2012 Western Road Trip: Our First Grizzly Bears

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Sorry for yet another lapse in posting. I have barely scratched the surface of our trip. But it’s summer, and living life in person has been more important to me than living it online. Actually, I probably have this particular trip to blame for that. It’s a good thing.

Our first morning in Yellowstone, we decided to focus on wildlife viewing. After breakfast at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, we headed south towards the Hayden Valley. We got an early start on this day and were probably on the road around 7:30/8:00am.

About 15 minutes out of Mammoth Hot Springs, we came upon Gardners Hole, a stretch of meadow surrounded by mountains. As we came up around a bend, we noticed all the cars. And in a national park, a lot of cars means wildlife. We immediately started scanning to see what people were watching. Then, we saw them – three grizzly bears!

Grizzly Clan

We were ecstatic! Going into this trip, we both did and didn’t want to see a grizzly bear. To be honest, we did no real hiking on this trip, not at all like our trips to Yosemite. And the primary reason for sticking to the road was the presence of grizzly bears.

Jason has this thing that he got from his grandma. When Jason was little and was at his grandparent’s place during a storm, his grandma used to tell the kids that they were not allowed to be scared until she got scared. Jason has since used this logic with me. So when Jason was so nervous about grizzlies, clearly it was a big deal.

For some people, maybe grizzlies are no big deal. But remember, I’m not by nature an outdoors girl, and I do have lower threshold for certain outdoor situations than others might. And while Jason is a little more outdoorsy than I am, it isn’t necessarily by much (for example, the whole backpacking thing excites me, not so much him). After our return, I saw this post on OutsideMom.com about outdoor paranoia. It captured another component of our concerns.

Despite our fears of encountering a grizzly bear, it didn’t mean we didn’t kind of hope to see one. And we got three right off the bat. They were quite a ways from the road, so they appeared as just three brown bumps to the naked eye. With our binoculars and camera, we could see them a little better. It was a mama and two cubs – an even better sighting than we could have imagined.

Three Grizzly Bears

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