One of the things Susan Bond had hoped for, after recovering from a grizzly attack last fall, was that people would let others know when they saw bear tracks, especially around popular hiking areas.
She received just such a heads up last Thursday from hiker Lyle Grisedale of Kimberley.
Bond and her husband, Peter Moody, were both badly injured when they surprised a grizzly sow and her two cubs last November while walking near their home on LD Ranch Road. Grisedale was hiking on the Wycliffe prairie last Thursday — as the crow flies not all that far from where Bond and Moody were attacked.
Grisedale says he accessed the hiking area off Porteous Road and walked through the gate toward the second butte when he saw the tracks. He says he’s hiked this particular area for years and never seen grizzly sign, but that doesn’t mean the bears aren’t there.
“I’ve never come across tracks like that before but this one just happened to step into soft dirt close to the creek,” he said. “If it was walking on the grass, you’d never see the tracks.”
Grisedale said he wanted to get the word out because this part of Wycliffe is very popular with hikers. He also contacted Susan Bond.
“Last fall grizzly tracks were sighted in the days before and after our attack,” Bond said. “I do want people to be aware that bears are out there. One thing people may not know is that grizzlies are primarily vegetarians. At this time of year they are after the new grass, shoots and roots, tubers. As vegetation is starting to green up, the bears are out there.”
Grisedale says there is no doubt in his mind that the tracks he photographed are those of a grizzly.
“There’s no black bear with a foot that long. And you can see the claws. It’s definitely a grizzly and a big one.”