Raquette Lake Bear Encounter

One day, about twenty years ago, my fiancè (now wife) Amanda and I decided to take a nice long road trip through the Adirondacks. We were making our way through the Raquette Lake area, looking for photo ops. Amanda was keeping her eyes peeled on her side and I was covering mine, when all of the sudden she said, “There’s a bear!”. Which I quickly replied “Yeah right?”, when she came back with a quick “I’m serious!”.
I then looked back through my rear-view mirror to see a Black Bear on top of a crate, and as still as it was, I thought it had been taxidermied, until it turned its head! I exclaimed “Holy Shit!” as I swung the car around, then proceeded with caution; as to not spook the young bruin.
I was able to get pretty close, about 40 ft.. It was standing on top of one of those homemade crates, that just about everyone has in the North Country, to keep animals out of their garbage. Well, then I started snappin’ away, and in about 5-10 minutes that bear had become quite the spectacle, with about 10-15 cars pulled over watching the rare sight!
It’s a pretty busy road, with vehicles speeding past, and I began to worry when I noticed the young bear becoming agitated, from all of the attention it was receiving. Its hair even started bristling up on its back! I told Amanda that I hoped that it didn’t try jumping off the crate and running across the road, when a few moments later that’s exactly what it did!
When the bear jumped off the crate and started heading for the road, my heart also jumped… right into my throat! I yelled out “NOOO!!”, when I noticed a truck barreling along, pulling a trailer full of kayaks! That bear ran right out in front of that truck! The driver slammed on his brakes, causing the trailer to jackknife, just missing that bear by inches!!! I don’t know how that guy maintained control, but he did! Amazingly, he straightened that trailer back out without wrecking, as the lucky bear ran up the hill, on the other side of the road and disappeared into the woods. We both sat there looking at each other in total awe of what just unfolded before our eyes, and feeling guilty as hell for ever stopping. This series of events was a second from becoming catastrophic! We haven’t seen a bear on a busy road since, but if we do, we’ll slow down a bit and look, but never stop…
So, that is the story of how I captured this bear image on film, yes film.
A day Amanda and I will never forget!

-C. H. Eldridge

“Adolescent ADK Black Bear”
Raquette Lake, Hamilton County
Adirondack Park, Northern New York

© 2022 Adirondack Low Peaks and Lands, All Rights Reserved…

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