or wonder off in opposite direction. This had been our experience in Alaska, besides a group of teenagers surely the bear was long gone after seeing that group. I am hiking feeling buoyant that the uphill climbing is over.
In our group no one else sees the bear at first, but my husband looks and agrees there is a bear near the trail. Walking forward only puts us closer. I suggest we scare the bear so he will retreat. A group of people waving their arms is suppose to look menacing to a bear. I mustard up a mild, “hey bear – shoo!” I want to scare the bear but not provoke the bear.
The bear pauses for second and then moves out of the bushes coming out around to our backside and saunters uphill on the trail. We signal for the other couple to go downhill. I said to the guy you can turn around and see the bear, he said, “I don’t want to see a bear!” However, he does give a quick backward glance.
My husband and I stand on the trail and watch the bear go. Wildlife resides in our National Parks, making a chance encounter a privilege and a thrill.