Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Some, to see a bear, would pay a fee*

While I'm still fairly grouchy about missing the Glacier Institute's three-day grizzly bear seminar this weekend, I do get a consolation prize: I'm flying my sister into Kalispell on Friday night and we're going to show her around Glacier before flying her back on Monday to the crappy job that gives her so little vacation time she hasn't a single extra day to spare by September.

But I was really hoping to attend this seminar and finally see a grizzly in the wild. On the glacial recession trip, we hiked the Swiftcurrent Trail, which had been closed until that very day because of grizzly activity. Last year, the seminar participants had encountered a sow and two cubs on the way up to the glacier. This year we saw nothing, though we did meet some folks at the glacier who had taken the ferry across Swiftcurrent Lake instead of the trail around it, and informed us there was a sow and a cub on the slopes above where we were hiking at the exact time we passed through.

I've had a lot better luck with black bears. There are a few black bears that hang around the mountain up at the house. My neighbor owns more than a hundred acres of woodland that surround our place, and while he thinned the forest a bit this year, he made certain to leave a substantial channel through which the bears could travel. My mother-in-law and I saw one a couple summers back, and we frequently see them on the road up to my brother-in-law's place on Big Mountain. And we had an encounter with one up in the Adirondacks, which is worth its own post.

And of course, there was this little experience in Glacier almost exactly a year ago:

I love how, at the end, the bear briefly observes the car going by and then immediately goes back to munching.

*Can you name that tune??


kris said...

That video is totally cool! Not having ever lived in bear country, being that close to one seems a little scary to me. But I'm sure it's very cool to see them in their natural habitat. Seeing a grizzly would be quite an experience for me. (I know, you take a video, and I'll watch it there!)

Have a fun time with your sister. What is the deal with companies being skimpy with vacation time??? I hate that!

Trailhead said...

Yeesh, I know. This one is particularly bad -- it closes the week after Christmas. Which sounds great until you find out they demand their employees cover it with one of the two -- count em, two -- weeks of vacation they get. Add in having a ten year old who's going through a hypochondriac phase, and poof! No vacation by September.