Escondido Man, Daughter Return to Site of Grizzly Attack

Attack left Escondido doctor with scalp torn off

Three years after they were attacked by a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park, a North County man and his daughter conquer their fears during a hike together to the spot of the mauling.

The 2005 attack took place in Montana. Johan and Jenna Otter came across the mother grizzly while hiking. At the time, doctors called it the worst bear mauling they had ever seen.

"What I recall is that Jenna stepped back at one point and said something like, 'Oh, no,' " said Johan. "She came across the bear at first when we went around a corner in the trail."

The bear was about 5 feet in front of her when she first saw it, said Johan.

"She stopped and stepped back and I was just traveling along behind her," said Johan. "I actually realized what was happening. I saw the bear, saw the mouth open -- fangs and all that -- and it was just into my thigh in half a second."
Johan took part in intensive physical therapy at Scripps Memorial Hospital, where he works.

Last summer, Johan returned to the mountain trail where the grizzly attacked him, leaving him with a torn-off scalp, numerous puncture wounds and gashes, neck broken in three places and broken ribs.
This summer, his daughter joined him.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, Jenna said that although her wounds were less life-threatening, the mark on her psyche -- like the scar the grizzly left on her face -- was more pronounced and more difficult to understand.

"I have to keep reminding myself that this actually happened," she said.

Last year she didn't want to go on the hike because she was afraid that she'd be overcome by the emotion, and she has never been comfortable with crying.

Read more about Jenna's return in the Los Angeles Times story, "Jenna Otter returns to scene of grizzly bear attack".

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