In what seems like eons ago, when I was driving to my bank in Toronto, Ohio, I used to post a daily count of whitetail deer I saw driving the classic back road farm country of Ohio. Well, deer aren't very common here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but Black Bears are. And while sightings aren't a daily occurrence, they are one of the most sought-after things when people come to visit.
So I thought I'd share my Black bear stories since I've lived here.
- The first sighting was barely a "sight" at all. We had lived here for only a couple months when I went out onto my front steps around 10pm, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark mass in the front yard under the front window. As soon as the bear saw me, it ran across the front yard and into the night. I tried to get Alli to come outside and see it, but it was already gone. But it caused quite a stir in our circle of homes as lights went on all over the place as it ran through the other yards.
- Alli did get to see the second bear, unfortunately it was a dead six month old we found when exploring the area.
- During early spring of this year, I was on my way to work and two bears were behind a restaurant in downtown Black Mountain. One of them was HUGE, and it started making appearances all around town and was the topic of conversation everywhere and even made newspaper headlines. Easily the biggest bear I've ever seen.
- The next bear sighting was when our friends Kyle and Andrea were here to visit. We were driving a back country road to visit a mountain-top development, when we came around a curve in the road to find a mama bear and her three cubs. That was super cool, even though my ears are still ringing from Andie screaming.
- The next bear sighting was on a drive to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon. I saw a black head peaking out from under a guardrail on a small bridge over a creek. I slowed down and watched the bear crawl onto the road and then run across it and into the field right behind me.
- A week later, Alli and I were driving home from the same grocery store and saw a bear in the backyard of someone's house.
- And then just a couple weeks ago, I was walking my dog Clark around our loop of houses where we live, and a bear was trying to get into a trash can in front of a garage. It saw us and took off, with Clark whining and pulling on the leash. He so wanted to play with the big fuzzy thing he surely must have thought was another dog.
And there's my bear sightings for the past year.