A group of hikers in New Jersey managed to walk away from a potentially dangerous situation when a black bear approached them, coming out of nowhere. The hikers captured footage of the encounter.
The video, taken in June, shows Julie Tupey, 25, sitting on a rock on the Stairway to Heaven trail in Sussex County. The bear slowly approaches, coming within inches of Tupey and her fellow hikers.
Tupey’s friend, Joe Kun, spoke out about the group’s decision to take a hike. Kun caught the black bear encounter on camera.
“It was early on in the summer in the middle of June when New Jersey was still under a rather strict lockdown because of the coronavirus,” Kun tells Daily Mail. ‘There wasn’t much to do at the time so we decided to go hiking at a very popular trail called Stairway to Heaven in Vernon, NJ which has a viewpoint at the top of the trail.”
Kun, 25, says the group had decided to break for lunch. Shortly thereafter, a “black bear emerged from the woods at the end of the rock formation.”
According to Kun, the group spotted the black bear earlier in the hike.
“As the bear had already passed us once we expected it to simply go back into the woods where it originally came from,” Kun said. “Once the bear made it to our spot on the rocks and started coming towards us I realized that it wasn’t afraid and wasn’t going to stop, so we needed to get up and go.”
In the background of the clip, viewers hear Kun saying, “I think we should move. Just slow, slow. Oh my goodness.”
The group of experienced hikers say that bear sightings aren’t uncommon in the area. However, a bear coming so close was definitely a change.
“I have seen bears before but never this close,” Kun says.
Kun explains that the group did not report the incident to the authorities. They said the black bear “didn’t exhibit any aggressive behaviors.”
“We were in nature, after all, the bear had every right to be there,” Kun said.