Bob and Shirley were engaged to be married in a few months. Although Shirley had bicycled over much of the world including Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, she had not gone on a backpacking trip. Bob had done much backpacking and Shirley agreed to go on a backpacking trip Bob would plan. Having so much experience in backpacking in California, Bob knew that one of the best times to go was in September. So Bob planned a backpacking trip in September - in Montana. Montana is much further north than California, as the following will show.
We drive to a pullout on the road and get to watch a small herd of elk including two males which are butting heads.
While hiking we see a coyote on top of a deer carcass across a river from us. Suddenly, the coyote flees and a grizzly bear comes to feed.
We each wear "bear bells", but Bob calls them, to Shirley's annoyance, "dinner bells".
Shirley has her first experience with a tube tent Bob brought along to spend the night in. Shirley's assessment was that a tube tent was ok as long as you did not need a tent.
We set up the tube tent right next to a bear tree, which had wooden slats for people to climb to get away from a grizzly bear. The wisdom is that if you climb a tree to escape a black bear, it will climb up after you, while if you climb to get away from a grizzly, it knocks the tree over.
A massive snow fall began the next day with snow coming down so fast that our footsteps quickly disappeared.
While this was going on, we suddenly found bear prints in the snow path ahead of us, not yet covered, and even going across a plank bridge we also hiked over (there is a photo of that below).
Because of the snow, we cut our backpacking short and rented a cabin near the park.
A nearby park restaurant had tea and honey covered muffins for breakfast which Shirley clearly remembers as being delicious.
[For any of the photos, click on the image to bring up the full resolution, uncropped version.]
On the second day of backpacking, the snow hits hard
Fresh bear prints in the snow on the bridge
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA