PINEWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Cherry Company has been a fixture along U.S. 36 near Estes Park for decades.
The family business has seen its fair share of visitors through the years. But one visitor ate the goods and made a gigantic mess at the same time overnight Monday into Tuesday.
It turns out bears like pies. A lot.
Tourists stop into the store for the pie and the hearty meals.
“We get a lot of tourists who head up to Rocky Mountain National Park,” Mikaela Lehnert said.
She and her mother, Kristi, didn’t expect their much larger guest, though.
“He just made his way right in. hopped on top of the ovens and hopped down and had a feast,” Lehnert said.
The bear left its mark outside the basement door where the pies are baked.
“These are paw prints. I’m assuming he probably stood up and took a look and noticed he couldn’t get in through the steel door,” Lehnert said.
The bear broke through a window to get inside. For whatever reason, the bear stayed on the side of the room with all of the pies. The surveillance camera is pointed the opposite direction, so they never actually saw the bear in a video recording.
The bear didn’t realize the freezer nearby had more food. The animal clearly preferred warm pies over frozen ones.
“Cherry and apple was his favorite. He passed over the strawberry rhubarb,” Kristi said. “Maybe he wasn’t feeling like a tart pie, I guess,” Lehnert said.
The bear has apparently been around the business before. A neighbor took a picture and the Lehnerts believe it’s the same one that broke into their store overnight.
“Just devoured pies, sugar, cocoa and left a mess behind,” Lehnert said.
Experts with Colorado Parks and Wildlife don’t track the number of bear and human interactions, but they do see dozens of bears rummaging through trash and ransacking property every year.
Outside the store there is a trail of sugar. And a clump of cherries.
“I’m looking for servers, so maybe if he wants to come back, because that’s talent to get two pies into the back yard,” Lehnert said.
How the bear took pies to go is anybody’s guess. But a boarded up window will hopefully provide some extra enforcement in stopping a repeat visit.
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