I had never seen a bear before––at least in person. Growing up in Canada near Banff National Park, I had heard bear encounter stories within the community, but I never experienced my own encounter. Their mystique grew greater as I became a part of the bear project near the end of the school year. I learned that bear populations in Massachusetts were growing. It felt as though my opportunity to see a bear was finally approaching!

The first week of setting up hair corrals proved to be unfruitful with respect to sightings––the only wildlife we noticed were frogs. The next week, while checking sites with Cesar, I was ready to accept that I would not be able to encounter one of these elusive creatures in the wild and was satisfied with the idea that bears could already be standing in the hair corrals that I had set up the day before, in the same spot I had been just hours earlier. As I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car trying to convince myself of this mindset, Cesar suddenly slowed down and yelled, “Look! Cubs on the road ahead!”

I couldn’t believe it. Standing no more than twenty feet in front of us were two cubs trying to cross the road to their mom who was waiting on the other side of the ride. I quickly snapped a couple of pictures before we lost them to the forest. I was thrilled––I had finally seen the animals that so many had told me about!


The next day while driving, Cesar and I came upon another cub trying to cross the road. I was excited to see another one, putting a face to the animals that we were putting so much effort into studying.

And then, two sites later, while trekking through the woods, Cesar and I spotted a cub thirty feet in front on the trail! Now have my own bear encounters to share!

-Danny Xiao