Blondielocks and the Three Bears

Blondielocks and the Three Bears

We saw a mass of cars filling a parking lot near the petrified tree. Previously, where there were cars big critters were making an appearance. Parking the car near a National Park film crew van we made our way down a wooded path getting excited for what we might find. Down the road a crowd of people gathered around a ranger’s pickup truck. A magical moment was afoot — a mother black bear and her two cubs were laying under a tree about 25 feet down a hill.

The ranger welcomed us by saying, “You are witnessing a once in a lifetime scene.” He had tears in his eyes. “I’ve been watching this mother bear in the area for years. This is the first time I’ve seen her with twins.” He whispered excitedly. “She is usually hiding the cubs because of the grizzlies.”

The ranger continued, “She was standing up not fifteen minutes ago nursing the cubs when I got the call.” We watched the trio lying in the grass, cubs asleep with the mother keeping a sleepy watch. A nice man in the front of the crowd moved aside and let my kids get closer so they could see.

Lady Luck was with us again today. I promised to pay her in chocolate if she kept hanging around.

“Sir, ma’am.” The ranger stopped a couple who were attempting to walk down the road toward the petrified tree. “You need to walk slowly in tight groups. We don’t want the mother bear agitated.” The couple waited patiently for another few people to join them down the path to the petrified tree.

I was curious and asked him about it. He answered, “Bears don’t have very good vision. If they see a large group they won’t view it as prey. They ignore it as something too big to eat.”

“I thought we weren’t allowed to be within 100 feet of a bear in the park.” I said.

“You’re not. That’s why I’m here to control the situation.” He touched the bear spray on his belt. “I’ve asked everyone to keep calm and follow proper bear etiquette.” An image of Goldilocks came to mind with her very poor treatment of the bears.

“She must have mated with a cinnamon bear to have two cubs of such a different color. In the fifteen years I’ve worked in this park I’ve never seen it.” He was very chatty and I picked his brain for about fifteen minutes until the mother bear began eyeing the crowd. We decided to not be greedy and moseyed off to see Old Faithful.


  1. Wilderness Dave says:

    Great story! What an experience!

    Very nice that a ranger was there to control the situation and allow visitors and safe and intimate look at wildlife in the park. That’s pretty damned cool.

    • KJ Waters says:

      Thank you Dave! Yes it was beyond cool! My kids will have this story to tell to their kids and everyone was very grateful to the ranger for being there and making sure everyone, including the bears were safe.

  2. WOW! It’s not unusual to see something amazing in the Parks with all the wildlife that’s present. But this is truly unique! What a great thing for the kids to see firsthand. We looked for bears in Yosemite last week with no luck. My boys were excited to see them in the wild. Next time!

    • KJ Waters says:

      Thanks! It was a thrill and such an amazing day for us. To stumble upon such a sight in our second day in Yellowstone. With the Ranger right there, as well, so we could enjoy it and not feel like the kids were in danger. I hope you have some of our luck when you go next time to see the bears!

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