bear spray

…”a 9 – 10 foot brown bear, standing about 12 feet away from me, growling and popping its jaws and swiping at the air”…

My name is Brayden Holt.  I live in Soldotna , Alaska . I’m 17 years old and attend Skyview High School .  I participate in cross country running, Nordic skiing and track.  I love the outdoors and spend lots of time hiking/biking in the mountains, hunting and fishing.

Boy, do I have a story to tell you!  On July 11, 2009 when I was 16 (I turned 17 on July 24) a buddy and I had a bear encounter. My buddy, Evan and I decided we would go mountain biking on this trail, in Cooper Landing. It was a well used trail going to Crescent Lake . Crescent Lake is located in Cooper Landing, AK. After a little drive from Soldotna to the trailhead , we were ready to take off, did our double checks to see if we forgot anything. This is the first time that I went on a mountain biking trip without my dad.  We always go together, but he was working that day. My dad always has me carry the bear spray attached to my pack on my chest hook for easy access in case of emergencies. I had bear bells strapped to the handle bars of my bike, so I was making a bit of noise.

We were finally ready to take off up the trail. We were taking our time going up the trail. We had been biking for a couple hours on the trail and there was about a mile or so left to reach the lake, where we were going to Grayling fish and eat lunch.

Evan and I had stopped for a second looking at a piece of metal on the trail, trying to figure out what it was used for.  We took off again and were on a flat part of the trail, so we were moving really fast.  I came around a corner  and I heard a sound that I didn’t  recognize or like. I looked over to the right of the trail and saw a big brown blob.  When I realized what it was the brown bear was standing on his hind legs.  It was about a 9 – 10 foot brown bear, standing about 12 feet away from me, growling and popping its jaws and swiping at the air. I got off my bike and yelled, “holy crap” and then pulled out the bear spray and went to spray it. Then I remembered the lock. I ripped the lock off the bear spray and gave it a squirt in the direction of the bear.

After I sprayed the bear it got down on all fours and ran up the hill and stopped. I looked at my partner to see what he was doing, and he was frozen to his bike with a ghost look on his face, like is this really happening to us. I looked back at the bear where I last had seen it and I couldn’t see the bear at all. Then it did a little false charge and all I could see were the trees moving from this humongous body of the bear plowing through them. The brown bear ended up stopping at about 12 feet and broke off the charge and went off into the woods.

We slowly backed down the trail. Once we went around the corner we jumped on our bikes and booked it down telling everyone we saw about it. Most of the people pulled out their bear spray and weapons and continued on up the trail. We continued our way back to the trailhead where I had left my truck. Some how at the trailhead, they had already heard of our encounter and were asking us all about it.

This is an experience that I will never forget and have told my scary, exciting story to lots of people, who were simply amazed that we had stood our ground.  It has also made me alot more aware of noises in the woods when I have been moose hunting this season.
Sincerely, Brayden Holt

More Testimonials