Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Grizzly Discovery

View from Our Pillows
June 9, 2013
Certain adults in the party could barely move the next morning, so we decided to stay in camp and enjoy the swimming pool. Or just sleep. That afternoon, we went into West Yellowstone to “walk around”, so Jack said. Well, we've been in W. Y. lots of times, and I had plenty of photos, so I decided to leave my camera. I didn't need any more photos of us walking around.

Once there, Jack decided to go to the grizzly bear and wolf exhibit across the parking lot from Imax. A certain photographer was rather bitter, since the camera was 6 miles away, and the car had been parked across town before we started walking. It was an exquisite torture to attend a facility like that with no means of documentation. The only thing that made it bear-able was that our ticket was good for 2 days, so we could come back without paying anything more.
Grizzly cub,
killed by another animal.

Became ill.
Some died,
some had to be
8-10" long.

Many of their rescued bears came from Alaska, and nearly all had been “troublesome” bears. One specialized in breaking into pickups. Grand Picnic Auto? Some had been orphaned and were scrounging anything and everything to survive. The little ones were often near starvation when saved.

NOT Bear Proof!
Now, in addition to being treated like grizzly kings and queens, they have a job. Real, genuine employment. They serve as bear-proof container testers. Odoriferous and desirable food, such as bacon or honey, is placed inside the allegedly bear-proof container. The bears are given three hours to work their magic. If the container makes it, it gets the bear-proof Stamp of Approval. Very few containers are that fortunate.

It was so good that we had to come back the next day, too, with a thicker coating of mosquito repellent covering our welts. This time I had my camera.

While photographing the raptors, one of those little incidents happens that really has no place on an elegant blog like mine, but I also strive for journalistic integrity. To me, that means not always telling about OTHER people’s embarrassing moments and ignoring my own.

Devon and I were hanging out with the bald eagles, including Isis, who had neurological damage and liked to sit there with her head upside down, the Great Horned Owl who had imprinted on humans as an owlet, and a couple of golden eagles. Devon walked around the bird area, while I crouched patiently to capture the perfect bald eagle shot. Better yet, several perfect bald eagle shots.

NOT Bear Proof!
No one else was around, and out of the corner of my eye  I could see Devon’s bright green shirt as he crouched a short distance away. Hunkered down, I incautiously released a raucous buildup of methane that would have been almost impossible to contain anyway. “Devon!” I exclaimed in mock scolding. “We are in public!”

No heeheehee greeted my little witticism, so I glanced over to see if he was even paying attention. You can imagine my horror as I saw that the green was a lady’s pants, as she stood quietly with her husband watching the eagles. Guess they got a little more nature than they bargained for.

As we were just about to leave, a bunch of sirens went off for a fender bender. The wolves went nuts, howling at the late afternoon sun. (Though with a little judicious photo editing, it passed for moonlight well enough. See the upcoming blog post about the fair for the result.)

After hours of fun, thrills, and a splash of humiliation, we got back in the car and headed to Bozeman for Phase II of our trip.


  1. Your posts always make me smile.

  2. Your smiling at my posts makes me smile. :)