1600-Bear Encounter

No one wants a close encounter with the bear kind, but sometimes they just happen and decisions made in split seconds result in “oh shit what did I just do?” moments. I was north of Coldfoot and hadn’t seen another vehicle in about an hour. I was riding about 50 mph on a decent section of the road. I came around the corner and found myself on a 100 yard long narrow bridge. As I entered the bridge I noticed a large black thing in the middle. At my speed I was already committed to crossing the bridge. The large black thing heard me coming, turned around and began lumbering off the opposite direction. I geared down to about 30 mph and I was committed to passing this beast on the bridge. As I got up to him I realized this was an 800 pound black bear and muttered out load to him in my helmut, “please don’t do anything stupid.” He continued lumbering in his lane and I shot by in mine. As I passed him I realized how large he was and that I could have kicked him with my boot. As I passed and saw him in my rear-view mirror, the panic breath went through me. All he had to do was move a little to his right and I would have gone down. Would the bear have run off, or would he have had a nice free snack. 

I didn’t have my GoPro on at this time nor did I stop to get out the camera. This encounter came so fast that photo history doesn’t exist. So, I found a photo of the bridge on Google Street View (yes Google has photographed the entire Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay) and Photoshopped in an appropriate bear on the bridge.

Photoshopped bridge simulation.

Quite the big boy (photo stolen from the web)