As I walked down the hill, I started hearing the sounds of something moving through the wood lot. It was just rustling leaves on the ground, and not very loud, so I thought it could just be a squirrel, or maybe a browsing deer - although that wasn't very likely.
But suddenly right in front of me a young bear popped out into the clearing - not 20 feet away. He didn't see me, so I had time to get my phone and snap off a couple of photos.
As it happens, I'd seen him last weekend down at the stream, but I was too far away to get a photo. This time it all worked out. Afterwards, I made a lot of noise so he would look back at me, and maybe to scare him off.
It's not the first time I've seen a youngster around the yard, but it has been a few years - 2009, in fact, as documented in this post! They stop in the neighborhood, and as long as they aren't encouraged to stick around, generally move on after a few days. I hope that's what happened with this fellow.
This is a critter we see around here much more often - I'll bet I see one every year, and sometimes I'll see more than one. Here's a post about one I saw at work in 2014, and here's another about the last time we had one in the yard.
Of course, no post about black rat snakes would be complete without a link to this post, which is about the time I found one in the laundry room of the cabin.
To be honest, these encounters are part of what I look forward to on my weekends out here. I like to think they help me find some balance, juxtaposed against a 45-minute commute and all those Excel spreadsheet exercises I have to do during the week. And yeah, these two sightings definitely rounded out last weekend for me.