I’ve never come upon a grizzly bear while hiking in the backcountry, and that’s just fine with me. I’ve backpacked a time or two in grizzly country, but never in Yellowstone or Glacier. I just know that I’d be wide-eyed all night, bear spray at the ready, waiting for…well…you know: Night of the Grizzlies. I do hike in grizzly country, but I’m definitely on my guard the whole time. And, even though I’m not a huge fan of winter, one of its perks is that the bears are sleeping. Usually.
Last December we arrived back at our car after a long ski in Yellowstone, and turned around to find this fellow on the hill above us. For cripe’s sake. Now, I know that bears don’t really sleep all winter, and that they sometimes get up and wander around (or take a long time to actually start to hibernate) but I was just counting on the odds of actually meeting one being in my favor. And I guess they were, since we didn’t run into him on the trail. And I’ve got to say, he really wasn’t particularly interested in us – he just kept on his way, without a glance in our direction. And he was one good looking bear.
We just returned from a bear-less weekend in Yellowstone, and it was beautiful. I think the pictures tell the story best: