Saturday, January 16, 2016

Big, dark rocks: Backcountry bearanoia

I spent some time hiking and fishing in grizzly-bear backcountry this past summer and experienced all the magic of co-exisiting with these grandiose creatures, short of an encounter.
Heart jumping at every snapping twig, blood draining when you might've glanced one, every big dark rock, one hand on the pepper spray, the awe of being mid-food-chain, knowing the odds are low but real, the camaraderie of hiking partners, of hoping to avoid them while hoping to see one, that one could be 10 feet or 10 miles away, of being miles from from your car, which is miles from health care.

And I didn't even see a black bear, all summer long.
Don't be afraid to venture into griz country, at least for a few days. It's completely exhilarating, despite the nerves.

The only wild grizzly I've seen in person. From a car in Yellowstone National Park's Hayden Valley.