Glacier View Ranch sits at 8,780 ft elevation in Boulder County, Colorado. The Christian campsite boasts majestic, almost spiritual, views of the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide, and a serene lake that wraps around clumps of trees and lush greenery. But this ranch’s claim of peace and tranquility was tested by the events that unfurled on Sunday, July 9 on its own campgrounds.
A “crunching noise” stirred him awake.
At the verge of daybreak around 4 AM, Dylan, a 19-year-old camp counselor at Glacier View Ranch, woke with a start. He heard a “crunching noise” at the camp’s lakefront, where he and four other staffers were sleeping in teepees. When he came to, he found himself in a precarious situation: a 280-pound black bear had wrapped its jaws around Dylan’s head and was dragging him out of his sleeping bag. “I thought I was dreaming for a second,” Dylan told KTVB-TV, “and then I was like ‘This isn’t a dream, it hurts too bad to be a dream.'” The bear dug its claws into Dylan’s head before pulling him into its mouth and grabbing him with its teeth. According to Denver7, the crunching noise had been the sound of “teeth scraping against [his] skull as [the bear] dug in.”
He did what experts said was the right move.
— Dan Grossman (@Dan_Grossman) July 9, 2017
While more than a hundred young campers slept nearby, the bear lugged Dylan for about 12 feet across the campgrounds with his head still locked in its jaws. “When it was dragging me, that was the slowest part,” Dylan told Denver7. “It felt like it went forever.” As a trained wilderness survival counselor at the camp, it’s difficult to tell whether it was instinct or experience that kicked in when he began to fight back against the bear, jabbing fingers into its eyes and beating it as hard as he could with his fists. Experts told KTVB-TV that this was necessary to startle the bear into leaving. Other staff members, roused by the noise of the struggle, soon joined in and helped to pry him out of the bear’s grip. Eventually, the bear unhinged its jaws and released Dylan before scampering back into the woods. Thankfully, Dylan emerged relatively unscathed. He had minor injuries to the back and front of his head where the bear sunk its teeth into, which were treated at a hospital. After nine staples in the skull, he was released. This experience may have been terrifying, but for Dylan, it hasn’t changed his perspective on nature much at all. “I’m not afraid of the bears,” he told Denver7. “I’m not afraid of sleeping outside anymore. You just have to be aware and respect the animals.”