A Matter of Trust

A black bear with brown fur browses on huckleberries near the Skyline Trail in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park

Another picture of my favorite bear from my trip to Washington. I watched it graze on huckleberries for an hour in a meadow below the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, so it was already pretty comfortable with me when it started moving up towards the trail. I could tell where it wanted to go so I moved down the trail in the opposite direction to give it plenty of space.

I assumed it would continue higher up the hill but instead it started walking down the trail in the same direction I hoped to head. I followed at a long enough distance to keep it in its comfort zone, so mostly I had a view of its rear end. I should post a gallery of animal rear ends I’ve taken over the years, keeping an animal in its comfort zone doesn’t necessarily lead to the best pictures 😉

I’ve experienced this in my own home, Scout has liked to sleep on me ever since she was a little kitten, but unlike Templeton she often sleeps with her rear end pointed towards my face. Sometimes to the point that she actually sits on my face, when she was younger I woke up many a time getting smothered by a little kitten butt. My wife convinced me to take it as a badge of honor, that she was showing trust by exposing her most vulnerable position, so I’ve adopted the same philosophy to animals on the trails. Missed picture opportunities are a small price to pay for earning their trust.

In this case though, the bear’s desire to fatten up for the winter worked to my advantage, it turned aside for a moment to grab a few more huckleberries before continuing down the trail.

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