Posts tagged: bear

Glacier National Park

By , June 16, 2010 8:49 pm

After Dasy went back to Northern Virginia and the Star was done with it’s major work, I headed up to Glacier National Park.

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I was hoping to spend a fair amount of quality time on the TW-200 (motorcycle), but the weather wasn’t cooperative.  It wasn’t bad weather, just highly unpredictable. 

Glacier is probably the prettiest of the national parks I’ve been to so far.  Everything was so green and the plant life and terrain was so varied.  Most of the other parks seem to have a couple types of trees (or no trees), but Glacier seems to have a little of everything.  I’d have to say it’s possibly my favorite so far. 

The first day, I got the Star checked in and set up around 5pm.  That left me only a couple of hours to run up the Going To The Sun road to see the park.  Unfortunately, the road was closed after about 15 miles, as they haven’t finished snow plowing yet.  Since that’s the only road that goes through the park, that left me able to only see a portion of it.  It remained closed throughout my visit and is only scheduled to open about now.  Maybe I’ll take Dasy with me and we’ll see the rest of the park on the way back from the west coast.

Glacier is pretty much lots of lakes, streams, forests and mountains.  Most of the streams contain a number of waterfalls, of varying sizes.

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On the second day in the park, I’d bumped into Jennifer of LivingInMyCar.  We talked a little about some of her RV problems, and made arrangements to do a short tour the following day.  I ended up caulking what we thought might be leaky spots in her roof, then we spent the morning on the Going To The Sun road.  Jennifer only has her RV and didn’t want to uproot and drive it out there.  So, I volunteered the Jeep as transport and we spent an afternoon taking pictures on the road.  Luckily (for me), on the way there, I spotted a black bear and a ranger promptly showed up to “deal with it”.  This involved shooting it with a bean-bag cannon, which didn’t work at all.  The bear simply ran up a tree. ;)  I didn’t hang around to watch the aftermath, as there was quite a bit of traffic building up to watch the show.  I also saw a grizzly bear later, but didn’t have the camera handy, so no pictures of him (sorry).

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IMG_1537The next day, I took the Jeep out to Polebridge, via a gravel road in the park.  The ride out was pleasant, but long.  It also rained for about half the drive.  I decided to go back on the TW when the weather was decent, as it would handle the potholes much easier than the Jeep would.

IMG_1538I also checked out the local national forest and found a trail up there that I thought the Jeep could handle.  Unfortunately, I ended up sinking the Jeep in snow up to the bumper, which is where I turned around.  I might have attempted to go further, but the surrounding trees in that area were too small to support the Jeep if I needed to winch through any deep snow or mud.  But, it was a nice drive and I got to see a few of the more out-of-the-way streams and waterfalls.

IMG_1552 IMG_1553I spent a couple days in the RV due to the weather and work needing to be done.  But, when I had a decent day, I took advantage of it.  IMG_1579One of the trips I made was out to East Glacier, which is a small town at the entrance on the opposite side of the park where I was staying.  Normally, I would have taken the Going To The Sun road, but since it was closed, I took highway 2 around the south end of the park instead.  It’s a nice scenic drive if you’re in the area for a while.

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IMG_1584For my last day in the Glacier area, I managed to get good enough weather to go back to Polebridge.  There’s exactly two stores there, one of which is a well known bakery; Polbridge Mecantile.  I waited a bit for some particular lunch bits to come out of the oven.  I was rewarded with one of the best turnovers I’ve ever had…  Chicken with ranch dressing and bacon, stuffed in a flaky crust and baked to near perfection.  It was pretty awesome and was worth the 40 miles on bad roads I took to get there.  I got a roast-beef with grilled onion and horseraddish to go, which would be lunch for another day. 😉

While waiting, another set of motorcycle guys showed up on very well equipped (farkled) BMWs and KLRs.  They wanted to take the park road back instead of the main pothole-riddled road.  Since I’d done it a few days ago in the Jeep I offered to guide them/requested to tag along. ;)  The TW is still fairly new to me and it has a few “quirks”, so I prefer not to be in the middle of nowhere without some kind of possibility that someone can send for assistance if needed. 

We arrived back at the park entrance an hour or two later, said our goodbyes and then I headed out to pack up the Star.  My next stop would be somewhere in Washington state.  I would be heading past Tacoma towards the west coast to spend some time with my sister and her family.

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Hunting The Hunters

By , June 6, 2010 9:23 pm

Gallatin National Forest

On our last outing while in West Yellowstone, we decided to go see if we could find some bear in Gallatin National Forest.  There’s a section called The Narrows that’s on Hegben Lake that we’d been told was closed to visitors due to bear activity.  Apparently, there were some carcasses (of unspecified type and origin) that were on the beach and the bear were feeding on them.  When I’d gone on my morning outing a few days earlier, I’d gotten close to the closed area, but didn’t actually go as far as I could.  I figured that was our best shot at finding some bear.  Even if we didn’t see any bear, it would be a nice drive through the woods and would be close enough to town that we could call it quits in an hour or two if we got tired (we did).

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We ended up going north of Hegben lake to see if we could see any bear activity across the lake.  We figured that would be easiest and safest… bears can run fast, but they aren’t the quickest of swimmers. ;)  We saw nothing of bear or carcasses.  So, we headed back and took a bunch of Jeep trails towards the bear area. 

We stopped first at Horse Butte Overlook.  We saw evidence of bear (shed fur), but again there were no bear.  We did see a couple of Ranger looking people but they didn’t stop us or say anything, so we pretty much ignored them. 🙂

The view from Horse Butte was nice and we spotted a herd of bison in the distance (the picture above is taken from Horse Butte Overlook).  But, our quest for the day was BEAR!

We headed back down the butte and followed some more Jeep/forest roads towards the closed area.  The sign marking the road closure had been knocked over earlier and… um… we didn’t see it until we left.  So, we headed all the way through the closed area and all the way to the beach.  Unfortunately, I think this was another park service publicity stunt… no fanged or clawed furry critters were to be seen.  While it was little consolation to us, we did spot our first picah on the way out (sorry, no pictures, they’re skittish and FAST!). 

After that little drive, we headed back along Hegben Lake towards town, stopping at various little scenic overlooks.  At one point we had to drive through the herd of bison we’d spotted earlier from the butte.  A few of them did NOT look happy about it!  I don’t have any pictures, because I was driving and didn’t want to stop the Jeep.  I thought there was a real possibility of one of them getting unhappy enough to charge us.  They’re awesome creatures from afar, but they much more intimidating when staring at you from three feet away!

There were two other interesting things we spotted though…  Osprey and eagles.  There were several osprey, but one of them flew pretty close to us and he’d just been fishing!

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I don’t know how big that fish was, but I’d have been plenty happy with the portion size if it was on my plate.  One of the bald eagles must have thought the same thing and it started chasing the osprey!  I figured the osprey would just drop the fish and run, but he was quite set on keeping his own dinner.  Much to our surprise the osprey just kept climbing (with the fish) and managed to keep several flaps ahead of the eagle.   We’re not sure of the final outcome, as they were eventually too high for us to keep track of them.  My bet is on the osprey!

After that we headed back to town.  Rob and Lara had a flight to catch the next day and Dasy was going with them, as there were some family and friends back in northern Virginia she wanted to visit. 

Oh… we never did see a bear on our trip to Yellowstone. 🙁

Note: This was about a week ago… I’m playing “catch-up”.  I’m currently in Coram, MT, just outside Glacier National Park.  The Star is all fixed and working and I’m chilling here for a week.  I’ll be in or around the park for a couple of days when the weather is decent and will be working when it rains.  Judging by the forecast, I’ll be working quite a bit. :S  But… I saw a bear today! 😛

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