"In that general direction," Walton said. "But I wouldn't worry about it. Hundreds of people have camped there this summer and the bears haven't eaten anybody yet." The two men laughed, but Janet Klein gulped and told herself that the campground was out so far as she was concerned.
About 6:30 Robert and Janet, still at the chalet and still undecided, met a 20-year-old hiker from Paradise, Calif. named Don Gullett. Janet noticed Gullett's pack and sleeping bag and asked him how he could entertain the idea of sleeping out in this grizzly-infested area. Gullett told her that he was not worried about the bears and he had staked out a nice fiat spot in the shadow of the trail cabin. Robert Klein asked Gullett how far it was from the trail cabin to the campground. "Oh, several hundred yards anyway," Gullett answered, and the three agreed to walk down the trail and take a look.
Janet Klein was wondering if she were not overreacting and threatening her husband's enjoyment unreasonably. The trail cabin site was charming. A tiny stream tinkled alongside and there were big patches of purple asters and red monkey flower. Off to the southwest one could make out the general area of the campground, but it seemed a safe distance away. Janet announced bravely that the site met her approval. The Kleins made camp some 20 feet from the uphill wall of the cabin, and Gullett laid his bag alongside the lower wall.
"Now let's forget about bears and enjoy ourselves," Robert Klein said, and he and Janet began getting supper while Gullett busied himself about 30 feet away. The Kleins were preparing to eat when a teen-aged couple arrived and asked where the campground was. When Klein pointed off to the left, the boy, who called himself Roy and looked to be about 18, said, "Well, if the campground's over there, why are the three of you camping here?"
"If you want the truth," Janet Klein said, "we're afraid of bears."
The younger couple laughed. "Oh, that's nothing to worry about," the boy said. His companion, an attractive girl of about the same age, laughed again as though the subject were a joke, and they bounced away toward the campground. The Kleins finished their dinner and carried all their refuse up to the chalet trash cans, hung around to talk and returned to their camp to watch the spectacular sunset. Then they covered their provisions with plastic and hauled them to the top of a medium-sized sub-Alpine fir and climbed into their sleeping bags. "Now tell me again," Janet said, as the two of them lay under the bright moon and stars and tried to get to sleep, "what do we do if a bear comes?"
Robert Klein had carefully placed the flashlight and their boots within arm's reach. "We grab these," he said, "and we go up the side of the cabin to the roof." Not long after, the Kleins heard Don Gullett come back down the trail and prepare to turn in, and by 10 or 10:30 they were all asleep.
Except for the fact that they were an exceedingly handsome young couple, there was little to distinguish Roy Ducat and Julie Helgeson from the 850 other students who worked for the park concessionaires as waiters and busboys and cooks and clerks and at other assignments befitting their tender years and their willingness to work cheaply. If all these young people had one characteristic in common, it was the brashness of youth. Early each summer the park rangers would give lectures about the park and its dangers, and attendance was compulsory for the young employees, but none of them seemed to learn much from the lectures—or so the older rangers grumbled. It was a fact that the death and accident rate was high among the youngsters. Nobody kept score, but Mel Ruder, the newspaperman who edited the Hungry Horse News, kept a studious eye on the park, from a range of 15 miles away, and once estimated that an average of one employee per year did not return home alive. They died on mountain climbs for which they were not prepared, on narrow roads they refused to respect and in high-altitude lakes that were 20� colder than the lakes back home. "But thank God none of them ever died at the hands of grizzlies," Ruder said, "and maybe this is why the kids would yawn and close their ears when the rangers would tell them about the danger from bears."
Roy Ducat, working for the summer as a busboy at East Glacier Lodge, was a cut above most of his young colleagues, both intellectually and physically. At 18 he was already a sophomore in biology at Bowling Green State University, not far from his home in Perrysburg, Ohio. He was not overpoweringly strong, but he could hold his own on an all-day hike; he had worked as a lifeguard and he kept himself in shape.
His companion, Julie Helgeson, was a lovely slender girl with brown hair and blue eyes and a deep interest in nature. At 19 she was two years out of high school, where she had been a pompon girl, a singer in the school choir and a class leader. Now a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, she kept up her active life in the church. Her father liked to describe her in a short phrase: "a beautiful, bubbling girl." Julie had been in Glacier Park for two months, working in the laundry at East Glacier Lodge, before she felt ready for her first overnight hike into the wilderness. A few days earlier she had said goodby to her parents, who had headed back to Albert Lea, Minn., after a two-day visit in the park.