I am writing to you to report that last week my friend and I were charged by a grizzly and her large cub, while hiking in the Lee Metcalfe Wilderness on our way to Hilgard Basin. I used my bear spray and it worked, immediately! Our encounter with the bear, was a spectacular example of how effective spray can be, and also of how important it is to have the spray readily accessible. We had just had a few seconds to react.

We were hiking up the trail, making as much noise as we could, when we heard a grunt to our left down toward the creek. I glanced over and saw what looked like bear fur moving between two trees about 100-150 feet away. I said, “It’ a bear!”, pulling out my bear spray but fully expecting it to move away from us. Instead it came around the tree at a run heading straight at us, followed by a very large cub. By the time I got the spray out and safety off (I missed it the first try) the bear was maybe 30-35 feet away…I started spraying and almost simultaneously she entered the cloud of spray. Without slowing down or breaking stride, she immediately turned around and headed down the hill, followed by her cub.

We hadn’t noticed any wind, but there must have been a breeze, because we were immediately suffering the effects of the spray ourselves, and it was a while before we could see well enough to leave the spot, but she didn’t come back.

If only we had been wearing a go-pro! It would have been a great demonstration of the effectiveness of bear spray.

So thank you! We are wholehearted believers in bear spray, and grateful that it exists! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the encounter.

Cory Winn
Vashon, WA

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