I was on my way to the Park this morning when I came across our local grizzly swimming the Soda Butte below our cabin. When he climbed out on the far side I soon lost him in the timber. Fifteen minutes later I picked him up again walking the old drive to Whispering Pines. I mounted my camera and shot an amazing series of photos as he strutted right up to me until only the highway separated us.
I can say I was this close because I was in my car. And I can say the photos were amazing because I seem to have lost my card holding the shots. (They were good!) From here I lost the bear again as it entered a thick stand of willows. Pulling into Stop The Car, where they not only sell groceries and souvenirs, but also offer soups and sandwiches, I hurried in to alert Cheryl of the approaching bear. We stepped out for a look and there he was crossing the road to disappear behind the row of brown cabins.
Cheryl and I jumped in my car and we hurried over for a look. I spotted him on the hillside behind, when Cheryl noticed a moose. Within seconds a yearling moose charges out from between the cabins with a grizz close behind. They raced across the highway and disappeared in the willows on the other side. The grizz seemed to be gaining ground rapidly. For the next few minutes Cheryl and I searched the side roads for what we thought was a sad ending to the moose. But the moose was to live another day as we located the grizz again recrossing the highway to where the chase had begun. (I found out why later when Cindy came across a cow moose behind our cabin.)
The bear sniffed around for a bit then began climbing the slope north above Silver Gate. We drove up to our friend Fritz’s house to gain a closer view and watched as the grizz dipped in behind some down logs to begin digging and pulling at something. Presently he lifted a portion of elk carcass and began ripping strips of red meat off with his jaws. This went on for a half hour or so, when the grizz tucked his meal back down under the log and covered it with nearby debris. Satisfied the carcass was sufficiently hidden the grizz found a comfortable spot to rest. And he did. Interestingly, it was almost exactly a year ago to the day this grizzly ran down and killed an elk just across the valley.