(Ouray) The bear came over the mountain. Then another, and more. Soon, as the autumn whitewashed the San Juans, that garbage bins, dog food dishes and apple trees were the main attraction. An evening walk would likely result in a sighting of another hungry, generally docile, beast on his way to dinner. Residents wondered when and if the animals would ever go to sleep.

Take a walk on the wild side…After dark in the alleys of Ouray one is more likely to see a bear than another human, well almost. In an attempt to review these occurrences we have collected some of the more colorful accounts of the season.

Let us appreciate and not judge the mighty bear. You try feeding a family of porky 300-pounders on roots and berries.

“At just about dark on September 23 I went out to check on a splashing sound in my hot tub only to discover a large bear soaking. I went back into the house for my camera but when I returned he had vacated the premises. I only hoped he had not gone into the woods to recruit more hairy party animals. All he left behind was a badly worn towel.”

– W. Sammy Carpe, Whispering Pines

“At just about dusk on a Friday night in late September my wife, Gwen, and I were grilling and sipping on our fourth and final gin and bitters when a small cub wandered right into the yard and pushed over the Weber. Before I could day Jack Spratt he gobbled up two tenderloins and was off. Fortunately he didn’t get the Yorkshire pudding, or our pet Yorkie for that matter. Nonetheless dinner was ruined, Duckett’s had closed and we were forced to subsist on head cheese till morning.”

– Colonel Abshite Pitt, 6th Grenadiers, 2nd Street, Ouray

“It was the middle of the night. I heard a crash in the kitchen. When I got up I saw a large hairy beast at the sink eating salami. I figured it was my husband, Earl, in his black silk karate robe. I went back to sleep. In the morning I awoke to quite a mess and remembered that Earl had been away on business in Colona the previous evening. What an experience!”

– Madalaine Crab-Leggit, Dexter Creek

“It was almost dawn on October 2. I went out for my daily ritual of checking my marijuana plants only to find a mature male bear eating them. I clanged a few pans together to scare him off but only when I fired off my sidearm did him scram. The damage was done. It looks like I’ll have to survive on cheap whiskey all winter.”

– Gloria Minske, no address given.

“It was broad daylight. I was on my way out of the post office when three adolescent bears approached me demanding spare change. Looking around I realized I had no backup so I handed each of them a dollar. Later I received an unfair lecture from the game warden. Three bucks is better than the alternative.”

– Walter Gold Elochs, Camp Bird Road

“I had been to the dinner at a friends’ one night and decided not to drive home. I went to lock my pickup only to discover a sow sitting behind the wheel. I just kept walking, making a mental note to stay off the Campari and to roll up the windows of my truck from now on.”

– Sly Kodiak, 6th Avenue, Ouray

These eyewitness chronicles represent only a fraction of the bear sightings in Ouray this fall. Do you have one to share? E-Mail us at

Filed Under: Featured Peeks


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