Bear Sightings!

We drove from Spokane to Kalispell, Montana and spent the night. Then we drove through Glacier National Park on the USA side. I will post photos of the park in another post. I wanted to concentrate on the bears we saw this time.

Last year we went through Yellowstone and saw a lot of wildlife: elk, buffalo, big horned sheep, and many more common animals. We were sooo disappointed that we did not see bear!

Well, this trip to Glacier made up for it. We saw eight bear in two days. The bear in the above photo was the last one. We saw him/her yesterday in Waterton National Park which is on the Canadian side of Glacier. We pulled alongside a meadow in the park to eat a picnic lunch in our car. We had our windows rolled down. Immediately this big black bear poked its head out of a bush in the meadow about eight feet from the car. She/he meandered slowly out of the meadow, in front of our car, onto the street where she paused and looked at the gathering crowd and traffic she was stopping, and then she mozied up to the meadow slope on the other side. She stayed there grazing on berries. We watched her for about 15 minutes and enjoyed it very much.

The park ranger told us some interesting facts about the bears. The best time to see, observe in their habitat, and photo them is in September. They look their best after feeding all summer. They are also mating, so they are out constantly on the look for the “right one” and looking good. Remember those dating years?

Bears in Glacier National Park eat mainly huckleberries or wild berries. They consume 100,000 berries a day. That equals about 20,000 calories to prepare for  the long winter season.  They also eat small rodents like squirrels and marmots. Farther north and closer to water, they are much bigger because they can feast regularly on salmon.

We saw three grizzly in Glacier the day before yesterday. They are identified not by color rather by the large hump on their shoulders and their faces are longer. All bears are either black, brown, blonde or cinnamon in coloring. There are a few albinos.

I did come away from the park with a very healthy fear of the grizzly and black bears. They are quite complex and unpredictable — nothing like the Smokey or Yogie bears that I grew up with. It was just awesome to see them in the wild and be able to observe them in the beauty of their mountain creation — their very own home sweet home — the Canadian Rockies.


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