Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Bear-ly too close

Marty’s photo of the day #2885: Last weekend, in Yellowstone National Park, we were going to hike up an old-favorite closed road that Deb and I had hiked before. Then I spotted an unmarked trail going off to the side and suggested we follow it instead. The trail went into a narrow valley and eventually paralleled another back road. A man on the road above us called down, “There’s a bear up ahead!” I live in bear territory, so I became more curious than nervous. Seconds later, I spotted two black bears, leisurely headed directly for us. We looked for a spot where we could slowly climb up onto the back road. The bears kept coming, but in an unaggressive manner, allowing me to shoot a series of photos. I was using a lightweight telephoto lens, so the bear wasn’t as close as it looks here. Still, I can’t ever remember being quite this close to a bear in the wild before. Being that we were hiking, we were the only ones on the road without a place to get away. Had the bears taken a few more steps before turning, we would have ended up jumping into some stranger’s car!

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