Stay Safe Hiking in Bear Country

Stay Safe Hiking in Bear Country

Thankfully, there was a happy ending this time. Each year, many of us set out to embrace summer by getting outside and exploring nature. Usually, you come back with a smile and perhaps a few mosquito bites. But every now and then, something goes wrong.

I walk every day in the woods near my home in Willow, Alaska. Needless to say, I was relieved to read in the Anchorage Daily News this morning, “Missing Palmer hiker found alive after reportedly beingcharged by bears on Pioneer Ridge Trail”. What started off as a routine outing suddenly became a potentially life or death situation when the hiker got off trail.

Locals are always concerned when someone goes missing. A large search and rescue effort was put into place as soon as this hiker’s husband learned she was charged by a bear then her cell phone died. Needless to say, he must have been worried and for good reason. This came right on heels of another local story with a good ending when two campers survived a bear attack in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (See “Bearattacked and injured sleeping campers in their tent on the shore of SkilakLake, officials say”)

What is the lesson? BE PREPARED! Have a plan, carry the right gear, and know what to do in an emergency. It is easy to get lost. Getting found alive can be much harder.

And if you want an easy way to carry your bear spray when out on the trails, check out this bear spray belt system from our friends at Scat Belt. It's a convenient way to make sure you have ready access to your spray and you can even cary other gear on it.

18th Jun 2021 Kim Erickson

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