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Local Sports

November 23, 2012

Yellow Yellow was one smart bear


Well, Yellow Yellow — she has a yellow, plastic tag in each ear — was the smartest one in the Adirondack High Peaks. Almost every backpacker who hiked near Marcy Dam on the way to Mount Marcy knew and respected her.

Yellow Yellow was not aggressive, but she was well-fed. She also was the first bear to open the famous Bear Vault — a canister that was supposed to be totally bear proof. The makers of the Bear Vault actually traveled to the Adirondacks to have her test the product. She was that smart and that well-known.

I had planned on hiking to Mount Marcy last September, but the weather changed my plans. I told my friend George that I really hoped we would see Yellow Yellow.

Well, now it’s too late. That 20-year-old female bear, who taught many of her cubs how to steal food from hikers, was legally taken by a hunter Oct. 21 in the Town of Jay.

I was saddened to read her obituary in the Adirondack Almanac the other day. Dan Crane did a wonderful job paying homage to such a great and unique animal of the wilds. I may not have seen her in person, but I knew of her fame and her ingenuity. She may never have stolen my dinner, but I would have gladly shared it with her.

Maybe the bear that entered my lean-to and enjoyed part of my steak on Moose Pond a few years ago is one of her offspring. After all, it’s only a few short miles over the mountains.

Yellow Yellow will truly be missed by those who knew her over the years. I just wish I had been one of them.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at

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