Currently in its 12th year, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, 2 teams of professional outdoor educators, have reached over 10 million people in 48 states with Leave No Trace education and training.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Walking on the Wild Side

On a recent trip to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming I had a pretty amazing experience.  My parents and my brother Rick came to visit us on out road tour and we spent several days exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.  For several nights we stayed at Jackson Lake Lodge in the shadow of the Grand Teton range.  My mom and I woke around sunrise on morning to go for an early hike before the day's planned activities. It wa a beautiful morning with fog lying low across the valley.  We were on a hilltop taking photos of dew covered spider webs, the fog, and the mountain range that was beginning to reveal itself when we noticed something moving in the distance.   

The area was frequented by moose that enjoyed grazing in the willows, so we immediately thought that must be what we were seeing.  We continued to watch it and noticed that it seemed to be too light in color for a moose, but it was really too far away to make out what it was.  Whatever was out there was a good distance away, so we decided to head down the hill and back towards the trailhead.   

We started back, involved in our usual conversation and scanning the area for any creatures that might be out and about.  At the bottom of the hill I looked to my right to see a grizzly bear standing on her hind legs looking right at us!  You can imagine my surprise (and terror) as I stopped in my tracks, whispered to my mother that there was a grizzly bear about 25 feet from us, and that we need to slowly back up the trail.  

As we backed up the hill the bear continued our way, watching as she crossed the trail in front of us.  Just when we were starting to feel as if she wasn't interested in us, another grizzly crossed the trail in front of us, following the first.  This one also kept an eye on us, but was interested in the first bear.  Soon after, the first of the two bears looked back as we watched 2 more bears cross the trail. 

There we stood, in awe, and in closer proximity to a grizzly bear than I ever wanted to be, much less four grizzlies!  Their silver coats were so beautiful and it was amazing to watch them silently communicate to us and one another as we shared that space.  Once we felt pretty secure from a safe distance we started taking photos.  We knew that this outrageous story would need to have some photographic evidence.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!  I feel very lucky to have had this experience and to have shared it with my mother!  Thanks for letting me share it with you!

Enjoy the photos!

1 comment:

Amslie said...

I ran across your blog when I did a search for "Dusty and Amy" on "Google blog search"...had to comment and let you know that my husband's name is Dusty and my name is Amy. We are also both personal trainers. Not quite the same, but another similarity. Too weird! :-)