Monday, November 23, 2009
My First Virginia Bear Sighting
Yesterday, I was out riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the climb from the James River to Apple Orchard Mountain. It is a good climb with an average of 5.1% grade for 12.5 miles. I was almost to the top when I saw a bear (artist's rendition to the right). It was small but really fat (probably due to seasonal hyperphagia). When the bear saw me it tore up a steep slope (60%) and dislodged some rocks which came crashing down onto the road right where I was standing (by this time, I had stopped and I actually had to move get out of the way of the falling rocks). After I made it to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain (the highest point on the BRPW in Virginia), I came back past the spot and there was a “Beware of Fallen Rocks” sign right in front of the fallen rock! This is my 6th lifetime bear sighting and, as the title of the post suggests, my first in VA. I have also seen bears in ID, MT, CO, MA, and VT. Oddly, I have seen bears in six different states and I have never seen more than one bear in a single state. This is also my first bear seen while cycling. The others where all encountered while hiking (ID and MT) or running (CO, VT, MA).