Novenber 2005. This is a two hikes in the same day in Glacier Park, Montana, known for its grizzly bear popoulation. First destination is one part of the Continental Divide (Rocky Mountains). Photo from start of path.
Grizzly bears. There a four, but I could only get three at one time. Note the lighter coloured fir on the backs of the older bears. The adults have a large hump on their back which is distinguishes them from brown and black bears.
A mother grizzly bear with her cubs. They are about 100 yards from me an ignoring my obvious presence. The bears can run at speeds up to 30 mph. which means they could reach me in under one minute. Just enough time to get my pepper spray ready while I am running backwards.
The grizzly bears are traveling across the valley foraging for food. They rip up roots with their long claws. They travels many miles in one day. I moved on to find a waterfall in a small gorge.
Around every corner is a picturesque view.
Grizzlies in the neighborhood. The print is nearly 12 inches long. big bear. The snow is fresh. I didn't see any bears in this gorge and that was good because there was nowhere to hide. I met hikers on this easy trail with a small dog on a leash, contrary to all the guidelines. The bears would be attracted to the smell or be disturbed by the dog's yelping. Neither a good situation for the owners or other people on the path.
A typical view on the trails.
This picture is aqbout about half way, on the hike.
A common bird in these parts - a blue bird. I forget the latin name.
Finally, a few hours later. The wall is behind me.
Avalanches were contiuous even though the wasn't much snow; they were very loud with the sounds reverberating of the granite cliffs. I at a healthy packed lunch and savoured the remoteness and ignored the winds whistling through chinks in my clothing.
On the path down the mountain I came across some fresh bear scat. Not a good sign, unless you are a scatologist. And, then suddenly after a turn on the path was the offending bear. A big brown. I had to go past him on the path, and also knew that he would use the path as well. Well here goes. I pulled out my pepper spray.
First, I got his attention with a 'hello bear' call. He stood on hind legs and sniffed, and then went back to eating berries. Another call, and then another and finally he saw me. Again, on the hinds legs. I then raised my arms and spread them to make myself look bigger. He took the cue, I was too big to beat and he quickly scurried up the slope to the path. Now we were on the same level and held my breath to see which way he was going to run-toward me or away. Once again he stood on hind legs, sniffed. This is it. the final test. I passed. I wasn't food and he went down on all fours scurried into a nearby rockcut and disappeard. I carried on-carefully and still shouting 'hello bear.'
Note in he bear print picture below there are no claw points as there are with the grizzly prints above.
After the bears were nice harmless goats, and mountain lions who remained invisible.
My next trek on the same day was to reach Tunnel Pass. If you look carefully at the next picture and about centre and just below the ridge, you can see a black strip which is the location of the tunne. The route paths can been seen as straight lines zig zagging across the width of the canyon. About a four hour hike there and back. Howling winds almost blowing me off the slopes. As, on most of these hikes if you slide down the mountain you end up in the lake. At this time of year you might not meet anybody all day. I did, however, meet a couple who made it half way up to the tunnel, got wet and had to come back down to avoid hypothermia.
The left side of the canyon.
Finally, the tunnel. 50 + MPH winds at this point .
And the valley on the other side. The path down the mountain is on the right side. I chose to leave it for another day. I didn't actually come back to this site, but did traverse similar terrain during the next few weeks.
More trips coming;