Is it a rock or black bear? This may sound like a silly question, but I’ve cranked hard on my steering wheel many times to loop back to check out a black bear, only to realize minutes later it was only a rock bear. Embarrassingly, I’ve even bobbed in the distance, climbed onto the bow of the boat to lay back on the windshield for a comfortable viewing, while I waited to drift closer to the fat bear rolling rocks on the beach. When I got there, I had been staring at a shadow the whole time.
The rocky shoreline is dotted with dark black blotches. Every day I spot rock bears, shadow bears, stump bears and log bears. And after a winter off of bear watching it always seems like you have to retrain your eyes to pick them out from a distance. On March 24, I miraculously hung out with the first black bear of the spring season on an inconspicuous rocky beach I have never seen a bear on before.
When I spotted the dark shape, cruising by at full speed, I questioned myself if I should even turn around. My mind felt pretty sure it was a “rock bear” but my heart kept nagging otherwise, so I ripped around and slowly came around the corner…
I chilled with him for a long time, my boat crunching on the barnacle encrusted rocks of the shoreline near him, as he lazily sauntered from rock to rock. With either a gentle swat of his paw or both arms hugging giant boulders, he rolled back his type of refrigerator door and munched up the crusty crustaceans and wriggling eel-like blennies.
Don’t forget to always stop at rock bears!