At Glacier, a constant refrain is to expect bears by and in the road, on and off the trails, in the campgrounds, on your porch, and ransacking your tent if it smells of food or sweat. Careful cooking, cleanup and food storage are absolute necessities. Local people expect to share the huckleberry harvest with bears.
Ed first spotted these two black bears, mother and yearling about 10 yards away, just off a trail. We were still near the road. He began making noises and moving away. His voice told me at once what was up. We were near the parking lot and an adjacent trail to a waterfall, so there were several other people around.
The bear was not aggressive. She methodically made her way diagonally through the brush, avoiding everyone, to emerge on the roadway a hundred yards away with a cub. Just then a ranger showed up. He got the story from observers, briefly set off his siren, then prepared to pelt the bear with a rifle-launched bean bag if she weren't quick to leave, but by then she was well away and definitely only wanted to get out of there.
Bears are individuals. They have personal habits, fears, strategies and reactions. This might have been a somewhat different story had she been more curious or more hostile, although her life would not have been in danger. A primary job of the ranger is to protect the lives of the true inhabitants of the park. What a sight!