Bear in the North Woods

We saw good friends married in the mouth of a giant musky. We saw (and heard) lumberjacks tenderly serenade the newlyweds. We saw a lot of waterslides, trees, and log-themed buildings.

And we saw a bear.

Because what trip to northern Wisconsin is truly complete without a bear sighting?

Dusk was nearly gone, and the wife, kids, a friend, and I were sitting at some picnic tables about twenty-five yards from the edge of the lake. We were watching some bats go after their supper, when my daugther said, “Look, an animal!” Sure enough, a large dark shape had appeared at the edge of the dock area. The bear ambled towards as–and no mistaking what it was by both size and distinctive gait–at a fair pace, whereupon we adults began clapping and making some noise. This bear had no interest in us, and passed along the water’s edge before us. “Ooh!” my young son said. “We want to keep making noise, let it know we’re here,” my friend said. (She, being a bear veteran after working summers at Yellowstone.) And then the bear was gone.

He was a black bear, not all that big, though a lot bigger than me. I didn’t feel like we were in danger. I figure he was pretty confident around people, as we were in the middle of a decent sized resort. Probably just making his garbage rounds. At the same time, none of us thought quickly enough to grab the camera from the stroller and snap a pic, which is a shame. Talking with some folks, it seems the bears and wolves have made comeback in the cold, cold north–so much so, that they’re becoming a nuisance. Just goes to show you that environmental legislation can pay dividends over time.

All in all, a pretty cool moment within a pretty cool weekend.

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