Last night, I set out for a casual run with Major at around 9:30 pm from the Upper O’Malley Trailhead. The late snowfall had dissipated and tiny green shoots of fireweed and lupine were beginning to rise from the thick, brown underbrush. These subtle harbingers of spring sent my mind reeling about potential adventures during the long days to come. As I emerged from the dense alders onto the main Gasline trail, a large, golden-haired creature stopped me in my tracks. A yearling brown bear was sauntering toward me, its sun-bleached coat blending almost seamlessly with the golden bunches of grass flanking the trail. I grasped my canister of bear spray in one hand and clambered for my phone in other. I was not sure that he had seen me and considered taking a quick picture before returning the way I had come. Then from a thicket just off the trail to my left, emerged a mother bear nearly twice the size of her cub. On her heels, a second yearling came into view. The mother positioned herself in front of the two cubs which was my cue to skeddadle. There are few things in life that provide moments of supreme focus, however, being faced with a troop of brown bears is one of them. Quitely, I closed my phone and backed up, turning only when the bears were well out of view. Be safe out there the bears are up and active!