Photographer shares story of bear encounter


KALISPELL, Mont. - What would you do if you were stuck on a narrow trail, along a rocky cliff, and a bear is coming toward you? A hiker recently in Glacier National Park decided to cling for his life.

We hunted down the photographer of a stunning image of the close encounter with wildlife. Philip Granrud grabbed the shot on the Highline Trail, off the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The trail is known for its steep drop-off into the valley.

The man in the picture is from North Carolina. Granrud is so intrigued by what he's seen in the park, he just keeps going back for more.

"When you go to Glacier Park as many times as I've gone, you notice that you're always going to see something different," said Granrud.

Granrud went on a hike near Glacier's Highline Trail Monday. He heard a grizzly had been spotted nearby.

"All of us, we kind of turned around and started scanning the hillside for any grizzly bear that might pop out that the family had just seen, and sure enough maybe five minutes later all of a sudden someone spotted a grizzly bear coming just out of the trees," said Granrud.

Granrud began snapping photos. Then, the bear walked into the woods.

He told NBC Montana he couldn't wait to talk to the hiker.

"We talked to him, you know, What was it like, how did you feel, were you scared?' and he was very calm about it. He kind of figured that the bear was just trying to get past him anyway, and he was really calm about it and now he's got some good stories to bring back to North Carolina," Granrud said.

While it may have been the hiker's first bear encounter it isn't Granrud's. Granrud captured some video of a bear when he was out photographing caterpillars in the park one day.

"He stopped and stared at me and I figured since there was nothing else I could do I turned my camera around and put it on the bear," said Granrud.

Granrud says experiences like the one he photographed and ones he's encountered won't deter him from going out into the remote areas of the park. It's actually piqued his interest even more.

"Every trip to Glacier Park I've taken is just amazing. You never know if you're going to see a bear or a mountain goat or a bighorn sheep."

Granrud says the hiker in the photo wasn't the only one to encounter the bear. Luckily the bear made his way around visitors and went on his way.