Bears & Wolverines on Hikes
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Bears & Wolverines on Hikes: May 28, 2017

Price: $65.00
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Description Course Details

Bears & Wolverines on Hikes

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dave Streeter

As much of the park thaws under the rising spring sun we’ll hit fresh trail toward Avalanche Lake as bears, wolverines, and other mammals take advantage of new spring habitat, avalanche paths, and the melting snowpack. In this course, we will learn about avalanche ecology by observing landscape clues, identify important plants and what they tell us about this violent environment, and scout for the famous grizzlies and wolverines that use the avalanche chutes as a means of nutrition and how their life cycles integrate with the pluses and perils of avalanche terrain. This section of the Continental Divide has perhaps the highest concentration of wolverines in the lower 48 states and they compete with grizzlies for the buried carcasses in the avalanche debris. With some luck, we might get to see some of these or other critters in action, hard at work to put on some calories after a long winter in Glacier.

Dave’s long experience as Glacier’s first ever ski guide informs our study of avalanche ecology and the way that both wolverines and grizzlies interact with this important ecological event. His 38 years exploring and teaching in this area adds a wealth of information to our instruction.

Meeting Time: Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map)

Itinerary:  We will start from the Avalanche lake trailhead and proceed toward the lake. We will stop at all the avalanche chutes to investigate the avalanche damage and regrowth caused by these forces of nature, scout for bears/wolverines and investigate the snow, and discuss the warning signs for avalanche potential. We will lunch beside the lake and be back to the Institute by 4 PM. This course will not be cancelled due to weather.

Food:  Students are responsible for their own meals.  Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks.

Course Equipment:

  • Hiking or trail shoes/boots
  • Recommended to bring traction cleats (Yaktrax, etc.) for potential hard-pack snow closer to the lake (optional)
  • Hiking or trekking poles (optional)
  • Daypack
  • Water (2 liters minimum)
  • Raincoat
  • Warm and adjustable clothing for a stop-and-go pace
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Binoculars or spotting scope

Physical Requirements: Trail Difficulty: Moderate / Distance (roundtrip): 4.5 mi. / Total Elevation Gain: 730 ft.

Recommended Reading:

Winter, An Ecological Handbook by James Halfpenny and Roy Ozanne

The Wolverine Way; Doug Chadwick; Patagonia Books, 2010.

True Grizz by Doug Chadwick; Sierra Club Books, 2003.