Friday, June 27, 2008

File under: "Humanity, Stupidity of"

Well, we've just had a great week in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, camping, hiking, and exploring. The parks are only just beginning to get busy, so we were lucky enough to spot a lot of animals before they wised up and figured out where all those pesky humans hang out.

The tally includes multiple bison (with babies) and elk, pelicans, osprey, marmots, two moose, three mountain goats, one black bear and six, count 'em SIX, grizzly bears.

The bears aren't really that tricky to spot. When you come across dozens of cars packed along the side of the road, you just look which way the tourist cameras are pointing. Most of the bears we saw were recently out of hibernation and foraging for food. Yesterday, however, we had a rather remarkable experience.

A handful of cars were parked by the side of the road so we slowed down to see what they were looking at. Jorge saw a bear in the distance, but by the time we got out to take a picture, it had moved on into the woods. We decided to turn up into the road nearby thinking the bears would cross in front eventually. And in front of us we saw a female grizzly with two cubs walking right through the middle of a very busy parking lot. And the scariest thing about this scenario? People were running along behind the bears, trying to catch a photo. Now, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea to chase a baby bear when its mama is around.

There were already hundreds of people around, viewing nearby geysers, and plenty of cars as well. The bears, trying to escape the commotion, walked into a small wooded area that was surrounded on all sides by the lake, geysers, and cars full of camera-toting tourists.

There were two poor, frantic park rangers yelling at the people (with little success) to stay back. There were children around. People were frantic, trying to catch a glimpse (these were bears 4, 5, and 6 for us, so I guess we were a bit more nonchalant.) We actually saw one moronic woman walking into the wooded area where the bears were holed up. I kind of found myself wishing she'd get eaten just for being so stupid.

We drove on at that point, so I have no idea how it all worked out. But no glaring headlines about a silly woman who wandered into the woods and got herself eaten by a bear, so I guess there were no tourist kibbles after all. Shame. She really was asking for it.


ghkcole said...

You have all the fun.
Just wanted you to know I'm lurking here, enjoying living vicariously through your adventures.
I'd love to hold your gorgeous Milo sometime!