My friend and I had just wrapped up a Yellowstone great. We hiked to the summit of Avalanche Peak, which is well over 10,000 feet tall. I felt great on top of the peak, but the steep descent did a number on my knees. Joe could see that I was hurting so he offered to drive back to our spot at Bridge Bay Campground. I sunk into the passenger seat and plugged my camera charger into the car converter I had purchased specifically for that purpose. It’s a good thing I did, because I would need my camera a lot sooner than expected.
Within minutes of leaving the parking lot we were stopped again. We pulled up behind a row of cars parked beside the road including a tour bus and a park ranger’s cruiser. It had the look of a bear jam and I crossed my fingers that it was a grizzly.
Joe parked the car on the side of the road behind the other cars. I grabbed my partially charged camera as well as my 35mm SLR camera with its telephoto lens and we jumped out of the car. Park Rangers were blocking one side of the road so we walked up on the other end. I strolled past the tour bus and saw two grizzly bears on the opposite side of the road.
I was instantly rejuvenated. I was also shocked, because I had never been so close to bears. I took as many pictures as possible. Though we weren’t too far from the bears, we were safe. There was a decent sized crowd of people admiring the bears (many from the bus) and there were a couple of park rangers making sure us tourists were not bothering the grizzlies or getting too close to them.
It appeared to be a sow and her cub. Judging by the humps above their shoulders they were definitely grizzlies, not black bears. They walked nonchalantly between the road and the edge of the woods. At first glance they seemed completely at peace, despite being watched by the camera-toting mob. However, I noticed after a couple of minutes that the mother bear constantly stayed between her cub and the crowd, even though they were a good distance away. Soon the bears walked into the woods and out of view. With the excitement over, we returned to the car and headed off to our campsite for some much needed relaxation.
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