In the early evening of September 13th, I saw a bear and her cub. And this time it wasn’t in a car or from far away. It was about 20 feet away as they took off running from the trail we were hiking. It was awesome and a little scary and I finally saw a bear.
Dr.K and I decided we needed to get out and do something in the lovely warm weather and not let it go to waste. How many more days could there be like it? This is Montana after all. We got ourselves together and headed over to Livingston where we meet up with another friend. He suggested we head up to the Deep Creek trail. It is less traveled that Pine Creek and we could go for as long as we like and turn around. The trail is pretty long and hooks into the greater trail system. We ended up hiking in about 2.5 to 3 miles before turning around. Since we started so late, we knew we wouldn’t go too far.
The trail is beautiful. There are wildflowers all over, even in the fall. The color was spectacular and kept changing. Because of a fire, you can see all the peaks around you as you hike in the valley just above the creek. We talked about how we will have to plan a longer trip up to one of those peaks next summer. We are out of time this year. We were hoping to see some mountain goats up on the rocks, but if they were there, we did not see them.
Instead, on our return trip, we saw a smaller black bear and her cub that we scared up, probably 1.5-2 miles from the trail head. At the start, someone who had just finished a long hike said he saw a large bear and her cubs this morning, so to be on the lookout. When we saw how small the mother was, we were a bit worried that we were seeing the two cubs and didn’t know where momma was and did not want to find out she was on the other side of us. After making a lot of noise and have the bear spray at the ready, we decided that what we saw was a momma and cub, not two cubs. I didn’t get a picture because I was thinking, “oh crap, where are they running? Away, right?” After that we were on alert heading to the car, but didn’t see any more animals.
It was an awesome hike and so cool to see a bear that close when it was scared of us and not the other way around. Hopefully we will make it back up there for some cross country skiing this winter. If not, then for a longer hike taking us further in!