Friday, August 28, 2009

Lions and tigers and BEARS! Oh my!

While we were in Jackson we had a lot of fun seeing all the wildlife. We then got a little too close for comfort with a few grizzlies! It was totally awesome! Ok, scary at the time but since we survived, pretty dang awesome!

So each night we took the kayaks out just before dusk and did a river run. One night, just after pulling the kayaks out and heading back to camp, we noticed a lot of people pulled off to the side of the road looking at something. Of course we pulled off to look, we didn't want to miss out on anything exciting. So we pull off and Kathrina (Derek's sister) and I hop out to walk up the road and ask what everyone is looking at. As we are walking up the road I see something out of the corner of my eye running across the street, and honestly not that far from where all the group was standing. It was large, brown, and furry! Luckily everyone was looking the other direction or I'm sure panic would have followed. Kathrina and I immediately turn to each other and go, "that's a bear!" So we head up to the group of about 8 or so people, all gathered around talking and they are all looking out over this field at a second bear. Then you see the first bear (that we saw heading across the road) running full speed out of the bushes to where the second bear is. The 2 of them are out in the field, I'd say about 250 yards away, just playing with each other. They are chasing and rolling around and teasing each other. While all of us tourists are standing on the side of the road taking pictures and discussing how awesome this sight is. Well, it was getting dark and my camera was having a hard time focusing with very little light and no tripod, plus it broke a few days later so that probably factored in, so unfortunately I have only blurry pictures.

Suddenly the two of them turn and start running full speed at the road where all of us are standing! I know the one who crossed the road was like "Bro check out all those dang tourists, lets really give them something to talk about!" Suddenly Kim (Derek's step-mom) screams, "Run! Everyone get in your cars!" So the entire group scatters, my car is closer to where they are running than where I'm standing but I don't want to be there all by myself. The adrenaline is pumping so I run toward the car. Next thing I know, Kim is hopping in someone else's car - we don't know these people at all! It was pretty funny, she just hopped right in. So I'm running to our car run around the back of Wade's (Derek's dad) car (parked directly in front of ours) and suddenly I freeze between our car and Wade's. I can't see the bears any more! I don't know where they are because our car is blocking my view. I'm standing there trying to figure out if I should keep running to our car and hop in then I see Derek motioning frantically to me to get in Wade's car! I hop in the car and turn around just in time to see the bears come bounding around the back bumper of our car and turn to head in the bushes we are parked next to!! If I hadn't of stopped I would have run into them face-to-face!! Holy crap!

Now these bears weren't after anyone, just playing around, but still, if I had run into them and startled them or whatever I could have been a goner! IT WAS AWESOME! Hahaha trust me, I know I'm lucky and had someone watching over me but I survived and have a dang awesome story to tell now! Well, we watched them for a while longer (from the safety of the car) as they crossed the road one more time and headed down to the river. We found out from the ranger that those 2 are brother Grizzlies and their mom had just turned them out the year before. So they are young enough that they still tolerate each other and share the "turf", But give it another year and that encounter wouldn't have been as "playful." To see to Grizzlies play together and run around like that is not something many people ever see.

The next night we saw a black bear, but after the Grizzly encounter, this wasn't as big a deal (but they're much cuter, more like the kind you'd want to cuddle with). We saw moose and elk and eagles and all sorts of wildlife! Went up to Old Faithful one morning and the entire 6 hours we spent in Yellowstone we didn't see ANYTHING! Seriously, the only bird we even saw was dead. Hot pots were cool and all but nothing compared to running from a grizzly! It was an awesome and much needed vacation! Thanks Wade and Kim!

No comments: