Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ursus Americanus

Here is my field sketch of a juvenile American black bear in repose. I have had mostly positive experiences (so far) with California's robust black bear population. Although they seem very peaceable, like overstuffed labrador retrievers, they are truly wild and should not be trifled with. (they can hook-climb a tall tree in a matter of seconds, and can run much faster than any human in the short distance.) Don't ever try to sneak up on one of them, as I once did in a moment of sheer youthful idiocy. And whatever you do, don't feed them or bring camp food, or smelly deoderants or toothpaste, into your tent with you. I've heard of many cases in which bears have ripped down tents -- and in one case, sat right on top of a sleeping backpacker -- to get to the vittles.

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