I spent ten days in Glacier. It was beautiful and I will be back. After my encounter with the grizzly bear, I found that I enjoyed “Ranger led hikes” more than my solo adventures. I camped at three different campgrounds and made a day trip to Waterton, the Canadian appendage to Glacier. I enjoyed everything Huckleberry (hand picked wild berries, pancakes, muffins and of course pie). I would have stayed longer but the weather got crummy and there was nothing but rain in the forecast. I headed west until the sun was shining and now I find myself near Portland, OR, camping in the Mt. Hood National Forest, near the Columbia River.
I am excited, this weekend I pick up my girlfriend Leslie in Portland and we will explore the coast of Oregon, with a bonus of seeing my sister who lives in Corvallis.
Today was a moving day. Moving days are stressful. I know. Stress is relative. Anyhow I got a nice campsite. It had a small puddle from raining all night, but the sun was shining. A half hour latter it started pouring rain and I soon had my own little lake. Nothing to do but take a nap.
After the rain it was really too late to do much so I walked to the general camp store probably about 1/4 mile away. On my way back I cut through the picnic area to walk along the lake. I was daydreaming about what a nice campsite this would be. I looked up and there He was! A huge Grizzly about 50 yards ahead of me. We both stopped. He turned his body, looked at me, turned away, and walked into the woods. I slowly turned and went the long way back to the Airstream.
When I was telling the ranger about my close encounter, he asked, was it a little cinnamon colored bear? I said NO, it was a huge, grey shouldered Grizzly Bear!
A half hour later, rangers were going to each campsite warning campers to take extra precautions as multiple bears had been spotted near camp. A cinnamon colored black bear and a Grizzly.
After leaving Yellowstone, I spent the next week within 75 miles of the park. My first campground was outside of West Yellowstone. It was a little exciting, I had an electric hookup for the first time in three weeks (and one TV channel). I was camped on the Madison River, a well known trout hangout. It rained for three days, “good for fishing” you might say. Not so much.
My next move was about 50 miles up River towards Bozeman, MT. The River kind of meanders up here. It’s a little warm for the fish, but great for all the Bozemanites floating by me on anything that will float and hold a cooler (mostly inner tube chair things) . I had my lounge chair and binoculars watching the passerby’s.
Today was my first day in Glacier National Park. I am a little disappointed as it is hot and very hazy, limiting the panoramic views the park is known for.
So I went in search of Grizzly Bears. It didn’t start out that way. I found a simple four mile, relatively flat hike on the list of recommended day hikes. What I didn’t know, until I was fully committed was that the trailhead was six miles up a very narrow, winding, gravel road. Maybe I should have turned around when I saw no other cars on the road or at the trailhead?
Well I didn’t find any bears, but they were there. I could smell them as walked through the knee high huckleberry fields. At one point I was hiking with bear spray in hand chanting “here I am”.
I spent three days at the Gros Ventre (growvant) campground near Jackson. Fishing was good on the Gros Ventre River right next to camp. Leaving camp on Thursday morning was exciting. There were about two hundred Bison (did you know Buffalo is incorrect), blocking my way. Normally this would be a wonderful photo opportunity, but I was in a campsite race to Yellowstone. If you don’t plan ahead you have to race for the first come first serve spaces. So while others were marveling at the site, I was the jerk beeping his horn urging them out of the way.
I thought I won the race. The campground had a nice spot left. While I was paying the nice lady, another volunteer was getting out his tape measure. “What’s that for?”. Sir, we have a 35 ft limit here. “No, problem my Airstream is only 20 ft”. No sir, total length including the tow vehicle. I am sorry sir you are 37ft, you can’t stay here. “You have got to be f..king kidding me!” No sir here is a complaint form if you are unhappy.
So here was my Thursday night view in majestic Yellowstone.
Luckily, there were better views later!