Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 7 - Grand Tetons (3)

Trey was still out in the back country camping at BearPaw lake.  So I decided to get up early and get some sunrise pictures.  I left camp a little after 5 am and headed to Oxbow Bend Turnout for some sunrise reflection pictures.  It was cold,  but worth getting up.  Everything kept saying that the Tetons were a sunrise park for pictures and they were right.    From there I saw a herd of elk and took pictures of them for a while.

As I headed back to camp, I saw a fox cross the road,  but could not get a picture of it.  I met Trey at noon.  He had hiked 14 miles the day before to his campsite on Bearpaw lake. He had a great night, but it was cold.  He didn't see any bears,  which were reported at his campsite the night before.

We decided to hike towards Death Canyon trail up to the overlook of Phelps lake (at the southern end of the park).  The road there was really bumpy and "recommended" 4 wheel drive, but the Tundra and camper did fine.  On the way up to the overlook we met a very wide eyed Australian couple,  they were telling us that as they were hiking up the switchbacks,  a bear kept cutting the trail to get in front of them!   They said that a one point the bear was 5 meters in front of them!  They thought the bear was a teenager and just curious ... and asked if we saw a picture if we could tell what type it was....  it was definitely a Grizzly!     They didn’t have any bear spray and kept just making lots of noise and they were lucky the bear did not bother them.  …. So … Trey and I kept hiking towards the bear….

A little further up the trail we ran into a couple of guys with the same expression as the Australian couple...  the one guy got separated from his friend (the one that had the bear spray...)  and as he was hiking he came across a grizzly cub...  what bothered him was that  he did NOT see the mother...   

So...  Trey and I continued to hike very cautiously toward the bears...  We now know there are at least 3 grizzlies ahead…  I know... Kim would say... WHY?  But we kind of wanted to see one.  After a while we met another set of couple of hikers,  but one guy had a torn up hat and had one hiking boot and one climbing shoe on?  We asked if they ran into the grizzlies?  He said no,  they were climbers and as they were climbing they looked down and a marmot had grabbed his hat and munched on it for a while…dropped the hat…and then took off with his hiking boot. By the time they climbed down, there was no sign of the boot.
Since they had seen no trace of bears... we headed back.  It was a nice short hike of about 4 miles.  On the way back down the bumpy road at a turnout there was a Grizzly on the move.  Trey got to see it,  but I messed with my camera too long and missed it...  next time look first..  camera second...
We went to set up camp at Gros Ventre campground for the night and had margaritas and then some pasta for dinner.   On the way into the campground a bison stopped to pose for us, he even changed positions for pictures.  When we were done, Trey said “We’re done, you can move”,  and off he went.   Nice of him to pose for us.  We will be up early tomorrow to get more sunrise pics.

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