That didn’t take long. We drove in to Glacier National Park to find a camping site and, instead, we found a bear.

We really messed up this time. I knew this was high season but naively assumed that whatever challenges we may have encountered in finding a camping spot in Grand Teton National Park would, somehow, be less in Glacier National Park. How wrong we were.

We rolled in to the park in the early afternoon and there was not a campsite to be had. Everything had been taken by 11AM. So, we had to find a campsite outside of the park. On our downcast drive, exiting the park, we suddenly pulled to a stop. “Did you see that?” asked my driver. “What?” “It was a bear!” I looked to my left, at the helipad that was indicated. No bear. Not an acceptable conclusion. We proceeded with care. As we rounded a corner, we saw a family briskly march out of a trailhead. As one of the adults passed by I asked, “Was there a bear?” Nod.

We turned down a single lane road to get closer to the trailhead and that’s when I saw it. It was a black bear with a shaggy coat that seemed to shift between black and brown. It ambled across the path and into the brush. But that would not be the end. As we turned the car around to return to the main road, it crossed without us knowing. There it was on the other side of the path, this time, on its hind feet.

Yup, cross “bear” off our checklist.

A black bear rises to its hind feet.
A black bear rises to its hind feet.

As an amusing coda: we passed a crowd of hastily parked cars and binocular wielding visitors 100 feet further down the road. They were intently gazing and gesturing at a spec on the cliffside across from them. I asked what it was. It was a black bear. I mentioned there was a black bear behind them. But they were too absorbed in the spec on the cliffside to care much that there was a black bear 50 feet behind them.

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

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