Tales From the Wilderness

The morning was bright with sunshine as we hiked at 10,000 feet. The blessings of nature abounded around us. The wildflowers were in abundance. I was drinking in all of nature. Since we arrived, I had been praying, praying without ceasing – I wanted to see a bear, at a safe distance of course. I glanced around with eager anticipation as we hiked. Never – in my wildest dreams did I anticipate what was waiting for us just around the hill. We stopped as we watched two people climb straight up the side of the mountain, shale type rocks tumbling down as they cautiously stepped onward – up. I turned and gazed at the chalet, in the distance. We hiked around a bend in the trail – next to us – a large, steep, sloping grassy area spread out, trees and bushes scattered throughout the green area. I was gazing around, breathing in the sights and scents. Surprisingly, Rick said to me, “Look, there’s a bear over there!” I turned excitedly and gazed into the valley before us. Sure enough, there was a mega-huge brown bear moving around in the grassy paradise before us. I was so excited, I jumped up and down over and over again. “Oh my! A bear!” I shrieked. Then I slapped my hand over my mouth. I didn’t want the bear to move in our direction. Then I noticed – it wasn’t just a bear. Oh, no no no. It was the mama of all bears. it was a GRIZZLY bear! Excitement was bursting from every pore in my body, as I silently screamed, “IT’S A GRIZZLY BEAR!” Fireworks of excitement spewed out, in every direction, from my trail seasoned body. I thanked God over and over and over again. She was huge. Not wanting to exaggerate, I asked Rick later how big he thought she was, he replied, “she was as big as a Volkswagen bug.” She was big. We thought she was female because she was playing with a bush. We thought there was a cub or a very young bear in the bush. A Ranger hiked up the trail behind us and I pointed to the bear exclaiming, “there’s a bear down there!” He smiled and looked in the direction I was pointing. He talked to us, and another couple who came up the trail behind him, for several minutes. We were all amazed at her size. Of course, the Ranger had seen bears many times, but this was my first bear in the wild and she was a GRIZZLY. Later, when we reached the chalet, the conversation was a buzz with the sighting of the grizzly. I did notice, when someone sees a GRIZZLY, one becomes a member of an elite group of people – a camaraderie forms, yes, it’s those people who have seen a GRIZZLY! For the rest of our stay at Glacier National Park, I told EVERYONE about the GRIZZLY we saw up on the mountain. We swapped bear stories with others in this elite group. To this day, I tell anyone, who has an ear, about the day I saw the GRIZZLY Bear!

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