Today we drove from Missoula, Montana, to West Yellowstone, Montana. Though most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming, this section is not. The drive was very interesting. We kept passing over a very twisty river that was beautiful, pale blue with sparkling white mini-rapids. We saw a part of a forest that we thought had caught on fire before, because all the trees were very small and young, and there was a lot of dead wood around their bases.

When we got into West Yellowstone, we got a quick bite to eat (tuna salad sandwich and clam chowder for me!), then headed on over to check this bear place.

That was really cool. There was a lot of information on all sorts of bears. You can distinguish a black bear from a grizzly, for example, because a grizzly has a dished facial profile, a hump on its shoulders, small ears, and long claws and a black bear has a flat facial profile, no hump, big ears, and shorter claws. You can not rely on color because black bears can be black, brown, or even white. Weird, right? I thought so.

Outside was a large, fenced off area where you could watch bears. One was sitting in a hole it had just dug, one was lying on its back with its paws in the air, and one was playing in the river. They were handsome brown bears, but their size was terrifying. One was 1000 pounds, and taller than me when it was sitting and I was standing!

Across from the bears was a wolf exhibit. They were beautiful, white and grey, larger than dogs but twice as graceful. While most were sleeping in the hot sunlight, one got up, padded around, and generally amused all of those watch him (or her, I wasn’t sure).

We then went back inside to watch a presentation on bear safety. It said if a bear was walking towards you calmly, in blunt terms, you were dinner. It was best then to look as big and fearsome as possible, spray it with bear spray (like pepper spray), and fight it. Fun? No, but better than being eaten. It said to travel in groups in bear country, the bigger the better, and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. That’s generally pretty god advice, don’t you think?

-Iona-

NOTE: Iona’s posts appear courtesy of Broccoli