If you've spent any time in bear country, you likely (hopefully!) know what to do if you come across a black bear or a grizzly bear in the backcountry: Make yourself known to the bear, then back away slowly. If there are bear cubs involved, don't go anywhere near them, and definitely don't step between them and mom.
Bear safety is pretty simple, but apparently not simple enough for Instagram influencer Laura Gold. She posted a video on Instagram yesterday of a bear encounter in her "Adventure With Me" series. In the caption, she explains that she was trail running alone when she came around a tight, blind corner and came, "About five inches from hitting momma bear."
Gold goes on to explain, "To prevent myself from hitting her, I stopped as fast as I could and almost slid down the mountain doing so. I had already seen the cubs, so I knew I wasn't safe. I used every trick in the book (except bear spray) and nothing worked. Momma bear continued to move towards me until another hiker came from behind me and helped scare them away."
It seems to be a pretty standard bear encounter. Except the video shows the exact opposite. In the video, Gold follows the mama bear and cubs around the corner on the exposed, narrow path, essentially cornering the bears on the steep path. One of the cubs rears up to watch Gold approach.
Numerous commenters on the post question what Gold was thinking approaching the bears. One commenter writes, "Honest question...Why are you still walking in that direction?" Gold responded by posting another video with the caption, "Here's your honest answer. To the fellow hiker, thank you." In the video, another hiker walked in front of Gold towards the bears, presumably to scare the bears away.
This tactic is in direct opposition to what the National Park Service (NPS) recommends. In their guide, NPS tells people that if they see a bear, they should stay calm, identify themselves, and either wait until the bear moves away or leave the area.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.