Mount Rainier is an amazing sight to behold. It’s a beautiful place to be. It’s a fun mountain to visit. And it’s a good place to learn about many things. I personally partook in a great lesson a few years ago… when we encountered a massive bear. And by massive I mean… well, let me explain.
My wife and I had never seen a bear in the wild. Many of our friends have had experiences with bears. And we were always told that Brown Bears were not to be messed with. They said Black Bears were not really a threat, unless you behave foolishly. But what we were not told is that those names do not necessarily reflect the actual color of fur on the bear. Specifically, we were never told Black Bears can be brown.
Now, take a couple with this mindset, and add in a few kids screaming (with their parents chasing behind them) that a bear’s coming to get them, and put all these people on a 5 foot wide hiking trail with nowhere to go on either side. Then add in the brown bear that, because of the angle and pathway, looks to be well over 6ft tall at the hunches and somewhere around 1000 pounds.
You don’t have any happy campers here.
But as it turns out, Mount Rainier is not home to any actual Brown Bears…though it does temporarily house uneducated campers. As you have probably already guessed, things worked out just fine with the bear (it was actually pretty small), and nobody was hurt. We look back and laugh pretty hard now, but at the time we thought it was the bitter end for us.
It’s easy to avoid an experience like this by taking some time to learn about the wildlife at Mount Rainier. In fact, you can find a greater enjoyment if you know what to look for, and how to react when you’re around the animals.
So I’ll be doing a series of posts on the wildlife in Mount Rainier National Park. We’ll attempt to look at what animals live in the park, where to find them, and what to do if you do happen to find them. We’ll also take a look at policies and issues related to bringing pets to Mount Rainer.
I want to encourage you to post comments, questions, and suggestions for material to cover in future Mount Rainier posts. Posts on Mount Rainier will likely be a regular weekly installment on this blog, Lord willing, and I hope you will all enjoy them. I hope we can all look and see what an amazing thing God has done in regards to this truly majestic place in the Pacific Northwest.
For more information on Mt. Rainier or for mountaineering resources, check out Whittaker Mountaineering.