Thursday, June 30, 2016

Glacier NP: Black Bears

At Glacier, a constant refrain is to expect bears by and in the road, on and off the trails, in the campgrounds, on your porch, and ransacking your tent if it smells of food or sweat. Careful cooking, cleanup and food storage are absolute necessities. Local people expect to share the huckleberry harvest with bears.

Ed first spotted these two black bears, mother and yearling about 10 yards away, just off a trail. We were still near the road. He began making noises and moving away. His voice told me at once what was up. We were near the parking lot and an adjacent trail to a waterfall, so there were several other people around. 

The bear was not aggressive. She methodically made her way diagonally through the brush, avoiding everyone, to emerge on the roadway a hundred yards away with a cub. Just then a ranger showed up. He got the story from observers, briefly set off his siren, then prepared to pelt the bear with a rifle-launched bean bag if she weren't quick to leave, but by then she was well away and definitely only wanted to get out of there. 

Bears are individuals. They have personal habits, fears, strategies and reactions. This might have been a somewhat different story had she been more curious or more hostile, although her life would not have been in danger. A primary job of the ranger is to protect the lives of the true inhabitants of the park. What a sight!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Roosevelt National Park ND: Landscapes and Wild Inhabitants

Parts of Roosevelt National Park at Medora ND are badlands. Closer to the Little Missouri River, the park supports a herd of bison and many wild horses. There are several prairie dog towns along the beautiful 36 mile loop road. Highly recommended if you are driving cross country. In far western North Dakota, I 94 goes within a mile of the park.

TR had a ranch here and liked to kill bison for sport. Parts of his story are touching, but not this part.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Enchanted Highway South From Gladstone ND

Gary Greff from Regent ND gets the prize for outdoor sculpture with scrap metal! This link, this one, and many more will tell you about this genius sculptor.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brick Bas Relief Sculpture at a North Dakota Rest Area

Rest areas are often a source of great local and regional pride along the Interstates. This stop in North Dakota features an ingenious brick bas-relief.

Google "brick sculpture" for some extra treats.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mackinac Bridge on a Very Rainy Day

On the second day of our "trip of a lifetime" adventure to Glacier National Park in NW Montana, we crossed the Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Bridge connecting the lower and upper Michigan peninsulas. 

Glacier NP is a little more than twenty-one hundred miles from home. We planned to use 5 days to drive out, with the last day a shorter one so the northern Rocky Mountains would come up in full view in the morning.

We left home on Tuesday, June 14, drove to Niagara Falls and crossed into Ontario at the Lewiston Bridge. We always feel so very welcome coming into Canada.

We arrived back into the US at Port Huron, north of Detroit. We always feel so very unwelcome coming back into the States. The paranoia and fear runs deep here.

On the second day we drove up the Michigan lower peninsula, crossed this beautiful bridge and landed finally, for the night, at Escanaba MI. It poured all day.

Below, looking back at the Mackinac Bridge.