Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bozeman and Bears. Wolves too.

So yesterday three Czech girls, Bada, Mischa, and Mirka, and I went to Bozeman, MT. They were shopping, I was picking up some things from Wal-Mart and the like that I needed. Despite the fact that it was hot, it was a nice day and an even nicer drive.

Once back in the park, instead of taking the way we took to get to Bozeman, I took a different and longer route figuring that we might have a chance to see some more wildlife. Boy was I right. After eating eating in Mammoth, we set out towards Tower-Roosevelt and not more than 3 miles East of Mammoth we came across a big traffic jam with people getting out of their cars right in the middle of the road. I said to the girls, "This is a bear." Well I was partially right as it was just one bear, but a sow black bear and her two cubs! The sow was pretty small but totally unafraid of the people who were only 40 yards away. Her cubs were playing around and one even went up a tree!




After that awesome encounter we continued onward and just South of Tower we say another group of people stopped along side the road, and it was another bear. But I only saw the butt of this one for about 2 seconds before it disappeared into forest so no pictures.

Then about 15 minutes later on our drive up the side of Mt. Washburn we see even more people stopped on the side of the road. Now I knew ahead of time that this area is great for seeing grizzlies, at a distance, so I figured it was one of them. It was but unfortunately not 3 minutes before we got there the grizzly had gone into some trees and couldn't be seen. We waited 15 minutes, but saw nothing so we moved on.

About 30 minutes after that we were driving through the beginning of Hayden Valley just south of Canyon. This is the same area where I had seen the wolves last week, but from which they were supposed to have moved. We apparently they moved 2 miles further south and about a half mile off the road because as we rounded a turn I saw the kind of mass stoppage that only wolves can create. Sure enough the same wolves from last week were out in the valley across the river.

At first I only saw the two Alphas lying down which only looked like two gray patches in the grass. But then about 15 minutes after we got there, two puppies came out from the woods and began playing with each other. It was awesome. Because they were over a half mile away, I have no pictures, but through the spotting scopes that people had set up you could see them perfectly. The two I saw were both gray and black and about 25 to 30 pounds. They were very rambunctious and having a good time.

That drive home ended up being a lot more interesting than I had anticipated, hopefully I can have another one like it soon.

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