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I had some extra time to burn while visiting Montana in September 2016 after keynoting at the Montana Hospital Association conference.
So I decided to go on a hike in the Montana mountains. They looked so pretty. I found the Sypes Canyon trail to be fairly close by so I headed there right after sunrise.
Another woman was maybe a half a mile ahead of me when I was getting out of my car, just to be greeted by this sign warning me of bear and mountain lion sightings:
I read it, instagrammed the photo, because it’s interesting. And then continued on my hike. But that sign stayed in the back of my mind. What if I do run into a bear or mountain lion? How can I run away in this terrain? Not that I could I outrun them anyway. But I kept going because it was quite beautiful and a good workout, though not a lot of steps with the constant up and down and walking around rocks, etc.
I noticed every bird moving nearby. Every little critter rushing away. This was quite an adventure and I’m glad I didn’t bring my headphones. I wanted to hear what was going on around me.
And there were a lot of noises of wildlife around me. But no bear, so I kept going.
Wait. There was another loud noise. That certainly didn’t sound like a field mouse, or is it called a mountain mouse? No it was something bigger. Much bigger.
Not to ruin the suspense here, my friends, but I’m sure you realize that it wasn’t a beer since I am publishing this post. It was another person moving toward me really fast using those walking sticks. He was doing his morning workout as well – it appeared. My heartbeat was mostly going up because I thought it was a bear – not because I was doing the best workout of my life.
This hike was just too intense for this city kid at heart. I turned around and started walking back. By the way going downhill is a lot harder in my opinion than walking up hill.
Who knows, chances that I would have run into a bear were likely slim but that sign alerted me of somewhat recent sightings. My attention was up and I made decisions based on the information available to me.
This is another reason why all of us should always share knowledge (aka authentic stories)! And in the right locations and on the correct channels. People can only make decisions based on what they know.
My Twitter friend James Legan, an MD in Montana, tweeted to me after this published that I should carry bear spray with me when in Bear Country. I’ll know that for next time. He said grizzlies can outrun horses at 100 yards, too.
Here are some other pictures from my trip to Montana, if you are interested: