Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears in the distance appeared as tiny dots in the Lamar Valley. We saw a bunch of people on a knoll looking up at Specimen Ridge through scopes; it was a guide who had spotted two mating grizzlies. It was true that through the scope one could make out two bears on top of each other, but not well enough to see their faces or really observe their activities with any level of detail; I was disappointed with how faaaaaar away they were. We later saw one across the valley and watched it through the scope as both a bison and a coyote moved well away from it as it lumbered along the far side of a river bank.

After a couple days we finally saw one close by the road, on the other side of some grass. The bear was stopping traffic for a long way up the valley so a Ranger was attempting to manage traffic, and every time the bear looked up all the cameras clicked madly. It was hard to get a photo because we were on the edge of the road with lots of traffic, packed with a lot of people, and the bear was in tall grass which often blocked the view or skewed the focus. But, he or she was closer than I had ever been to a bear and I enjoyed the experience anyway. I did not get super photos, but the best ones are here.

In the Hayden Valley, we saw two grizzlies high up in a gulch, and then again a little farther up valley. They were only visible with scopes. It was the Friday night before Labor Day Weekend and more people were flooding the park. They created a traffic jam to look at the bears, and many were making comments so stupid it was hard to enjoy looking at the bears, so that viewing was not as pleasant. But, still, it was nice to spot and watch bears, I just find scope watching hard on the eyes and not nearly as nice as sitting or standing and observing animal behavior over time.

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