We knew the bear was close. How close we weren't sure, but near enough to put us in that awareness level reserved only for those things that can eat you. That state of mind where a snap of a twig can effect various bodily functions in interesting and not entirely desirable ways.
    What were we doing out here? Why did I drag my father out here when we had just been stared down by the skinny juvenile grizzly 15 minutes before?
    We had first seen him at Indian Lake and photographed him across the water as he foraged for food. He wasn't small and he did look hungry. Like an enormous pit bull with a shoulder hump he stared straight at us for 5 seconds or so. Being across the small lake I felt we were in no danger at the time. He had then disappeared into the woods and we were trying to intercept him crossing a large opening in the forest by Yellowstone Lake. Things got spooky when I realized we were out of sight of the road and we really had no idea where he would emerge. Bears go where they go and my guess as to his path was based on my own logic and had nothing to do with the nose of a grizzly.
    We stood in the field for a while and finally decided this wasn't the best idea and headed back to the car. Like most bear stories this one ends with a bear probably bedded in the deadfall where no one would see him and hopefully I will use better judgment in the future.
    Traveling with my Dad in Yellowstone is a wonderful experience. Amiable and knowledgeable he is willing to go anywhere and always in a pleasant mood.
    He is also a people person and loves the interaction. I however am reserved around others. Don't get me wrong I like them, I just don't feel comfortable around them. The more people there are the more I'm intent on leaving.
    Dad however is Mr Friendly. Everyone is interesting to Dad. Tall, short, young, old, Dad wants to hear all about you. He doesn't want to be the center of attention, he wants to place you in that role. Where are you from, what have you seen, he gets others to talk and loves every minute of it. People go away from my Dad feeling good about themselves and their trip and maybe a little more knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna. Some even make the mistake of inquiring on the history of the area. "Don't go there" I think as I'm sneaking away into the sage.
    This trip Dad and I stayed at the Grizzly Lodge in Silver Gate which we find is a good choice because it's so close to the Park. The rooms are reasonable and have a full kitchen which allows a more flexible schedule than trying to time the day to get to the restaurants before they close.
    Our trip consisted primarily of getting up in the morning just before dawn and driving to the Lamar Valley. From there we would check and see if the wolf spotters had anything in the Lamar or at Slough Creek and then head up to Mt Washburn. Mt Washburn is a gem in the Park, especially during the summer time when temperatures climb and the animals head for the high country. It's probably the best place to see wolves and grizzlies during July and August.
    Some mornings we had the Slough alphas and company in Little America but usually we went up to Antelope creek on Mt. Washburn to watch the Agate Creek wolf pack. They had six pups this year 4 blacks and 2 grays. Those pups were the life of the party always running around traveling together playing with sticks and chewing on each other. The pups would often lead the adults closer to the road which was good for viewing and many people got their first view of a wild wolf courtesy of the Agates at Antelope Creek.

Author - Tim Springer 2006
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2004