Guys and Bears

by kfrego

Our family made several trips to Kalispell, Montana and Glacier National Park while we lived in Spokane. We would stay in rental cabins. Dad would do a lot of fishing. We would make family sight seeing trips to see the scenery and wildlife. The cabins were along a small river or large creek and not far from the main highway.

There were a lot more bears than people in the areas of cabins and campgrounds. The bears were always causing problems. The garbage cans had to be enclosed and covered, but the bears always knew how to get the garbage out of them. We would see some bears during the day, but once it started getting dark they were everywhere. If we were outside after dark we had to stay close to our campfire and cabin.

Late one afternoon dad took me fishing along a small river within walking distance of the cabin. We crossed the river on a highway bridge and got well away from the highway and cabins to fish. We hit a nice stretch of river. There was a lone fisherman across the river from us. We had about twenty feet of gravel with a real steep bank on our side.   The other fisherman was standing on a bank and dropping his line into the river. Dad was fishing and my attention was on the rocks along the waters edge. The fisherman across the river from us began picking up rocks and throwing them over our heads. We were both pretty bewildered as to why he was throwing rocks over our heads. The rocks weren’t  close to us, but going directly over us.

Dad was getting a little agitated with the rocks. He put his fishing pole down and stood with his hands on his hips. The guy across the river started waving frantically at us and threw a couple more rocks while motioning at something behind us. We turned around and a big black bear was on the edge of the bank behind us. The bear would walk a short distance, come right to the edge of the bank, and look down on us. Dad’s first response was to holler to the fisherman on the bank across the river, “Hey you dumb son of a b…., if you want to throw rocks at that damned bear, wait until he’s on your side of the river”. The guy was gone in a heartbeat. The bear had seen all it wanted to see.

Dad had established his dominance…….and the poor bear probably just wanted a drink out of the river.