On three separate occasions on this trip, I was alerted by passing hikers that they or someone else had just had a bear encounter on the trail I was on and in the direction I was headed. Glacier has a large population of black bears and grizzlies. I couldn't believe how common it would be to see them even on popular trails. I have seen grizzlies in Alaska from the comfort of a bus, and many black bears even in populated areas on the east coast, but never I had felt so vulernable as hiking by myself totally unprepared. I had no "bear bells", no pepper spray, no knife or any sort of protection. Not that any of those things would have helped in a worst case scenario. I found myself whistling and making noises so as not to surprise any unsuspecting bear as I came around the corner. In the end, I saw four bears on this trip, but thankfully, every time was from inside a car. It certainly made hiking a little more exciting with the paranoia of every noise heard in the woods. It also gave me much more incentive to seek out other hikers to join.