Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's raining bears

I can't believe it.  I've already been here almost a month and only have about two left.  On one hand there's been so much going on, but it really just normal stuff for the Tower district.  We've only had about 3 EMS calls only one of which I've been on and that was just driving the ambulance.  There are a lot less calls than last year.  On one hand, its good that people aren't getting sick or hurt as much.  On the other hand, I am also not getting as much experience as last year.  But its for the best so I am okay with it.
The bears certainly haven't become less active.  Yesterday I was out on bear duty and had seven different bear jams.  Believe it or not, that is not considered busy.  None of the jams lasted more than an hour and a half which was nice.  When you're on a bear jam (traffic jam caused by bears) for more than 7 hours, it can be a bit frustrating. 
Yesterday was a plethora of bear experiences.  First I headed to a bear sighting at Rainy lake just south of the station.  The bear came within 20 yards of me, but I was ready to jump in my car if needed.  That bear moved out of site and I started driving back to the station when I saw another bear on the side of the road.  I stopped and it crossed right in front of me brushing the side of my car.  I went to park my car and keep an eye on this one as it headed back up the road.  About 1/2 mile from my car, both the bear and I spotted the first bear which was back in view.  Turns out these two were a mating pair.  While mating pairs can be unpredictable, I was sure glad they weren't going to fight.  After those two went out of sight, I headed towards Lamar valley, east of Tower Ranger Station, and encountered a 1/2 mile long traffic jam of people watching a grizzly.  This poor bear was stressed and pacing back and forth because there was a line of people watching it and another line of cars behind them preventing the bear from crossing the road.  I cleared a space and got most people back in their cars and the grizzly ran across the road not 15 yards from me.
I then headed west and was stopped at Elk creek by a large traffic jam caused by a mother black bear and her two cubs-of-the-year.  I caught a quick glimpse of the cubs before they went out of sight and they were absolutely adorable; which is probably why they caused such a large traffic jam. 
After that jam was done, I heard that the two mating black bears were back at rainy lake and drove up to see one rolling in the water to cool off.  That was the last jam of the day.
But later that night when everyone at Tower having hamburgers in celebration of the solstice, (thanks to John Kerr for getting the hamburgers), the mating pair ran through the ranger station followed closely by a cinnamon colored male who also wanted to mate with the female.  They provided us with a pretty good dinner show.

Update: 6/22/11 12:00 Mountain Time
So that mating pair and the cinnamon colored male were up by rainy lake again this morning and I was actually called out of the office to help Ron with those three and another black bear (total 4 bears).  The bears crossed the road multiple times.  At one point I  had lost sight of two of the bears.  I looked behind me later on and there was the big male black bear just 20 feet from me.  Running in my direction across the road.  I jumped in a visitor's car just as the bear ran over where I had previously been standing.  That was a bit exhilarating.


Anonymous said...

I love reading these blogs! It's so interesting to hear of your adventures. Please keep posting.

Anonymous said...


You are a wonder woman!.... but we always knew that. Love your blog and your pics. Can't wait to see you this fall. You are always in my fondest thoughts and special prayers.

Love, Margaret

Post a Comment

Myself in my uniform from a couple of years ago. I wear normal clothes to the office now.