Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Grizzly Bears!

We usually have mixed success looking for bears in the month of June. By June, the bears are actively hunting elk calves. The calves and their mothers are hiding in the willows and so the bears are only spotted when they are cross an opening. When they make a kill, they feed and cache it and are harder to spot.
So, we hoped to see bear 399 and her cubs but most of the day we had to resign ourselves to the beautiful scenery and the numerous spring flowers, tough huh? Arrow Leaf balsam root was everywhere along with lupine.
Other red and smaller yellow flowers were also blooming but in spite of our flower classes and excellent instructor, (sorry Paul Lussow you tried so hard), we were unable to name them. It is reported that Niels Bohr once stated that if he had a better memory, he would have been a botanist.
Our first stop was at Pilgrim Creek, next Willow Flats, followed by the boat landing at the Oxbows, and last the trailhead at Two Ocean Lake without seeing any bears. In fact, the elk were hiding so good that we couldn’t see any elk, even at Willow Flats. Deciding to drive back to Sargent Picnic area Renita spotted a coyote but when we turned around it was too late; the coyote had disappeared into the woods.
Turning around again we saw two cars parked along Leeks Marina Road. A lady was pointing into the woods. Renita decided to turn around and we spotted the bears. They were moving through the trees and were barely visible.
Luckily, they stopped in an open space and even though they were a couple of hundred yards away we were able to take a bunch of images.
They moved into the trees again and they reappeared in another opening. It was than that I looked at my camera and saw I had it set for close up on flowers. Changing the settings and setting the camera on manual focus I got a couple of images as the crossed the meadow and then moved back into the trees.
We relaxed as we had finally got some great images of the two sub adult grizzlies, (they are three years old and have just been kicked out by their mother, (we are not sure if their mom was 693 or 610). It seems like everyone we talk too has their own opinion and opinions are like noses, everyone has one.
The drive home was anticlimactic but it was still beautiful as we drove along the Snake River down Snake River Canyon, (the Shoshone name for it is Mad River). We have now seen bears three out of four trips to the Tetons and we plan on returning as soon as we can!  Clear skies

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