First Times

Cinnamon Black Bear 002

There are a number of things in life that we only get to do once. For example, we can only have one first love. We can only go through the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the first time – once. We only get one first kiss.

This is as it should be! There are other things that we hope we get to do at least once, so we can “mark it off” our life goals list. Though we may choose to do some of these things more than once. Some examples on my “do to list” include taking a Photo Safari in Africa, visiting Denali National Park in Alaska and taking a photo tour of covered bridges in New England in the Fall.

There are in addition, some things in life that you hope only occur once or never. We had one of these experience this last weekend while visiting The Grand Tetons National Park (a beautiful park by the way). Marietta and I were happily hiking along trying to capture some photos of wildlife – mostly, there were just lots of people. In particular, I was anxious to get a shot of a wild Moose – and since there were some ponds named “Moose Ponds” in the general vicinity of where we were hiking, we decided to hike there and see if moose actually liked to be in that area.

Not long after leaving the main South Jenny Lake Trail, and on the trail to the ponds, as I rounded a bend, Marietta (who was behind me) exclaimed that there was a bear just ahead!! Sure enough, just at that moment, I reached the bend and there he was! A quite large and beautiful, cinnamon colored Black Bear. I believe he was as startled to see me, as I was him.

I quickly stepped backwards (didn’t turn and run), to give him some room, then pulled my camera up to get a few shots. We then backed up to give him a wide space. He headed in the direction of the main trail, so we paralleled him so we could warn the other hikers. As he reached the main trail, I got the picture of him above. We watched and photographed him as he crossed the trail and proceeded along the hill above the trail. What a beautiful and gorgeous creature he is!

He did take time away from digging at roots to keep his eyes on me – just as we kept our eyes on him.

I’m reluctant to admit that we did not have bear spray with us that day – it won’t be that way next time! I look forward to seeing other bears and wild animals in the wilds in the future – and hope to get that moose picture some day!

Nevertheless, I hope this “first time” is the last time I surprise a bear on a trail.

See more pictures on my SmugMug site (click on the picture of the bear above).

Don

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