Two viral encounters filmed this summer illustrate the ever-present potential of encountering a dangerous predator while out on a hiking trail.
Most hikers, even beginners, know there’s always a chance for an encounter with a predator on the trail.
This summer, a few trailblazers met that reality, and filmed their run-ins, one with a mountain lion in California and another with grizzly and two cubs in Alaska.
The videos garnered millions of views online.
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Geoffrey Glassner, 74, was visiting Katmai National Park recently when the bears began to follow him along a trail. He flipped on his camera and began walking backward as the curious cubs moved his way, mother bear in tow.
“My biggest fear was that they would get close to me and mama bear thought I was a threat and would attack me,” Glassner told Inside Edition.
Eventually, they left him alone.
The National Park Service’s safety tips for bear encounters include avoiding getting near cubs, which can greatly increase the chance of an attack.
Late last month, Brian McKinney and Sam Vonderheide were on a two-week-long hike up Mount Whitney when they crossed paths with a mountain lion. Cellphone video of the encounter showed the lion disappearing behind a curve in the High Sierra trail in California’s wilderness. Then, as the duo rounded the same corner, they saw the predator perched on a rocky outcrop, head cocked and eyes locked on them, according to The Associated Press.
“What are you supposed to do?” one hiker whispered. The other answered: “I don’t know. I don’t think you’re supposed to run.”
The two hikers slowly retreated after an intense stare-down and made camp for the night.
Wildlife biologist Daniel Gammons told the AP that the men did the right thing by staying calm. Biologists say you should make yourself appear big by waving your arms overhead and scare off the animal, as the men did. More mountain-lion safety tips here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.