During a recent drive in the Hayden Valley of Yellowstone, a gathering of cars and people were in one of the pull outs. Surprisingly there were grizzly bears.... not one but many - five to be exact. It was amazing to see so many but more unexpected was that two were relatively close. Close enough to see without a scope and yet far enough away that you could watch them without fear of disturbing them. The others were further in the distance.
It was magnificent to observe the two that were close enough that you could watch them graze seemingly unaware of the crowd watching. In the 20 years that I have been going to the Park, this was the only time that a grizzly bear did not look like a dot in the distance or the need of a scope to see one a mile away. It seems only the black bears come down close to the road, in my experience.
This was a fun show to watch. As you most likely know, the size of this animal is formidable. The grizzly bear can reach a weight of more than 1200 pounds, a height of 9 feet or more when standing on their hind legs and they can run over 30 miles per hour for short distances. The rich brown, shaggy fur was quite a sight to see on such a large mass of moving animal.
For the grizzly fans out there (the animal not the football team) we have in our store, a variety of "bear themed gifts" but probably the most impressive and a best seller is the cast made of a Grizzly Bear Paw Track
that you can hang on your wall.
The original track was found in the Bob Marshall Wilderness near the Sun River in 1974 and was accurately cast in plaster. The paw measured 12" from it's heel to the tip of its claw. Copies of this original cast are as accurate as the original and are hand colored to look very realistic. Seeing the cast of this paw gives some sense of scale to this enormous creature which we in Montana and other Rocky Mountain states are fortunate to have close.....just not too close.