Many Glacier grizzly and a trip over Going to the Sun Road
As always, click on any image to see a full size version.
I have remained on the east side of the park since my arrival, so today I figured I would take a trip over Going to the Sun Road to the west side, then go back east on route 2 and visit the Two Medicine portion of the park and then go back up route 49 and 89 back home to St. Marys.
Started out at 7 AM and traffic wasn’t bad at all going up to Logan Pass ( let the dogs out for a stretch at Logan Pass ) but heading down the west side the eastbound traffic soon got heavy, large numbers of vehicles, all bunched up climbing uphill, then nothing for a bit, then another 100 vehicles all in a chain. Must be construction ahead on the west side also. Sure enough, another one way construction area with a pilot car to guide us through, about a 15 minute wait to get through this project, and then you once again are in the midst of a swarm of vehicles for the next ten miles. This really does get old quick.
With a short, probably only 90 days or so, construction season, everyone here, the visitors, the park staff, and the construction outfits are placed in a no win situation. There really is no alternative to having to do the roadwork during peak tourist season, and they certainly do have to do the road work because of the heavy traffic the road gets and the annual punishment Mother Nature surely deals the highway each winter and spring. Guess all one can do is grin ( gripe ) and bear it.
Speaking of bears, I encountered an interesting situation on the way down the west side of Going to the Sun.
I had just passed a lone bicyclist on one of the few sections of road were I was not enveloped in vehicles, came around a corner and saw what, at first, looked like maybe another cyclist coming up the wrong side of the road towards me. Turned out to be this grizzly and he didn’t appear to be going to give way as I slowed down hoping I could maybe get a photo. Unfortunately, just as I stopped for him, the start of a caravan of vehicles came round the corner heading uphill and that convinced the bear to exit the road and I got to watch it climb straight up an almost vertical cliff to make his exit.
I wonder what would have happened if the lone cyclist happened on this guy rather than me in my car, he really appeared hesitant to leave the highway until the group of cars scared him off, my one car didn’t seem to phase him, so I wonder how he would have reacted to the lone bike. Guess I’ll never know.
Went back up to Many Glacier around 6 PM and got some more nice shots of the blonde grizzly in the meadow.
Had my first episode of ranger harassment that I had heard serious photographer complaining about. It sometimes seems that some rangers, certainly not all, ( my interactions with park staff, up until this one ranger, had all been positive ) seem to take some satisfaction in making it difficult on a photographer if he happens to be pointing a big lens at a bear.
In my case, when the bear started grazing towards the road, and had slowly approached to within 100-125 yards of a large group of vehicles and tourists, I retreated to my car to shoot from the vehicle, just in case the bear kept coming closer. I was told to move by this one ranger who had to move past a dozen people and 8 or 10 cars to get to me. How I was a problem and not the vehicles in front and in back of me, I can’t quite figure out.
My tires were completely off the road, which was not the case for several others around me that he did not ask to move. And I was in my car, while others he passed were out of theirs. Up until now, I had thought the other photographers were maybe exaggerating a bit or might actually have been parked in the road or something like that, but maybe there actually is a little harassment going on. I will continue to be very careful .