Almost daily my travels in Yellowstone include a BEAR traffic jam!
This particular day was no exception. A cinnamon black bear was walking near the road. People stop their cars to see the bear. It’s kinda what Yellowstone is famous for. Nowadays the park is overcrowded. When a bear is sighted the cars back waaaaaay up.
I had an idea. Park where the traffic was stopped. About a quarter mile from the bear. Possibly… and I mean possibly I could anticipate where the bear was headed and cut him off. At least 100 yards away. It’s the rule in Yellowstone – 100 yards minimum from a bear!
Looking up the road through my long lens there was a ton of rule breakers. No ranger in site (yet). One man looked as close as 15 or 20 feet from the bear.
Can you say C R A Z Y?
Before long the bear was headed in the opposite direction of the road. Then he was out of site. About as fast as the traffic jamb appeared it disappeared. I was alone….hopefully with the bear (at 100 yards minimum). Guessed on his route. Checked the bear maze, camera gear and headed out. About the time the road was out of view I was following a trail. It had a lot of elk prints. With the dry fall and new growth this trail was probably used by all the wild.
There he was. About 150 yards ahead on the same trail.
Camera, lens and tripod UP! Beautiful animal. Looked to be quit young. Still a wild bear. Fired a lot of shots of him…..heading at me. What’s the minimum focusing distance of Nikon 600mm f/4 VR II lens? To be exact….15.7′ About the distance the bear was from me as he passed. Only one glance at me. Me? I was protected by my tripod and a can of maze! Kinda like a one iron for protection from a lightning bolt. Way to close. It happened fast. He was incredible. Obviously not threatened by me. I wish it was the same for me about him.
Can you say C R A Z Y ?
Ok so my wife will read this. I will be grounded again.