Things were different, and not just because the male to female count was 5 to 0. Perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was luck, or even heightened senses, but the critters were out and about a little more than usual.
|The View From Camp|
This, the view from the campfire, wasn't half bad at all I must say. On the evening of the first night Kyle "Eagle Eyes" Nelson spotted something in the distance running across the meadow at full speed. It looked as though it was "bounding" as opposed to the gallop of an elk. What it was we still don't know.
The next evening as Kyle and I headed back to camp from fishing he spotted another critter "bounding" along about a half mile away. As we tried to figure out what it was the animal "sat" on it's haunches. I'm no animal expert but I'd have to say I've never seen an elk sit. Cougar? Bear? Tan colored wolf? Who knows.
These two occurrences certainly forced us to keep out heads on a swivel and the bear spray handy the rest of the trip. The cutthroat were plentiful and as usual were easily fooled with concoctions of foam and slick streamers both. Hoppers, ants, and beetles were on the menu. Luckily we were not.
At one point I noticed some rather large dog tracks along the bank as one often does while fishing where tourists tread. It was then that I remembered that dogs were not allowed to be off of a leash in the park, and most didn't have footprints the size of my hand. Again, the senses were turned firmly to the "on" position.
The hike out was uneventful until we got about a mile from the trail head. At this point we were a little more relaxed, when up ahead, a black bear rounded the corner headed our way, using the trail as though it belonged to him. That day it certainly did. Senses on. We unsheathed the spray and backed off the trail. Thank goodness we were in a spot where there was plenty of room. Mr. Black sniffed the air a bit, and lumbered on down the trail. This made the last hill of the hike a breeze as adrenaline pumped through our veins.
|Notice the bruin in the background|
And so, another trip come and gone. We'll certainly all put in for the permit again next year, but this time, the senses will be on from the get go.