Bells, berries and bear scat
Aug 8, 2007
|On August 8 we left Rising Sun and drove 28 miles to Many Glacier, one of the most popular parts of the park. Popularity means the campground fills every day, so we got there early to be sure and get a campsite.
We checked out the Ranger Station, then rode our bikes to the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead where we picked up the loop trail around Swiftcurrent Lake. Of course the first thing that greeted us was a bear warning.
With glaciers disappearing the high country dries up early, driving bears to the lower elevations to get water. Swiftcurrent Lake
is where many of them come to drink and swim, and grizzlies are seen here almost daily.
We hadn't gone a quarter mile when we came across a huge pile of scat lying right in the middle of the trail. We'd seen other scat before and wondered if it was bear, but when you see the real thing there's no doubt about it
In their talks on bear safety Rangers say to make noise so you don't surprise a bear. For that purpose many people carry large metal 'bear bells'. Rangers also recommend that you carry pepper spray, so if you do surprise a bear you can spray it if it attacks you.
Then they tell you what to look for if you see scat. Black bear scat contains berries and shoots, while grizzly bear scat smells like pepper spray and contains bear bells and pieces of bone! Well - so much for that advice.
We continued on without seeing the thinner and lighter bear, which was just fine with us. We walked to Lake Josephine
, then continued on around Swiftcurrent Lake to the Many Glacier Hotel
where we had lunch before finishing our interesting and blessedly uneventful hike.