This was probably a big, old boar bear. Al followed the tracks for a few minutes up the mountain toward some ledges, where he may have found a more peaceful place to finish his winter nap. The front footprint of the bear was about six inches across.
It seems strange to me that there were sightings of two different bears hibernating above ground in just the last couple of weeks. My old buddy John in the Adirondacks once told me that a male bear will sometimes wake up from hibernation and wander around a little, but I’ve never see any sign of it.
I did follow tracks of a big bear one snowy day during the hunting season for a mile or so. He was heading toward some ledges on Long Pond Ridge in late November. I assumed that with the foot or so of snow on the ground, he was looking for a den.
But two bears out in January I think is quite a rarity. I just hope that sooner or later, the weather will get straightened out so I can go skiing and these bears can get a decent winter’s sleep.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.