Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yellowstone part 1

I'll let Caroline tell the full out narrative about our trip. She's much better at figuring out what's interesting and what's not. So, if you want to hear about the whole trip (or anything else!) post a comment or send Caroline an email and tell her to get back on top of blogging and posting pictures.

What I WILL tell you about though is about how Ken and I got chased by two grizzlies.

Grizzly Bear

Ken is my brother in law. We'd decided to go fishing at Grebe lake in Yellowstone. It's a 3.3 mile hike from the parking lot to the lake. We hadn't caught any fish, and were having a nice hike back from the lake, making good time.

We were only about a 1/2 mile from the parking lot when coming around the corner 50 yards ahead I saw two bears.

"Ken, bears" I whispered urgently.
"Crap. What do we do?" He said back, just as urgently.

They either hadn't seen us yet or hadn't cared yet, and were just slowly walking down the trail right at us.

We decided on the 'back away slowly' tactic that we'd read on many of Yellowstone's park signs. Backing away involved stepping off the trail -- we didn't want to just back all the way back to the lake. As soon as we started stepping off the trail the bears noticed us and started running at us.

Next to the trail was a thin line of small trees and brush, maybe 4 or 5 feet wide. On the other side of the trees was an open field of short grass. With the bears running at us we both jumped through the trees and on to the grass.

In the few seconds that had passed, the bears had covered the 50 yards and were on the trail where we had been. We were now thirty or so feet into the field and they were crashing through the trees. We both hit the ground to play dead.

With what I can only describe as a happy gallop, the bears ran straight at us until they were about 20 feet from Ken (I was about 10 feet behind Ken) and then abruptly turned to the side, circled back to where they'd broken through the trees and went crashing away through the brush on the other side of the trail.

Ken and I stayed on the ground for 5 or 10 minutes breathing heavily and laughing quietly. Oh, and hoping that there wasn't a mother bear coming along.

When we finally did get up, I got two big sticks and banged them together the rest of the way to the car while Ken carried my fishing pole.

The two bears were grizzly bears, probably about 200 lbs each. My guess is that they were a year or so old. They still had some cub features, but were too big to be cubs. when we talked to the rangers later, they said they were likely too old for their mother to be with them.

So, that's the bear story.

4 comments:

AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Um, I'm pretty disappointed that you don't have a video to post of this.

Michael Moore said...

Sorry. A video would have been good, because Caroline wouldn't believe me for quite a while that it happened.

Bart said...

Great story - talk about scary! Just glad it ended like it did!

Caity said...

That is a good story.