Hiker John Steitz awoke from a nap after a tiring day on the trail, only to find himself face to face with a bear.
The 26-year-old Minneapolis native was hiking outdoors with his friend, Samuel Roberts, near Beaver Bay, Minnesota, since early in the morning. Deciding for a quick campsite rest, the two stopped and Steitz fell asleep. According to the London Free Press, he started having this really vivid dream about a dog licking his face.
“I opened my eyes, and there was a bear on top of me with its face in my face,” Steitz told the Duluth News-Tribune. “I kind of opened my eyes and gave a, ‘What-the-expletive?’”
Luckily, Steitz has enough presence of mind not to spook the bear, and he merely leaned forward. This caused the bear to back up several feet. Steitz mentioned that the curious cub wasn’t the biggest he’s ever seen, but come on. It’s a bear.
“It wasn’t the biggest black bear I’ve seen, but a bear seems much bigger when it’s that close,” he said.
Steitz and Roberts then tried to frighten the bear by yelling and banging on pots with a hatchet. “He didn’t turn around and bolt,” Steitz said. “He walked slowly and stopped every few feet to look back.”
Well now, that’s kind of sad. Especially if you imagine the scene to the end-credits music from the old Hulk TV show.
Bob Kirsch, area wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Two Harbors, said that Steitz reported the incident, but he wasn’t sure what to make of the bear’s motives.
“Probably it was curious,” Kirsch said. “It saw something it didn’t quite understand and took a couple pokes at him. Sometimes they’re sort of curious.”
Luckily for all parties involved, the scene played out fairly innocently.
“Not a scratch,” said Steitz after such a close encounter.