Grizzly Family

Two Families Meet.

My sister and I excitedly packed our cameras as the sun peeked
above the horizon. As we arrived closer to our destination, a dense blanket of fog covered the whole valley, and we wondered if this would ruin our chances of getting any good photographs today. As my finger and eye composed a ghostly shot of the fog, I remembered the beautiful, black wolf that stood there the day before. A striking, orange glow finally broke through the haze, and soon the mysteries of the day would be revealed. We waited for more than an hour before we could see the floor of the valley and the herd of bison grazing below us. The air smelled clean and crisp, but there was a definite chill on my face. We
carefully scanned the tree line and sage for any signs of wildlife as each rock became an animal in the binoculars. Patience has never been something I was very good at, so we talked and ate heavenly tasting chocolate donuts to pass the time in hopes that we would see something soon. As the breeze blew through the aspens, the great bear’s instinct told her that their leaves would soon be golden instead of green. Winter wasn't far behind, and the dense fur of her three cubs indicated it would be a harsh one. As all four members of this family foraged through the lush, green grass in this rich valley, a wolf pack crossed through the sage toward their den. One of her cubs, who was marked very differently from the others, seemed to be the most curious of the three. This silver-colored ball of fur tenaciously dug for something to soothe its hunger while the other two lagged behind. When all three cubs fell out of her sight behind a small hill, the grizzly sow stood on her back legs to acquire their scent and a get better look. Her massive size was clearly evident, and her long, sharp claws were visible at her side. Although I couldn’t actually hear her, I am sure that there was some sort of sound emanating because the cubs ran to her as if they had been punished. She wandered closer to the river and didn’t hesitate to immerse herself in the cold water. The three cubs cautiously followed their mother into the river, but their smaller size allowed them to drift down stream. When the huge sow arrived on the bank, she shook the water off and watched her family paddle toward shore. Her little ones swam hard to reach their mother who waited patiently for their safe return to land. With her
cubs close behind, she gradually climbed the slope of the hill and finally disappeared into the dense pine forest above. We seized every opportunity to capture each moment of time with this grizzly family on a disk no larger than a quarter. As the sun continued its perpetual journey toward dusk, my sister and I stood in awe of this beautiful family of bears and the gift they had given us that day. My sister returned home the next day, but the time we spent together, and the amazing things we saw will remain in my heart and mind forever.

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