In the past few years it has not been uncommon to see bears roaming the streets of Aspen looking for food. Unfortunately the bears are drawn into town, leaving their natural habitat in search of nourishment. A few days ago a large Momma Bear and her 3 cubs settled into the trees on the Hyman Street pedestrian mall. They feasted on crab-apples and seemed to be drawn to the al fresco dinning options that are now part of Aspen's messy vitality.
Click 4 pix: The Bears of Aspen.
From 8 am until after dark the bears hung out in the trees as the cops cordoned off the area and gawkers multiplied. Admittedly AspenSpin was one of those who was rubber-necking. "They're so cute" said an I-phone yielding socialite pushing forward to get a photo. " That is so cool" whispered an active senior as he fumbled with his android and tried to figure out how to switch to camera mode.
I have to admit that it's awfully exciting to see wild animals up close and personal, but it's also very, very sad. The cubs looked scared and confused and just wanted to find some chow. The Mom kept an uneasy eye on her offspring and the gathering crowd on the Mall. We are under the impression that these bears eventually scampered out of their tree-top safety zones and made it back to the woods. But that's not always the case. Sometimes the bears are "tagged" so that if they come to town again they are identifiable. It's unclear...but apparently after a third such tagging...the bears are euthanized.
Let's hope these bears have a safe, long and restful hibernation this Winter.