Winter Grizzly

by | Mar 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Last Thursday, March 15th, marked the end of the Winter Season in Yellowstone National Park.   I would have posted these shots that night, but things have been super busy for us here in West Yellowstone.  There was the end of season party at Alpen Guides, then a Half Marathon in BZN (no, I didn’t run.  I drank beer and watched my better half….it was St. Patty’s after all.), next was a hike in Paradise Valley and a night a Chico Hot Springs and finally we made it to Cody this evening – after skiing Mill Creek through 8 inches of the fresh.

Cody has some fantastic opportunities for fishing.  My drift boat spent the winter here, just so we could float around Thermop later this week.  There have been BWOs hatching on the Shoshone as well as the Big Horn/Wind.  Reports to follow.

Some lucky folks, mostly Yellowstone National Park staffers, see a grizzly bear each year in mid-March.  However, not one Alpen Guide has seen a griz while on a snow coach trip during Yellowstone’s winter since they opened shop in 1984.   I was the second, Alice Owsley, was the first.  Grizzly bears are commonly seen throughout the year, but watching one during the winter was a special treat.   We had seen fresh tracks over the past week and one LE Ranger had seen tracks and a huge hole, dug out from a griz in the Gibbon Canyon.  Thermal areas, like those found throughout the Firehole basin, attract bears once they emerge from hibernation.  Why wouldn’t a bear hang out near hot springs, where the ground is free of snow, logs are easily rolled over and there just might be an old bison about to expire?