Bears, Rocks, & Honeymoons

I was a student at Anderson College in Anderson, Indiana when I first saw a note on the bulletin board about ACMNP. I applied and was happy to be chosen to go to the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone and work as a kitchen janitor.

One of the early experiences I remember from my job was learning how to tell the difference between black bears and grizzlies.

One of my responsibilities was getting all of the hotel garbage carefully packed into the garbage cans so that a truck could pick them up. On the first work day, a black bear knocked them down, and I carefully repacked them. Then a friend who had been there the previous summer picked up a rock and aimed it at the bear. “What are you doing?” I asked. He replied: “You are either going to learn to throw rocks at the bears or else be picking up garbage cans all summer.” Thus I learned to throw rocks. As to which kind of bear is which, I was told: “Throw a rock at the bear. If it is a black one, it will run away from you. If it is a grizzly, it will run towards you.”

Bears, Rocks, & Honeymoons

I returned to Yellowstone in 1960 and became a Park Ranger at Old Faithful. When my wife and I got married in 1965, guess where we went on our honeymoon? Yellowstone, but we did not throw rocks at the bears.

Bruce C., Yellowstone National Park, 1959

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