Glacier Day One – bear sightings

Posted on September 8, 2014

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I’m full of the lurgie. I think the chilly temperature and constant rain has taken its toll. I’m running on empty but I refuse to let it get the better of me. I’ve stocked up on meds and post hike walks I’m drinking hot toddies determined to get over this and damn sure it will not ruin my trip to the beautiful Glacier National Park.

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Bundled up in my waterproofs and warm weather clothing we hit the trail on Wednesday around midday for a ten mile hike at elevation in the pouring rain. This weather would test the patience of the Dame Ellen McCarthur. Our goal was to get to Iceberg Lake which is fed by a small glacier. En route, about 20 minutes in, we stopped at what can only be described as a “bear jam”. There in the cliff face was a grizzly feeding on berries. My first bear sighting!!

He was beautiful not as big as I imagined adult bears to be. He was also collared, a sign that conservationists are monitoring the wildlife here. The bears often use the trails too, their bear scat (poop) is clearly visible. Dark red from berries. They eat something like 40,000 calories a day!

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Unfortunately my wildlife photography skills need a bit of help, speed, is the real issue. Those critters move fast and the flora is thick. He was 240ft from us, but the best image I could snap turned out to be ‘soft’ – buggar. I could have stayed for hours watching him, but the rain was falling hard, so on we went.

The trail took us high into the hills. Down in the valley below there was an area which looked like it had been flattened by an avalanche. The dead trees flattened to the ground. The new saplings now growing at weird angles. From the height we were at, it was clear it was a biggie.

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It took about two hours to get to Iceberg Lake. The scene was amazing. I am running out of adjectives to describe the beauty this place holds.

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On our way back we passed the most enormous moose. B told me he was average size, but what I love is that he was just waking up and had that sleepy-eyed look as hikers passed to gawp at him. He’ a wee bit small in the iPad shot but wait till you see him close up.

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Off the trail we peeled off out wet clothes and headed to the Many Glacier Hotel to warm up by the log fire in reception and to get a drink. The drive is less than two minutes and very soon we saw a hoard of people gazing upward. We pulled up, high in the hillside was a cinnamon black bear and her cub. After pulling out the 600mm lens we soon realised that the shot actually had three sets of ears.

“B, I think there are two young ones,” I said excitedly.

We waited. Then voila! Cub number two emerged. Mum and babies stretched out walking single file across the cliff face. She had a black face and gorgeous brown body while her offspring were jet black.

What a day for wildlife sighting! More photos to come from my pro-camerawhen i get back home!

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Posted in: Branching out