Monday, September 19, 2022

A Day of Bears, Moose, and a Picnic at Phelps Lake

We are trying to make weekly trips to Grand Teton National Park. The bears and moose are extremely active right now and are easy to spot as the bears, are gorging on berries. We also heard about bear activity at Phelps Lake and decided to try and hike the four mile round trip from the LSR Preserve Headquarters, (we have never hiked it).
Meeting our friends Fred and Becky we first had to take some images of the moose and red breasted mergansers feeding in the pond. Next, we decided to hike the trail near the pond and we encountered a flock of cedar waxwings. They were gorging on the ripe hawthorn berries and pretty much ignored us as we took their pictures.
Heading down the trail we met a group who told us about a cinnamon black bear feasting on berries. It was easy to find the spot as there were people peering down the hill. We couldn’t see anything but after a bit we could hear branches breaking, (thank goodness I have hearing aids).
The brush was so thick that we couldn’t see the bear so we waited patiently and finally were rewarded with a brief glimpse of the beautiful cinnamon black bear. It was difficult to get a good shot, due to the thick brush but We got lucky and took an image of the bears face. It showed its ears, snout and even one eye as it glanced around looking for berries. It moved back into the thick brush and so we headed back to the parking lot.
When we returned to the parking lot we were lucky to see a second moose, (there are three hanging near the pond, two cows and on small calf that hides in the tree line). If you are lucky, you can spot the calf by for its ears. We spilt up as our friends decided to take the Park Road and look for the bald eagles that had been fishing at the Oxbow.
We next decided to drive south to the LSR Preserve. Renita and I choose to try the hike to Phelps lake. Its normally a three point four mile round trip but the first part of the trail was closed due to black bear activity. A reroute had been devised which added another six tenths of a mile. Loading our backpack with our lunch and both of us armed with bear spray we headed up the narrow trail.
We ran into a man who mentioned to us that we should have the bear spray more readily available and so we readjusted our gear, (he was right we were being careless, it was on the side of the pack, not on our belts). Crossing the closed road we started going uphill. It was much easier than the Grand Vista and so we didn’t have to stop much to catch our breath.
Soon we reached the trail intersection where we took the Phelps Lake loop. About the time we spotted the Lake, a side trail was closed due to all the bears. At the lake we found several available rocks where we sat down and enjoyed the view. The waters were still and the sun was out so we had a perfectly enjoyably lunch.
After finishing our lunch, we took some pictures before heading back down to the LSR parking lot. We never did see any bears, but we now have another hiking trail to add to our list, (perhaps the next time I will take our fly rods).
As we returned to the Moose Entrance Station, a member of the bear management team was directing traffic. It was a bear jam. The cars ahead of us were stopped, which they are not supposed to do and we both looked for the bear. Not seeing it I stuck my head out of the window and there was the bear! It was right below me. I ducked back into the car and told Renita we needed to drive, “Now!” I could have almost touched the bear, (it was so close Renita could not see it).
I stuck the camera out and tried to take a picture and luckily got one of the bear’s face. It had turned it head and was looking at me. Finally, the car ahead of us moved and we were able to get away from our close encounter. We did turn around for another picture but really could not see it good enough for more shots. It moved into the thick brush, and we didn’t see it again. Passing the park headquarters we ran into another jam. This time a cow and calf moose were feeding along a side channel of the Snake River. The moose had moved into the thick brush, and we never did get a good picture. It didn’t matter it had been a great day! The count was two black bears, four moose, and a new trail! Clear skies

1 comment:

  1. Birds, Bears, Moose and Mountains = Great Day Stay safe and healthy.