SIERRA MADRE, Calif. - A runner on a Sierra Madre hiking trail had a heart-stopping encounter with a bear and her two cubs on November 8.
As the brown bear approached the runner on the narrow trail, the woman demonstrated a remarkable sense of control. Backing away cautiously, she unleashed a powerful growl and followed it with the piercing sound of a whistle. Astonishingly, the bear and her cubs immediately halted their pursuit, demonstrating the effectiveness of the runner's unexpected tactics.
"I thought her growling was very impressive. If I were in that situation, I would do the same thing," said Sierra Madre resident Andrea Marino Lopez.
The runner described the encounter, stating, "Went trail running and turned a blind corner to find a mother bear’s head about 5 inches from my waist and her cubs a few feet behind her."
According to the woman, the trail behind the bears split, offering two paths leading down the mountain. Together with another hiker, they successfully encouraged the bears to take one trail while they descended using the other.
Sierra Madre residents, familiar with bear encounters, shared their own strategies for deterring bears. One resident described using a noise-making device similar to a stun gun, while another mentioned using a big horn, both intended to scare off the bears.
Reflecting on past encounters, residents recounted instances where loud noises, such as banging pots and pans, successfully deterred bears from approaching. The shared experiences have heightened the community's awareness of effective methods to avoid confrontations with wildlife.
Inspired by the runner's bold response, some Sierra Madre residents are now considering adopting similar tactics. In a light-hearted moment, a group of women playfully practiced their bear growls, demonstrating a mix of amusement and preparedness.
As the video circulated, it served as a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant in bear country and being equipped with knowledge on how to respond to wildlife encounters. The Sierra Madre community, appreciative of the brave runner's actions, remains ever watchful and ready to coexist with the local wildlife. The National Park Service has a list of tips for what you should do if you encounter a bear on its website.