By Marc Evans, KNLT Board Chair
On a recent visit to Pine Mountain I decided, as I often do, to drive a little bit on the Little Shepherd Trail before heading home. As you may know, there is no “little bit” on the Little Shepherd Trail, so I often argue with myself about whether or not I take the trail or just head back to Frankfort since it can add two to three hours to the trip home! Well, luckily, my ‘stay in the mountains as long as possible’ side won (as it usually does), and I drove up Pine Mountain to the trail. Just a ways on the road, I saw this bear just hanging out. I sat in the car and watched him for a long time. Mostly he just lay there eating copious amounts of acorns while keeping an eye on me. He used the top of his large paw as a plate. He would pick up a bunch of acorns in his mouth and then put them on his paw and eat them off of his “foot plate”! It was very cool behavior to watch.
Then he decided to check me out and before I had time to react he came over to the car and stuck his head and huge clawed feet against my window. He then proceeded to climb over my Subaru and even sat for awhile on the roof! Another car pulled up and the bear got down to see who was arriving. As the bear approached the other car the driver threw his car in reverse and backed away at a high speed. I thought the guy was going to drive off the road and crash! The bear turned back towards me with a look on his face that looked as if he was saying “Geez, what’s the matter with that guy?!”
I’m pretty sure this is the same bear I saw a couple of weeks prior in the same vicinity. I actually worry about this bear’s long term survival because he is not frightened enough of people. But he was so cool to watch! Just a normal day in the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor!