Quick Takes: Bears everywhere | AspenTimes.com

Quick Takes: Bears everywhere

Aspen Times editor Don Rogers
Courtesy photo

Everyone — everyone! — has a bear story. A woman in the next seat on the bus showed me videos and pictures on her iPhone after her dad called to warn her about the bears at her place in a tree, coming down. Momma and cubs.

She texted with her boyfriend, who was cooking dinner. I told her my wife would be very jealous. Does my wife’s husband do that? Anyway, she’s a few states away right now. Missing the bears.

My companion laughed. Her boyfriend wrote: “Guess we’re not grilling.” Or something like that. I couldn’t see the text. Looking would be impolite. Besides, I’m blind as a bear.

The week before, after a late, late bus, a fellow rider and I got to talking in the parking lot at the Basalt Park ‘n’ Ride stop. About bears, of course. Her place was on the regular route for some bear most predawn mornings. She was a former triathlete compelled for some reason to work out before the sun comes up and go for runs after it goes down.

The other predawn day, or post-dusk night, she’d practically run into a bruin on the trail. Or it might have been more than once. I didn’t have my notebook out or recording device on, thinking I was off duty. Foolish. Journalists are never off duty.

A couple of weeks before, I’d watched what probably was a fat yearling, a roly-poly guy, come down the outside stairs one evening like he does it every day, or night, which he probably does. My downstairs vantage was all window, so I got a close-up view as the waist-high and fat, fat, fat guy hung out a while, a couple of feet between us. He surveyed his kingdom or considered the next promising stash to check out for the next several minutes. Then, he saw something and roly-polied on down the slope and across the field below.

A colleague said she had a bear living under her deck this year. She was not in thrall, not amused, no trace of wonder.

Big rats, another colleague said, dismissively. He’s lived here awhile.

One of the delivery guys talked about probably saving some guy’s life in downtown Aspen. Dude was walking before sunrise with earphones on. The delivery guy called out, shouted and finally caught up and tapped him on the shoulder: Bear! Right there. Dude jumped out of his skin. Very funny, once clear of the bear.

The delivery guy talked about trailing a bear while it made its regular rounds downtown farther along. It practically collided with a small group of people taking an early morning walk. What a tourist thrill!

Once while visiting Aspen last fall, my wife and I walked a visitor from Boston back to the hotel. She’d never been to Aspen before or anywhere wild in a wilderness sort of way. I asked if she planned to hike. No way, she said. Bears.

Oh, they’re all in town, I said. Probably wouldn’t see ’em on a trail. Didn’t mean to terrify her so.

On my way to Ruby Transit Center a little early for the commute back downvalley the other day, I saw a crowd looking up as if at a zoo, some with phones out and pointing. Sure enough, there they were, sleeping up high in a pedestrian-way tree. I thought maybe more sloth than rat.

Recently, we found a bear pile right outside my landlady’s door. She texted: Did you see that!? I couldn’t possibly miss it on my way up the bear stairs to where we park.

I don’t cook for my wife, sadly, but I do send her the occasional picture.

Wow! She texted back. Big poop.

Full of berries, I replied.

Means abundance, she texted. Bless her. She always finds the deeper perspective. 

Aspen Times Editor Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@aspentimes.com.