HENEFER -- Steve Richins had seen bears at Yellowstone National Park, but he'd long wanted to catch a glimpse of one truly in the wild. On Monday, that wish was finally fulfilled, though where it happened was kind of unusual.
Richins captured several photos of a large bear crossing Interstate 84 near Henefer around 5 p.m. In one of the photos, the bear is climbing the median between the two directions of traffic as a pair of vehicles pass in the background.
"I've always wanted to see one in the wild," Richins said. "To see it on the freeway was unexpected."
Richins said he found out about the bear after someone called and told him. He and his wife headed to where the bear had been spotted and waited for about 15 minutes without seeing it. Then, he finally caught sight of the bear high on the mountain before it quickly disappeared again.
After waiting for a while longer, Richins saw the bear again, this time as it climbed a fence and began crossing I-84. When it had finished crossing the interstate, the bear swam across the Weber River and eventually snatched up a dead fawn before again disappearing.
Other photos Richins snapped of the bear show a man holding a young girl near the bear as it crossed the interstate and the bear climbing a chain-link fence. Richins said there was a group of about 10 cars that had pulled off the interstate to look at the bear.
It wasn't the first time Richins had heard of a bear crossing I-84. He said that a couple of years ago, a bear was killed while trying to cross near the same area.
But this bear was lucky enough to make it across the road unscathed.
"We were worried it was going to get hit," Richins said. "But it crossed at the right place at the right time."