California Hiker Comes Face-To-Face With Family of Vicious Brown Bears on Narrow Trail

A runner had a harrowing encounter with a family of brown bears in California earlier this month. Video recorded by Laura Gold on November 8 shows her cornered by a mother and her two cubs on a remarkably narrow trail in Sierra Madre. Gold luckily lived to tell the tale, posting details of the encounter along with a short clip to her Instagram account.

Gold reported she was out running by herself when she turned “a tight blind corner” and came face to face with the hungry brood. “I was about 5 inches from hitting momma,” the hiker marveled. “To prevent myself from hitting her, I stopped as fast as I could and almost slid down the mountain doing so. I had already seen the cubs, so I knew I wasn’t safe.”

The chilling video shows the adult bear charging at Gold as she backs down the precipitous trail. She growls and waves her arms to scare the bears away, but nothing seems to deter the family of bears, who inch closer and closer. At one point, Gold notes that the trail has left her “nowhere to go.” Eventually, she turns a corner and meets a male hiker.

Some on social media criticized Gold for not handling the situation properly. The initial video posted to Instagram shows her following the mother bear further down the trail after they’ve spotted one another. Crucially, the bears don’t seem to show any interest in Gold until she follows them around the curve. The recirculated clips cut into the video much later, after Gold has followed the bears some distance around the bend.

A second clip posted to Instagram, taken after Gold meets the male hiker, shows the man walking back down the trail in the direction of the bears. However, the family is no longer in sight, having disappeared far around the curve.

“So you just go towards them?” Gold asks her companion, who shuffles down the trail toward the brood. They continue to follow the bears as the mother escorts her cubs down the incline.

Gold told Storyful (via USA Today) that the trail split out into two separate paths, both of which ultimately led down the mountain. Luckily, she and her companion were able to convince the family of bears to take one route, while the humans took the other.