Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

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I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bears, Icebergs, and a Scary Hike

For years, I have wanted to hike to Iceberg Lake. It’s a long hike for me (10 miles round trip), and I kept thinking I’d be too old if I didn’t do it soon. The trail has been closed for the past 5 days because of grizzly bear activity, but this morning it was finally open. I took off up the trail, and all was well until a mile in, when grizzly bears were spotted on both sides of the trail. Lots of people turned back, but since I’m not getting any younger, I quickly took a picture and hurried on.

I caught up with 3 very nice, brave guys from Ohio, and stuck with them the whole way. We got to the lake just fine and it was a beautiful hike. Lots of wildflowers, including bear grass, on the trail, and icebergs in the lake.

However, this was supposed to be a very popular trail, and when no one else showed up, we realized they must have closed the trail again. Uh-oh... I had been counting on lots of human traffic to keep the bears away.

The trip back was a little scary, but we were rescued half-way by a ranger who escorted us down. And he didn’t even yell at us. He did point out a big pile of bear poop that we had stepped over on the way up. These rangers really enjoy looking at poop.


Blogger the peripatetic poodle said...

Didn't you have bear spray along? I made the mistake of reading 'bear attack' books when I was up there once, and got really freaked out by bears. There is something about a survivor's description of the sound the bear's teeth make when they are scraping against your skull, partly scalping you.

I shot off the can of bear spray after it got old. The wind was only 5 mph, and I shot upwind. My upper respiratory tract siezed up, and I couldn't breathe for about five seconds. But I could still run!--back to the trailer to wash off my face.

Since I only caught a tiny fraction of the bear spray, a direct hit must do a real job on the bear. But I wonder if I would have the self-control to wait until the bear is 10 feet away, hold my breath, close my eyes, and run from the "backsplash"?

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does a wild bear _____ in the woods? Go here to see: BearCam

- Scott

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Lloyd said...

A book that I read in the last six months. "Mark of the Grizzly" written by Scott McMillion is an excellent guide for how to travel when in bear country. Using numerous instances of bear attacks, the author describes what happened and the aftermath of the attack and healing. The chapters include interviews with victims and the game managers who sorted out the details after the attacks.

After reading the book, I vowed that I would never hike alone where the Grizzlies hang out. That will include Glacier where I plan to explore next summer.

Diana, I am enjoying arm chair travel with your beautiful pictures and stories of your adventures.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Ohio Ron said...

Diana, this is Ron, the subject of your "butt" shots on the Iceberg Lake Trail. I really enjoyed looking at all of your pictures. I'm sure all four of us will remember that hike for a long time to come. Thanks for referring to us as brave guys rather than stupid or crazy.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Corrie said...

You're an IDIOT!!! I don't want to hear about you hiking next to grizzly bears. Bad, Mommy. -Corrie

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Hi there cousin! Been looking at your photos since your dad (a.k.a. uncle) sent me your web site. Great shots! We went geocaching at Muddy Run and had to crawl through heavy brush and a lot of deer poop. Guess that seals it - I am related to you!

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

I think my daughter and I passed you that Tuesday morning at Iceberg. We had been there since Friday and eagerly checked the trail posting every day to see if it was open yet. When we found out Tuesday morning we headed on up about 7:30 am. We had a bear walk toward us on the trail on the way up. He got off the trail and we continued up to the lake. When we came back there was a ranger who escorted us down. Had a great talk with the ranger. Seems she has been spending winters in Antartica the last couple of years.

Happy trails.

11:01 AM  

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