Sunday, June 7, 2020

A Third Bear Trip to Grand Teton National Park

We wanted to head back to the park and hopefully see bears that were closer to the road. Asking our friends George and Val and Jo and Robert we decided to head back last Monday. The best spots to spot bears in the Spring are ones that everyone knows, Towgotee Pass, Pilgrim Creek, and Willow Flats.
Our first stop was Towgotee Pass, which always presents you with a beautiful view of the Tetons. All the streams here are flooding, due to the snow melt, but the waters of Pacific Creek were so high that the lowlands were flooded right up to the highway.

Heading up to mile eleven we stopped at several spots and glassed for bears. No bears or even elk were anywhere to be seen. Still it was a beautiful photo place and we did take e a few photos before we drove back down and entered the park.
Our next stop was at Pilgrim Creek and when we neared it, we saw lots of traffic cones but very few cars. Stopping at a turnoff we attempted to ask a lady in a lawn chair, if she had seen any bears. She did not answer as it became obvious to us that she was asleep. We glassed the edges of the forest but did not see any bears.
Our next stop was at Colter Bay. We had heard that people had crowded around 399 so much that she had charged them and that her cubs were so frightened that she gathered them up and took them into the back country.
From there we drove to the Sargent Picnic area. We had planned to lunch there, and we had brought our lawn chairs, so we were able to have a picnic and keep our social distance at six feet or more.
Several years ago, we were eating lunch there and 399 had walked out and crossed the road. It was a beautiful day and J showed us her app that allowed her to inset a selfie into another picture, (I lost the picture somewhere on our computer).
We talked it over where we would try next and Renita and I opted to head to Willow Flats. There was a trail that also offered promise, but we decided that it was too dangerous for us to walk into the forest, even though we carried bear spray.
The last time we were at Willow Flats, cow elk were out in the open but now they had dispersed into the small pockets. One of the pockets contained three cow elks and a calf and we even got to see the calf nursing. We did not see any bears, but they had to be in the area as elk calves are one of the main diet choices.
Splitting up we decided to drive up the Pacific Creek Road. There were no bear warning signs and we did not see bears or even elk. Its one of the places where the elk migrate when they leave the Elk Refuge and there were surely elk and bear near Ocean and Emma Matilda Lakes, but the time was running late, and we decided to head back home.
We decided to try on last stop, this one along the Moose Wilson road. getting out the bear spray, we hiked on the trail where we often see bears in the fall. We never did see any wildlife but ti was eerie as we were the only ones there. It was obvious that there were few people in the park.
It was our first time this year without seeing any bears, but we did get to see elf calves nursing. They were a long way away and out cameras telephoto lens just was not up to the task, (our binoculars are excellent, and we highly recommend Cannon 10 x 41 image stabilizer binoculars). So for the rest of the week, we are going to take a pass at the park. On Friday we are celebrating our forty ninth anniversary and we are going to the Grays Refuge on a birding expedition. Clear skies

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