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Montana III - Animal Whisperers

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

One more non-beekeeping post. For the two or three of you reading this blog and looking for bee advice, I am failing you yet again. But soon, I promise, soon back to the bees. For you other dedicated readers, another special treat from Glacier National Park! (Or scroll on to Jayne's honey zucchini bread if you want to learn something.)

This time we highlight the scenery and the "wildlife."

As I started to say in that last post, Glacier Park occupies a special little corner of my heart. The many experiences and memories build on one another. This trip was the Seth trip. His first time there, but unlike me, Seth has connections. On one of the days we found ourselves hiking with a group.

But most of the time it was just he and I and our hiking boots. Final tally, around 75 trail miles in four days! On every kind of terrain.

Snow and ice,

rock and water,

and mud...         I think Seth was preparing himself for bootcamp in a few weeks.

We had a surprising amount of rain.

"It really never rains in Glacier Park past, like, June 20th."                                                                                              -Our shuttle bus driver, one hour previous.

"It really never rains in Glacier Park past, like, June 20th."                                                                                              -Our shuttle bus driver, one hour previous.

But it never lasted long. When the skies cleared, taking in the stunning views often required a food stop.

Seth had been hiking by that point for about a week. He was in Yellowstone a few days previous. I had flown into Bozeman to meet him. From there it's a five hour drive to Glacier Park. Plenty of time, plenty of stops to load up on trail food. Whatever we could dream up.

We carried with us quite an arsenal. Most, looking better than tasting....

And later, how to get rid of all that gut-churning gas station trail food? By taking in more great views, of course!

(Just fine, if you want to hold it for seven miles.)

(Just fine, if you want to hold it for seven miles.)

Let's remember, this was still supposed to be a business trip, and all day spent on a mountain meant plenty of time to talk business. Mergers, acquisitions, hedge funds... you know... the business.

"What! Honeyrun stock down a quarter percent?!"                                                                                                             "Yer FIRED, Brumfield!"

"What! Honeyrun stock down a quarter percent?!"                                                                                                             "Yer FIRED, Brumfield!"

Also, logging twenty miles or so in a day means you sleep really well that night. At least for me it does. And your sleeping arrangements really don't seem to matter. Two of the nights we slept under the stars. (Or under rain clouds.)

One night was spent in a teepee just south of the Canadian line. We stayed on the edge of a sprawling metropolis called Polebridge. 

The next morning we made our way downtown to find a Farmer's Market in full swing. (Traffic was horrendous.)

Between the trails, the business meetings, and the hustle of Polebridge city life, we never lacked for entertainment. Seth's friends even showed us what the locals do in lieu of a shower.

Nothing knocks the stink off ...                                                                                                                                                  Like Glacier Park run-off!

Nothing knocks the stink off ...                                                                                                                                                  Like Glacier Park run-off!

But it wasn't all fun and games. We had to be careful! (Play with caution!) One thing we were continually warned about was the possibility of running into a deer.

Oh sorry, I mean a bear.

I guess Glacier Park has a large number of bears apparently looking for food. And, according to some, we apparently qualify as food. Mmmm, delicious....

Thankfully a friend in Bozeman loaned us a can of bear mace.

Man oh man, did it come in handy! It's true, Glacier Park is filled with bears. They're everywhere!

...and boy are they fierce!

...and boy are they fierce!

Microbear.          ...fresh brewed.

Huh? Wha? You no like my humor??

Ok, we really did see a bear. And we did (almost) literally run into it. (Long story.) We didn't have to use the loaner can of mace - Good. But in the hurry and surprise, I didn't have the presence of mind to get out my camera. - Bad.

But Seth, more experienced and professional in these matters, was fortunately quick on the draw. He managed to snap off three images, the best of which is right here:

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH                                                                                                                           Studios Open Soon!!

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH                                                                                                                           Studios Open Soon!!

Is that a large dog? Seth? 

Really... a grizzly bear??  If you say so...         (They'll really believe that one.)

That was our one and only grizzly sighting. But we did manage to see quite a bit more wildlife. Some close encounters, I'm telling you! (See video)

At some point (maybe after blasting the squirrel) Seth declared ourselves "Animal Whisperers." His words, not mine...  Funny though, we did seem to be able to walk right up to the animals. They've got'em trained well in Glacier Park. Mountain goats, a herd of bighorn sheep, a mother ptarmigan and her baby chicks, jackrabbits, a pika (maybe), about a dozen squirrels and chipmunks, probably more than a dozen deer...

And this guy. In Ohio we call this a groundhog. And if you're a farmer, you reach for the 22 rifle. In Glacier Park it's called a marmot. And it practically lets you pick it up. Luckily I was on top of things with my camera. Very professional!

Speaking of wildlife...  Speaking of grizzly bears...

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH                                                                                                                        Studios Open Soon!!

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH                                                                                                                        Studios Open Soon!!

Seth took this quick photo two seconds before the screams and pepper spray.

"Wait! Stop!," I said, "I'm just a hairy beekeeper!"

And then they really let me have it.

 

Thanks for joining in on my reliving of another fun trip. One last 30 second laugh for the road:

At one with nature-- The Animal Whisperers