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cape cod
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hey all,

Need some advice and some therapy. We're heading out on Tues. and after reading some of the literature and what to do and what to bring, all that sticks in my wife's mind is BEAR SPRAY! All she is thinking of is bear encounters. I know that you certainly need to respect the presence of them but don't know how prominent confrontations are. Some of the trails I'm looking at are Grinell glacier, Iceburg Lake,Hidden Lake, Avalnche Lake, posibly Scenic point. Can anyone supply any stats on encounters comforting thoughts, or advice on how to make this an enjoyable experience? Would guided hikes be a better choice?

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1. Re: bears

According to information from the government, since 1910 there have been only 10 bear related fatalities in Glacier. www.nps.gov/archive/glac/resources/bears2.htm

Seems like driving the roads there will be more dangerous.

Also, the trails you are looking at hiking are some of the more popular trails in the park. When we hiked to Iceburg Lake, for example (a great trail), you were rarely out of sight of another group of hikers. It's tough to imagine a bear getting anywhere near that amount of people. None of the trails you are considering are isolated.

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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2. Re: bears

encounters are many, charges rare and attacks extremely rare

bears don't want to encounter you any more than you do them

there has never been a bear attack with 4 or more people in the group, or so I have been told

bear spray is AlWAYS advisable, but taking your time, being bear aware and talking while hiking should be adaquate

Many Glacier is bear central, that said, you should be a ble to safely watch them on the hillside.

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3. Re: bears

We were just there the end of July and I too was a bit worried about the bear issue. We ended up arriving and missing the two medicine boat which we were going to do the ranger hike and just happened upon another family who had been there a week with boy scouts and they asked us to go with them on the hike there. It was the best introduction to hiking ever...you really are right out there in the wild. But as said before there were many on the trails that we went on...the easier ones...yet beautiful...and we did not carry bear spray but made sure we made a lot of noise especially while going around bends. We did not see any bears on the trails but went out at dusk from Swift Current and saw two grazing on the side of the road.

The second hike we did was ranger led and got our courage up. It was across from Rising Sun Cabins and the boat trip and then hike to the falls. Very nice!

Once you do a couple of hikes you will start feeling good...we did the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and Mount Rainer this summer and Glacier really blows your mind.

Have a great time!!

Cleveland, Ohio
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4. Re: bears

There were lots of bears around Many Glacier last week. No problems but as others have said hike in grpoups and make noise

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for Glacier National Park
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5. Re: bears

While encounters are not frequent, they do happen. There was a terrible grizzly attack when we were there two or three years ago. It was on the Grinnell trail, a father and daughter. They suffered very serious injuries. We had hiked the same trail the day before with no problems. The next day on the trail to Redrock Falls a black bear and two cubs crossed the trail no more than 30 feet in front of us. The first cub just popped up from nowhere. We stopped and heard noise on the side of the trail and it was a lone hiker that had jumped off trail and was hiding behind a large rock as the mother had passed right in front of him. We waited a while and then he hiked on for a long time with us before going on to Swiftcurrent Pass. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, even though encounters are rare you should have bear spray, know how to use it, and as recommended,hike in groups of 4 or more if possible.

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6. Re: bears

This may sound like odd advice, but consider visiting The Great Bear Adventure near Corman (West Glacier). From the safety of your car you can spend time observing several bears who are cared for at this wildlife sanctuary. Perhaps it would take the horror out of the idea of seeing a bear.

The best all around advice is to avoid any possible encounter by sticking to well-traveled trails and making noise before heading around a blind corner.

In my 15 years of living here, there have been no bear fatalities that I can recall. Each year, however, we do lose a tourist or two when someone leans over a sheer drop off ledge too far, attempting to get a better photo. Or folks from the midwest go canoeing in whitewater without lifevests. These are much bigger threats to one's life than bears.

The rangers will be able to give you stats of the current conditions of the trails in question. They track bear activity rigorously.

Most of all, I hope you both enjoy the spectacular beauty of this part of the US.

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for Grand Canyon National Park
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7. Re: bears

We just returned from a wonderful week in Glacier. We were in the Manyglacier area hiking on Thursday and Friday (August 28-29). The Iceberg Lake trail was closed on Friday because of bear activity. Apparently on Thursday many hikers reported seeing a young bear playing with binoculars. (No, I am not joking). One person took a short video and showed the rangers, who closed the area so they could investigate.

We did the ranger-led hike to Grinnell Glacier on Friday and I highly recommend that. It is a beautiful hike and you learn a lot about the geology by hiking with a guide. The ranger learned from her radio that there was another bear near the trail we would use to return to the Josephine Lake boat dock, so she made sure we kept up a conversation (and some singing) through that area. We did not encounter the bear but did see two different ones on the slopes above the trail along the lake as we rode back on the boat.

If you want to hike with the ranger, you need tickets for the 8:30 boat. It is a good idea to buy them in advance---people who lined up to buy them Friday morning were disappointed to learn the boat was already sold out.

The ranger-led hike to Iceberg Lake was discontinued last week due to low staffing, but maybe they will find someone to lead the hike next week.

There were also ranger-led hikes to Scenic Point (once a week) and to Avalanche Lake (daily)---hopefully these will continue next week. You can get the schedule on-line if you want to plan in advance. However, even a nervous hiker like me did not feel any need for a ranger hike to Avalanche Lake. The trail is short and well-populated.

We also did the Highline Trail hike and would highly recommend that one.

We saw many, many people hiking on their own in twos, threes, and fours, and they all seemed perfectly happy to do that. However, I enjoyed the peace of mind that came with hiking with the rangers. Many years ago, we were charged by a grizzly in Denali, and I never want to see one that close again!!!!!

8. Re: bears

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