A New Jersey woman has become a viral sensation after a video showed her calmly backing away from a black bear that appeared just a few feet behind her while she was hiking with friends.
Julie Tupy, who the internet nicknamed “calm queen,” was hiking the “Stairway to Heaven” train in Vernon, New Jersey with three friends Wednesday when they saw a black bear briefly come out of the woods, Sussex Daily Voice reported. The group didn’t expect the bear to come back, Tupy said, but it eventually appeared just a few feet behind her and began walking towards her.
A video of the encounter was posted on Barstool Sports’ Instagram page last week and has since racked up more than 3.3 million views. (RELATED: Man Suffers Brutal Fall Off Of A Cliff In Viral Video)
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Tupy, 25 years old, is sitting on a rock when the bear appears at the beginning of the video. The man filming, Joe Kun, tells her, “I think we should move.” Amazingly, Tupy barely reacts, slowly getting up from the rock and walking away from the animal.
Tupy said although they thought there was a very low chance of encountering a bear, her friends joked before the hike about what to do if it happened.
“We knew there was a chance because we were going into wildlife,” she told the Sussex Daily Voice. “It’s their home – not ours.”
She said that bears tend to get startled and start chasing you if you run away from them.
Even though she and her friends go hiking a lot, she said that “you don’t really realize what you’re capable of or how to handle things until you’re in the situation.”
“I was so scared,” she added, but “we were educated, and that just helped us so much.”
Kun, 24, told the Sussex Daily Voice that “as long as you have the right reaction and stay calm, everyone can come out okay without any problems.” He reportedly thinks the bear might be used to seeing hikers along the popular trail.
Tupy and Kun said they both plan to keep hiking.