I've teamed up with Bill Hamblin to do some spring hikes. They're mostly recreational, but along the way we check in on my nesting and denning sites.
On a hike bushwacking near Hell Roaring, we reached an over-look on a rocky outcropping. While Bill glassed for bears I climbed down to get a closer look at the meadow below. Suddenly, off to my left some fifty yards away, a large black bear passed through an opening. I motioned for Bill to come down, but the bear was gone.
I then discovered if Bill doesn't see it, it never happened.
On our way back up we came upon an elk skull and rack. Bill tried to pick it up but found it was frozen to the ground.
"Bill", I said, "I don't think it's frozen. I think the entire skeleton is under the ground and your'e trying to lift the whole elk".
"Ya, and there's probably a wolf attached to each rear leg", Bill retorted.
"Wouldn't be surprised."
Yesterday we walked up the two miles to the Tower Store parking lot. Along the way we paused at over-looks to glass. Black bears often frequent this area, but today we found only tracks.
Back in the mid 80's, my wife, Cindy, and I came across a black bear being courted by two males. One cinnamon and one black. The next year she had twins. One cinnamon and one black. Over the years, this bear became known as the famous Rosey. By the early 2000's she had raised fifteen cubs. By then one of her early cubs had taken over the role of Rosey. She had 10-12 cubs before she vanished. I found reference to a black bear named Rosey in the Tower area in a book from the 40's. And I'm sure a new rosey will emerge this year.
At the peregrine nest site, Bill glassed the cliffs. We were about to move on when I noticed the falcon perched on the rocks below us. I guess they'll be a nest again this year.
When we reached the store parking area, we checked the old snag across a far ravine. Three times in the past a horned owl pair raised their chicks in the burnt out top. It was empty.
On the way back, we climbed the ridge behind Rainy Lake and glassed the river canyon. No bears, but did spot a band of twenty bighorn sheep on a faraway knoll.
Just because the weather feels like late April- early May, it's still early April and still a little early for roaming bears.