Bear Country

When we started off on this trip we anticipated seeing a lot of wildlife. And we have. So far, we've seen bison, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer, whitetail, elk, moose, feral horses and an array of bird species. But the animal we've spotted on the most occasions has, undoubtedly, been the continuously celebrated, and feared, bear.

Since entering Glacier National Park 10 days ago, and driving north to Canada, through Banff and Jasper National Parks and into British Columbia, we've seen 20 bears - 16 black bears and four grizzlies. Three of the grizzlies were eating in the bushes just off the highway northwest of Grande Cache, a sow and two cubs. Earlier that day we saw another sow, a black bear, and her three cubs crossing the road, near Maligne Lake in Jasper.

While we were hiking in Many Glacier at Glacier National Park, in the states, we were watching a cow moose grazing in a shallow lake. Wading in the clear blue waters of the lake's edge, we were looking for the bull moose that we had just heard was in the area. Suddenly two our right, about 200 yards away, we noticed some movement. It was a black bear, running our way. An adolescent, maybe two years old, he quickly noticed two humans standing between him and whatever he was eager to run towards and stopped in his tracks. Curiously, he looked at us for a second or two, then ran away from shore, up into the trees. As we continued on our hike to the second lake on the trail, we saw him again, up the hill and in the trees. He seemed to know were were around and wasn't too shy, but wasn't too interested in saying, "hello" either. (Which pleased us.) After another minute or two he eventually scrambled over fallen logs and up the hill out of sight.

Now in the Yukon Territory, we should be in Alaska in a day or two. Surely we'll stay alert, and always safe, for more encounters with the bold and beautiful bear.

Photo Notes: The first five photos are of a black bear we spotted on the side of the road just after crossing the USA-Canada border. He paid no attention to us as he rummaged through bushes for buffaloberries. The next photo is of our first grizzly sighting in Waterton National Park. Then, the third set of photos is of a mama black bear and her three cubs in Jasper. We didn't snap any shots of the sow grizzly and her two cubs later that day. It was a quick sighting and we were busy staying alert as she was 200 or so yards from us, even though we had the safety of our vehicle between.

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