December 15, 2017

A Young Grizzly’s Antics

A young grizzly’s antics is one of Mother Nature’s premier attractions.

Grizzly, Black and Brown Bears are a natural and vital part of our northern landscape in the Yukon, and while it’s always prudent to stay out of their way for the sake of your own safety and well being, it doesn’t mean you can’t safely observe their behavior from a distance.

Sometimes you can even catch a hilarious snapshot of their behavior, like my wife and I witnessed last summer.

She and our little girl dog Seew had come up to my fire tower for a weekend visit, and after my work hours were over for the day we’d come down from the mountain to go for a little family drive together in the gorgeous evening light still flowing over the Land of the Midnight Sun.

While driving a long straight stretch with a gentle curve looming in the distance we spotted a dark patch of movement ahead on our left. Slowing to get a better view we were treated to see a large and full grown male grizzly bear calmly grazing on the fresh green grasses of the roadside’s broad verge.

While he was a magnificent sighting in his own right, it was the next bear we encountered just a little further along who had us in stitches of laughter with his antics.

Rounding that bend up ahead we again spotted movement among the swampy willows and grasses of the right-hand roadside but this time it was a much younger grizzly, obviously still full of himself and the growing awareness of his new-found prowess and abilities to be both explosively fluid and completely sneaky in his movements.

At least in his own mind. A young grizzly’s antics were about to be demonstrated in living color before our eyes.

This young one had been completely absorbed in snuffling the ground he stood on as we slowly approached along the road, seemingly unaware of our vehicle’s presence. When he finally did spot us it was to see his head rear straight up accompanied by an utterly startled and impossibly funny expression of   “Oh No, they can SEE me!” look on his face that immediately broke us up into laughter .

Instantly executing the most amazing 180 degree flip and spin in midair  this young bear made two mighty splashing leaps through swamp water patches to arrive on dry land beside a bushy bunch of willows, where he fluidly executed another 180 turn to get behind those bushes and flatten himself to the ground facing our approach.

But with his young instincts all abuzz he couldn’t wait even three seconds to see if he’d been spotted there or not. He had to peek.

Just as we’re drawing opposite to his chosen hiding place we saw that young bear face lift up from the prone to peer owlishly at us through the willow branches, the eyes wide and filled with the youthful confidence of “I’m invisible. They can’t see me. Can they? Can they? Oh No, they CAN see me again!”

As we dissolve into even deeper laughter at those facial expressions and antics we’ve witnessed he again leaps to his feet and bounds off into the deeper woods, quickly disappearing from view but leaving us with the lasting impression of his scurrying young grizzly butt tucked down tight in the em-bear-essment of discovery.

Mother Nature’s theater of entertainment – you can’t beat it’s diversity and touches of natural humor as displayed in a young grizzly’s antics.

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