Last summer we saw many amazing places and lots of wildlife. Some were expected and others were a complete surprise. The first surprise was spotting a young bighorn sheep in Zion National Park. In Rocky Mountain NP we saw elk. Driving in Wyoming I had to stop the car to get pictures of a herd of antelope.
In Yellowstone we were hiking on a trail and had to walk by that big bison. Being that close did make me a little nervous. After all, he was definitely a wild animal. Further north in Glacier NP is where we saw the adorable young mountain goat sticking close to mom. On the same hike to Hidden Lake we saw the furry little marmot. Legend has that they will eat anything they can sink their teeth into.
It wasn’t until we got to Canada’s Glacier Waterton NP when we finally saw bear. It’s hard to tell from the photo whether this is a brown bear or a grizzly. A brown bear’s nose is fairly straight and a grizzly bear has a more rounded nose. It’s hard to tell from the photo which it is and I stuck to using my telephoto lens instead of getting closer. And finally we saw caribou near Jasper Alberta. They are huge!
I am always happy when I can photograph animals in the wild and feel fortunate when I spot them. When asked why I’m an environmentalist who wants to save habitats, these photos are my answer. One of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, recognized that states cannot be trusted to save the land and protect it from commercial exploitation. I abhor what’s going on in the West with a few people who feel the federal government has no right to protect land for future generations.
A young Zion National Park bighorn sheep.
Aren’t I handsome?
Rocky Mountain National Park Elk
Wild antelope in Wyoming
What’s that furry little guy? It’s a Marmot in Glacier National Park.
Sticking close to mom.
Still staying close to mom
Hey there big fella.
Is this a Brown or Grizzly bear in Canada’s Glacier Watertown Park?
Having a Park Ranger friend has its advantages. With over 700 miles of trails, choosing a hike in Glacier National Park is made easier when Peggy shares her favorite. Of all the trails we hiked this summer, this was our favorite.
Approached from the eastern side of Glacier National Park; Iceberg Lake’s five mile trail starts with a section park rangers affectionately and appropriately call the stair-master. After huffing and puffing up the stair-master the trail levels and the rest of the hike is filled with stunning panoramic views that accompany each step.
Bears are abundant and hikers are encouraged to be noisy. Many people wear bells but isn’t that like ringing the dinner bell for those mostly hairless squishy things that are pink and tender in the middle? In seriousness we were given an informative tip for bear encounters on the trail. Essentially bears are lazy and use the trails because of the easy walking. If you encounter a bear you should do two things; make a lot of noise and get off the trail. Climbing uphill is recommended because you are getting off of the bear’s path and counting on his laziness to continue on the trail leaving you alone. If they follow you up it’s time to break out the bear spray.
Glacial fins, ancient sea-beds lifted up into mountains, and finally carved by glaciers ages ago tower above you. Flowers are blooming and color fills the meadows and valleys. Cresting over a ridge a small lake comes into view below the flower filled slope. Yet the trail passes by up another hill and then you see it. Ice filled turquoise waters surrounded by massive rock walls and the trail leading to the shore’s edge.
Ironically passing clouds photographers normally desire are shading the lake turning the
brilliant colored waters to dark blue. As we eat lunch we watch patterns of sunlight breaking through the clouds and passing over the lake spot-lighting the brilliant colors only rock flour laden waters can produce. A large whale shaped block of ice reflects brilliant blue as the sun’s rays pass over. The frigid water’s siren song calls until
you are compelled to dip a toe into the water. A teenager creates a memory he’ll never
forget as he jumps into the water. In a flash he’s out, wrapped in a towel and shivering.
Birds serenade us as we take in the beauty. Every direction reveals nature’s majesty and we are thankful for the 1910 decision to preserve the land for future generations.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain