Michele, weary from her preparations for the dinner, was sitting at the edge of the campsite on a stump when she looked into the darkening woods in the direction of the smoke and saw a large shadowy form about 10 feet away. She jumped up and screamed, "Here comes a bear!" Ron Noseck untied the dog's leash, grabbed the animal in his arms and joined the others in a headlong flight up the rocky lakeshore away from the logs and campsite. All five of the campers came to a stop about 50 yards away, and they watched as a scrawny brown grizzly descended upon their campsite and went to work. The bear strolled from dish to dish, taking big gulps and salivating generously and licking its chops with a long tongue. Inexplicably, the lean animal grabbed a pack in its mouth and ran a few yards up the hillside with it, but just when the evicted campers were hoping that the grizzly was gone for good, it returned to the camp as suddenly as it had left and resumed eating. When 15 or 20 minutes had passed and darkness was coming on, someone suggested that they abandon the old camp and spend the night where they were. Denise cradled Squirt in her arms while the other four gathered wood for a new fire. When the fire was ignited, the campers saw the grizzly saunter off in the opposite direction and disappear over the logjam.
Now they hurriedly discussed the situation. Someone suggested that they dash over Howe Ridge to the safety of the Lake McDonald ranger station, but it was already dark and they had only one undersized flashlight. Anyway, the bear had disappeared in the general direction of the trail, and the group decided to stay as far as possible from the peculiar animal. Someone else suggested a flight in the opposite direction, along the lake trail to the Arrow Lake shelter cabin, but then it was remembered that the cabin was jammed full of weekenders and a two-mile hike to Arrow Lake would force the refugees to depend on the inadequate flashlight to illuminate a trail through some of the thickest brush in the park.
After the bear had been gone for several minutes, the group regained courage and fell back, once again, on the notion that nothing would happen so long as they gave the bear a wide berth. Paul and the Nosecks went down to gather up the sleeping bags and a sack of cookies and a package of Cheezits that the bear had left, and returned within a few minutes to the new camp at the water's edge. As a double deterrent to the bear, the campers decided to keep the fire roaring all night and erect a kind of log barrier between them and the old campsite. When a stack of wood had been positioned, the five nervous hikers arranged their sleeping bags in a semicircle around the fire and turned in. Denise looped Squirt's leash over a log next to the fire and patted the dog into place between herself and the log. While the two couples and the boy from Minnesota whispered away in the general direction of sleep, the girl from Arizona kept a gentle hold on her pet. It was a comfort to both of them. Now and then one of the men would get up and throw a log on the fire, and soon the little camp was as still as the camp below Granite Park Chalet where the Kleins, Don Gullett, Roy Ducat and Julie Helgeson slept.