Embed Mamma black bear and two cubs

Mamma black bear and two cubs As brown as these bears are, they are indeed still black bears. As far as I know we don't have any confirmed Grizzlies living in Washington, and definitely not this far south (there's been some unconfirmed sightings up near the Canadian border, I think). Update  - it is thought there may be 15-30 grizzlies living in Washington, but still none as far south as Rainier. 

Unlike parts of the east coast, seeing bears in the wild out here is still a relatively rare thing. In all of my hiking years this is probably the longest amount of time I've been able to observe them at this type of distance. I've only been closer once (came around a corner and surprised one once - we both split in opposite directions pretty darn quick). This mamma seemed pretty unconcerned about us. She was much more interested in grazing the huckleberries that grow in the subalpine meadow. She probably doesn't have much more time up there before it starts to snow - maybe a couple of weeks at the most, so her main concern is to put on as much winter weight as possible. The little ones were more wary. It took about 10 min for them to move off of the trail far enough that we felt comfortable passing them. Fortunately there were a few other hikers around at that point and she was otherwise occupied or we may have had a bit of a wait…. I clapped my hands and yelled, she totally ignored me :p. It wasn't until hikers started coming up the trail in the opposite direction that the bears moved off to the side a bit more.

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