Dance with Wolves

July 22, 2010

Lupine Sunset

This was taken in the evening. However, I wanted a morning shot as well, so I returned the next day. I arrived at this location at around 5:00 am. Light was barely starting to show in the sky and landforms were barely becoming discernible. As you can see from the photo there are a lot of trees and bushes in the area, making hundreds of fabulous hiding places for a grizzly bear. When I arrived, I got out of the car and started yelling, screaming, hollering, shouting, whistling, and making as much noise as I could to let any bears know I was in the area. It was still dark so I remained by my car until I had to go down in the bushes anyway.

After a few minutes I looked down the road on which I had just came and noticed something in the distance moving. I wasn’t sure what it was, but there was definitely something down there coming toward me. As it came close, I noticed it was a dog. At first I thought it was a coyote. Then a second one appeared, which I thought was strange for coyotes. It wasn’t until I saw a black dog that I realized these were wolves. Instead of scaring away a bear, I called in a pack of wolves. All my shouting must have been like a dinner bell for them.

The pack came within about 40 yards of me. This still felt like a safe distance, so I remained outside my car. Soon 2 wolves broke and flanked me on my left side and another went to the right to surround me. These guys are smart. It was fascinating and troubling to watch them act. I was soon looking in all directions. As I considered my options of what to do if they came any closer, 2 things kept coming back to me: 1) jump in my car and 2) cry like a baby.

The thought occurred to me to try to take some pictures, but my camera gear was packed away in the car. To set up for a shot would have required me to turn my back on them and drop my attention, which I didn’t want to do. These guys were all intently looking at me, sizing me up. I didn’t want to let down my guard at all. After awhile I guess they figured I wasn’t worth the trouble and they took off into the woods. A little later, I started shooting. I could hear them howling in the woods, and I continually checked behind me.


First Grizzly Bear

July 7, 2010

Grizzly Bear

This was my first up-close encounter with a grizzly bear. The bear was about 50 yards off a steep embankment. Although the slope of the hill was steep, I still didn’t feel safe. Bears can move quite quickly if they need to. For about 30 minutes, he fed on the branches of these willows. You couldn’t see any bit of him, but only could see the branches moving. Finally he emerged.