As if wolves weren’t enough, the next day held more surprises.
I left to go on a final hike that next afternoon, after packing up my jeep and preparing to leave Wyoming. I joked to the project director that I’d seen everything but grizzlies and pumas in Wyoming, so I was going to find one or both that afternoon since my time in Wyoming was coming to an end for now.
Sure enough, as I was almost to my hiking spot, I saw a large form crossing a stream just below me amongst the jungle of tall willows.
It was a sow grizzly and her three “cubs,” who were all about a year and a half old a just about as big as she is. I later learned that in all probability it was a grizzly known as “six ten,” and she even has her own facebook page (see here)! They had been hanging around the south side of Grand Teton National Park, even going out of the park and into some ranch land in search of food (the dry summer has created a food shortage for bears) before being “encouraged” back into the park (see here). The Park Service had closed a road near the visitor center for a few days because she and her cubs, along with a black bear and her cubs, were feeding by a road. Oh, and I guess she was charging at cars.
Closing the road seems like it was a reasonable idea. Cancelling my hike there also a good idea.
I saw them from about 300 meters, and our interaction was peaceful. Once again, seeing such a gigantic beast in the wild defies words. How they managed to disappear into the willows and not be seen again as I watched afterwards for an hour for another peek just defies reality. Where do four giant bears hide? The mystery endures for another time.