Man had a few bucket list items during THE Trip. One was to see bears, black and grizzly. Our first chance at seeing a black bear had been a couple of days prior and even though he saw the bear, the photo op was a bust. Man had tried, but, bear was not cooperating. I'll tell ya right now, that his bucket list still includes the grizzly, and I for one, am just fine with that. I was already pushing my luck and comfort zone with my close encounter with the bison and the elk or mule deer that just about ran into Big Butt two days prior in the Canyon Village area.
On June 25, 2011 after lunch in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, we continued our drive around what I am calling the "north loop". Now headed east we are headed for the Tower-Roosevelt area of the park. From the photo below you can see that the rivers are all quite full, they had four times the normal snow fall the winter before in and around Utah, Montana, Wyoming and other northwestern states of the US. Snow was still on the mountain tops and the rivers had not yet crested from the melt off. All that water and the spring green sure made for some beautiful scenery.
There are several areas in the park where we noted there had been fires, some set as controlled burns, others, acts of Mother Nature or careless visitors. Burned areas are dramatic, one can imagine the drama of the event, and the prior beauty. But, it is a time of re-birth as well, and I find it rather fascinating to view the aftermath, the new tiny trees and their pale green beginnings. You can see the lay of the land, pockets of water, maybe paper thin springs and running water that you cannot see through the heavy forests. During our ride from Mammoth Hot Springs to Tower-Roosevelt I spied this area that had burned, and there near the base of this burnt tree, a shelf mushroom. The photo is not the best of the mushroom, but check out the evidence of the fire and the evidence of a forest being re-born.
We continued on our drive, and not 2 minutes later we saw, yes, here it comes, a BEAR! It was lumbering down the hillside coming directly at the road, and us. And, I had Man do just what they tell you NOT to do, pretty much stop on the roadway, and of course, you block other traffic behind you (cause you know the oncoming traffic has done the same thing - - stopped). There are no shoulders to speak of, so, if you stop, you stop on the road. We wanted to watch bear and of course, Sony and I wanted a photo op. I rolled the window down, and started shooting.
See, here it comes:
Closer, and moving along at a pretty good clip, even though you think of them as lumbering, from our first glance and photo till my last photo, about 3 minutes time.
And, closer yet.
About this point in the photo shoot Mr. or Mrs. Bear was getting pretty close to Big Butt and occupants, which included all 3 yorkies. Taking no chances that said bear would smell said yorkies and become overly interested I gave Man the "let's get outta here NOW" command, and he hit the gas peddle. We were the first vehicle stopped in the queue, so away we went. I tried for one more photo, best of the photo op in some ways, only, missed the head portion, SIGHHH. Only regrets this entire trip, photos missed. If Man had not stepped on the gas quite so hard, oh, never mind! LOL
And, that is our bear story/sighting of the entire trip. Close enough for moi. Total encounter a little over 3 minutes, you just saw ALL the photos I was able to click off. The rest of the time I was in stunned awe!
* By the way, none of these photos were edited as far as size, I most likely had Sony zoomed some when the photos were shot, but, the post photo editing I did with Photoshop consisted only of a bit of auto correct, a little brightness and/or contrast adjustment and maybe a tweak with the sharpness tool. So, yes, that bear came fairly close to the truck and occupants.