Glacier Jogger Attacked by Grizzly Bear!

M and E pet a not so alive grizzly!

Here I go again! Bears, bears, and more bears! Living in grizzly country is fascinating, yet can be a little scary as you’ll see!

It has been reported that Sunday morning, a jogger was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear while running along the Lake McDonald Valley Trail on the west side of Glacier National Park.
Sixty year old Thomas Nerison told park officials he was bitten by a grizzly while running along the trail about 9:45 a.m. He said he heard what he described as the sound of a dog barking and then galloping horses coming up the trail behind him.
He said he wasn’t making any noise and didn’t have any bear spray with him at the time, although he usually carries it. He turned around, got off the trail about a foot when he saw two 250 lb grizzlies running toward him.
Nerison said he believed the bears were running from something that had startled them. Duh, it was Mr. Nerison!
One bear stopped close to him, he kicked it, and then, he fell down. The bear bit him twice as he continued to kick. Nerison used sticks to poke at the bear. The bear lost interest, ran back in the direction he had come, and then uphill away from the trail.
After that, Nerison walked downhill and cross country to the Going to the Sun Road where he caught a ride from a visitor back to his own car at the Avalanche Lake trailhead. He drove himself to the hospital emergency room for treatment.
Sunday afternoon, rangers closed the trail between the junction with the Avalanche Trail and the Johns Lake Trail and are investigating the incident. Traveling alone and running on trails is not recommended in grizzly country. Running is discouraged because of the increasing number of injuries and fatalities nationwide of runners startling bears at close range.
If you’ve kept up with this blog and website you know that we hike out to Avalanche Lake. We’ve also hiked the Lake McDonald Valley Trail, but haven’t written about the experience as it wasn’t particularly eventful.
We did see a fellow hiker enjoying some peaceful meditation. Fresh bear scat in the form of meatballs was also spotted on the trail, giving evidence of a black bear as opposed to the cinnamon roll shaped scat of a grizzly.
As the trail is in the woods, we think of this area as being frequented by black bears as grizzlies are usually found on slopes. Who knows, perhaps Mr. Nerison in all of his excitement, misidentified the type of bear.
E made a YouTube video on bear identification and is also giving her 4-H illustrated talk tomorrow evening on the subject.
We’ve taken a bear identification course and I can tell you that bears can be difficult to identify, especially in nerve-wracking situations.
In June of 1996, a seventy year old man hiking alone along this same trail, Lake McDonald Valley, sustained injuries from a grizzly bear.
This is the first bear related injury in Glacier since August of 2005 when Johann Otter and his daughter Jenna were attacked on the Grinnell Glacier Trail.
You can read all about that incident in my article “The Otters Return to Glacier“.
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