Category Archives: Bears

March 29, 2017 Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

A Second Trip Up to the Sequoia Groves

Sunny, warm weather predicted for today, so I headed out early again hoping for cloud free skies up in the mountains.

Sequoia Black Bear

Sequoia Black Bear

On the way up, I spotted a dark spot way up above the road, fortunately right where there happened to be a turnoff. Unfortunately, today, not expecting to be shooting any wildlife, I had left my big, bulky 600mm lens at home and only had my 200-400mm with me.

Sequoia Black Bear

Sequoia Black Bear

So, not as sharp as I would like and unable to get any real close shots. This is one of, if not the largest black bear I have ever seen, easily has to be in the 400 pound range I would guess. Not sure, but judging from the size of him, and that incredible girth, I would guess that he doesn’t need to hibernate here in the Sierras, but probably just descends in elevation to find year round feed.

Sequoia Black Bear

Sequoia Black Bear

Several other folks stopped when they saw me there with my tripod set up and camera pointed way up the hill and I had a nice chat with a young couple from Argentina.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

The roads up in the groves were a little drier and safer today as the temps remained just above freezing and thus, there were a few more folks up here.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

I read in the local paper that the snowpack in the Sierras this winter is as much as 190% of normal after years of very little snow and rain. They are expecting flooding and full reservoirs this year after many years of severe drought. The extremely wet weather has certainly changed my travel plans as I had hoped to travel the coast all the way north through the state. But with road washouts, mudslides and even bridge damage due to slides, there are several sections of the coastal highway that are closed to travel this spring, some sections closed for as much as a year while road and bridge rebuilding work goes on.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

As you probably are aware, these sequoias are the largest living things on earth, based on volume , not height. Some of these tree trunks pictured are easily 20 feet or more in diameter.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

The weather forecast looks pretty spotty going forward as I hope to move a little north and at least get to drive into Yosemite National Park. Even with road closures there, snow still falling, and temps still dropping below freezing, all open campsites in the park are reserved and there is no place to camp within a 40 mile drive of the park. This is becoming the new normal, either make reservations a year in advance or forget about getting into the national parks.

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September 22, 2015 Glacier National Park, Montana

Iconic Shot Marred by Forest Fire

Iconic Shot Marred by Forest Fire

Park Shots and More Mountain Goats

The east side of Glacier N. P. had a rough summer, suffering once again from the ravages of forest fires. One particularly stubborn fire has marred both sides of the Going-to-the-Sun-Road   for several miles, including the slope you can see in the background of this iconic shot of Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Falls Below Logan Pass

Falls Below Logan Pass

The road on the east side of Logan Pass is free of fire damage once you are about half way up, leaving other iconic shots such as those above unblemished.

Many Glacier Area of the Park

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

I made my third trip into the Many Glacier area of the park this morning once again hoping for some bears, and once again coming away disappointed.

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

Last Trip up Going-To-The-Sun-Road

Glacier N.P. Elk

Glacier N.P. Elk

After my unsuccessful bear hunt in Many Glacier, i headed for Logan Pass, hoping to find some mountain goats along the way.

Glacier N.P. Elk

Glacier N.P. Elk

A bull elk was escorting his harem across some of the open fields along the side of Saint Mary Lake in an area know as two Dog Flats.

Roadside Grazing Black Bear

Roadside Grazing Black Bear

A young auburn toned black bear was grazing along the same stretch of road, obviously not being deterred by car traffic whizzing by.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

About a mile or so below Logan Pass, I encountered this handsome coyote steadily making his way up the road heading for Logan Pass. I snapped a few shots of him and proceeded on my way.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Looking in my rear view mirror I could see him drop back down to the side of the road after I had passed. When I stopped a little farther up the road to take some shots of the pass, here he came again, once more climbing up the bank a ways as he detoured a bit to make his way around me.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

After taking my shots at this second location, I drove past him again, but when I stopped once more a little farther up the road, and could still see him coming my way, I dropped down behind my car on my knees to conceal myself from him, and waited for him to come by. Not seeing me, he stayed on the side of the road and I was able to get an eye level shot of this handsome fellow as he passed by.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

More Mountain Goats

Today I was fortunate enough to find two different goats running the steep vertical cliffs above Going-To-The-Sun-Road, just below the east side of Logan Pass, in the same area that I saw the lone goat yesterday.

Forgive the number of goat shots below, but these guys simply fascinated me. I probably spent more than three hours taking hundreds of shots of them, so bear with me as I show a dozen or so of them below.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

The shot immediately above is an enlarged detail of the image above it. Notice the placement of the hooves along the outer edge of the ledge shelf he is so nimbly traversing. That shelf can’t be more than a foot wide, it appears, and he just casually strolls along it, more than a hundred feet up.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

A different goat on a different section of the same cliffs, same idea, the second image is an enlarged detail of the first image. Again, note the placement of the hooves on, and actually over the edge of the rock ledge. Now, he is walking carefully, not running, but seemingly with no concern whatsoever for the fact that he is way up there on the cliff face with no soft landing below. Just incredible !

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

For the image immediately above, how did he get there? And where exactly can he possibly be thinking of going from there?

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

One image of a goat on safe terrain. Fascinating animals !

Tomorrow I leave Glacier National Park and head down the highway a bit to Yellowstone National Park, hopefully for some nice bull elk shots. Stay tuned.

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September 16, 2015 Hyder, Alaska

Searching For Salmon

Searching For Salmon

A Couple Days at Fish Creek

I arrived at Fish Creek just after first light this morning and was shocked at the number of people already there. The parking lots were all but full and there must have been forty or more folks braving the cool, drizzly weather. The word of yesterday’s visit  to the area by a mother grizzly and her two cubs, a visit that I missed, must gotten out quickly. But by nine AM, with no bears showing up, everyone left and I had the place to myself, no bears plus rainy weather sent all the sensible people home.

As usual, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Searching For Salmon

Searching For Salmon

But finally, the same bear I had seen here before came wading into the scene and I was rewarded for my patience.

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

He began chasing salmon as soon as he arrived, mostly with no luck.

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

Upstream, downstream, going after one fish, but suddenly distracted by another, changing directions, didn’t really seem to have a very good game plan for actually catching a live fish.

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

End of the Chase

End of the Chase

But finally he managed to corral one and tore into his first catch of the day.

End of the Chase

End of the Chase

The Catch

The Catch

He seemed kind of proud of this catch!

Leaving the Area

Leaving the Area

After half an hour of mostly coming up empty in his pursuit of live salmon, he moved downstream …

Dead Ones Are Easier to Catch

Dead Ones Are Easier to Catch

… and discovered this rather large, deceased chum salmon. Guess he figured out that a dead salmon is easier to catch than those live ones.

Salmon Feast

Salmon Feast

He hauled it out of the water and worked on devouring the whole thing over the next ten minutes or so.

Heading Downstream

Heading Downstream

Then he headed downstream and out of sight.

Camera Shy Bruiser

Camera Shy Bruiser

I waited around for another two or three hours in the rain, hoping for some more action, but, except for this huge bear that briefly stuck his head out of the bushes, then rapidly disappeared, my wet wait was in vain, and I packed it in around two o’clock and headed back to Meziadin Campground to begin getting ready to depart tomorrow morning.

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September 15, Stewart, B.C.

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Another Trip in to Fish Creek and Salmon Glacier

Up and out very early and made the 35 mile drive in to Stewart/Hyder while it was still dark. My game plan was to try and get up the Salmon Glacier Road in time to catch some early morning light, and hopefully some blue skies.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier

As the Prius climbed up the road, I could see some pretty heavy cloud cover moving in and it looked like I wasn’t going to get my early morning shots.

Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier

I did manage to snap a few shots before the blue sky disappeared completely …

Clouds Moving in on Salmon Glacier

Clouds Moving in on Salmon Glacier

… but it didn’t take long before the clouds were only allowing shafts of sunlight through. No sense in wasting the long trip up here so, since the cloudy conditions were conducive to shooting a couple of the small  waterfalls up here, I turned my camera around to concentrate on the uphill side of the road and slowly headed back down the mountain.

Waterfall Above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall Above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

You’ll have to forgive my fixation with this type of waterfall shot …

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

… but i just have this thing about a single rock fixed in the center of a waterfall.

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

Waterfall above Salmon Glacier

A Little Autumn color

A Little Autumn color

A little local color and then on down to …

Fish Creek Bear Observation Site

Fish Creek Bear Observation Deck

Fish Creek Bear Observation Deck

A view of the platform above Fish Creek on this gloomy day. I wandered along the platform for about two hours patiently waiting in the drizzle and rain for a bear to show up. There were only a few other hardy ( foolhardy? ) souls here today who risked getting wet for an opportunity to see some bears in action.

Chum Salmon Spawning

Chum Salmon Spawning

There are still quite a few, a little worse for wear, chum salmon spawning in Fish Creek. One of the rangers here told me that this season has seen the best chum salmon run in nine years. The female fish ( on her side in the image above ) is fanning out a spot in the gravel, with her tail, where she will deposit her eggs. The male, the darker fish behind her, will then fertilize the eggs.

A Sign That Bears Are Around

A Sign That Bears Are Around

Salmon remains on the bank of the stream indicate that there are still bears in the area that are coming in here to feed.

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

And finally, on my third trip in here, this handsome fellow comes wading down the stream to try his luck!

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Fishing Fish Creek

Kind of a thrill to be this close to one of these beautiful animals. This guy is almost directly below me, only about 20 feet from where I am standing on the deck above.

I just happened to stumble on this blogger’s post on Fish Creek and was a little surprised to see what she was lucky enough to run into when visiting the site, click: here to check it out.

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