It had been a busy week since we had last been looking for bears and so Renita packed a picnic lunch, and we loaded our cameras and binoculars into the car. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the park boundaries and we entered at the Moose Entrance Station.
Just past the Taggert Lake Trailhead we saw our first traffic jam. This time it was the cow moose that we had seen before. She was laying down and seemed unconcerned by all the people, many of whom were way too close, less than twenty-five yards. We watched a safe distance and took photos.
Continuing on we passed spots where we had seen bears before, but this time we drew a blank and it was not until we almost reached the Colter Bay turnoff that the road was blocked by a huge bear jam. Renita found us a good parking spot and after locking the car we walked along the shoulder until we saw a grizzly bear.
As we took images another grizzly bear appeared, this one almost black in color but you could easily spot the pronounced hump and the characteristic ear shape which are two ways to id a grizzly.
As we stood there the bears turned toward us and while stopping to feed on the yellow flowers, continued until they got to close.
At that point, the Park Ranger yelled at our crowd that it was time to back up and as bears continued heading our way, he twice told us to backup, before the bears turned and attempted to cross the road. Another ranger showed up with her sirens blaring and her lights flashing. That did the trick, and the bears crossed the road and hurried into the woods.
Anytime you see a bear is a good day and this time we were lucky to see two subadult grizzlies. Note the claws! It was said that these two had been kicked out by their mom, just this spring.
It was the first time we had seen these bears and in the month of May, we have seen thirteen different grizzlies and one black bear, (we see more black bears in the fall). The crowd dissipated and returning to our car we drove north to Sargent Picnic area.
Turning around we checked out Leeks Marina, Colter Bay, before stopping for lunch at Pilgrim Creek. Hoping to spot a bear, none appeared but a coyote did show up along the edge of the forest.
One man yelled, “It’s a wolf”, and a little later another person said it is a red fox. I mentioned it is a coyote and moved closer taking lots of pictures.
It seemed unconcerned and hunted for a meal. At several spots it stopped as it heard prey in the grass but never pounced on an unsuspecting mouse, vole, or shrew. It finally disappeared into the forest, and we drove on.
At the Willow Flats we saw quite a few cow elk feeding. Its time for them to calve and they use this area to hide their calves from bears, which love fresh elk, (Two years ago we watched as a bear fed on a calf elk before it cached its kill, (That time the mother of the calf approached, and the bear stopped to hunt the cow, but the elk finally retreated from the hunting grizzly).
A bald eagle soared overhead, and I did take an image of it as it hunted.
We next stopped at the Oxbow where a muskrat fed before returning to its house. From there we drove across the dam and saw another wildlife traffic jam. Rolling down the window I asked a man what he had seen, and he said a caribou.
Knowing there are no caribou in the park we pulled over and walked down the road until we spotted a huge bull elk resting in the shade.
It was time to go and so we headed back to Moose. On the way we spotted the red fox that we had seen on the last trip. If you go to a park there are some things you need to know:
Always park so that your vehicle is outside the white painted line. Never approach within twenty-five yards of buffalo, elk, deer, big horn sheep and keep at least one hundred yards away from bears, wolves, and mountain lions, (anything that can eat you).
Drone flying is illegal! Tell them they may be arrested. Take their picture and one of their license plates.
There have been fights reported between people as they jockey for position, do not be an idiot! When asked what you are watching, share what you are seeing with others and do not put out chairs to block others from parking spots. There is no saving spots for your friends.
If you run into a jerk take their picture and one of their license plates and post it on social media. No one is entitled, it is a National Park for everyone.
Do not feed the wildlife!
Finally obey the bear volunteers and park rangers. Thank them for the job they do in keeping the bears and us safe. Clear skies