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Of Bears & Berries: Hiking in the Track of the Griz

Of Bears and Berries: Hiking in the Track of the Grizz

Dave Streeter

Why do grizzlies have that big hump on their back?  Why do they choose to climb to the top of 10,000 foot peaks in Glacier National Park?  Are black bears or grizzlies better tree climbers?  In this course, we will discuss these common questions and many more as we hike through important grizzly habitat and discuss historical events that have helped shape Glacier's present day bear policies.  On the trail we will look for bear sign, scat, and feeding opportunities for trail side talks.  We will discuss the life cycle of the bear, including mating, reproduction and raising the cubs.  Join us, as we have much to learn from the black bears and grizzlies of Glacier. 

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

Itinerary: After a brief intro at Field Camp, we will take the Institute bus to Logan Pass while discussing the life cycle of the bears including mating, birth, denning and getting fat for winter. We will hike uphill to Hidden Lake Overlook with the hopes of witnessing a bear utilizing early summer food resources at Hidden Lake. After concluding our visit to Logan Pass, we may take other short stops or hikes to round out our view of bears and their relationship with humans and other high country inhabitants.  We hope to be back at Field Camp by 3 or 4 PM for a wind down of the "cultural bear in song & stories”, to cap the understanding and celebration of the bear in its home. 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.

Required Equipment (all seasons): Warm Layers 

Course Equipment: Gaiters and trekking poles are recommended.

Physical Requirements: Easy 4.5 mile hike, 800 foot gain & loss, quite possibly on some snow. Depending on group interest and abilities, other short hikes may be taken.

Transportation: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Recommended Reading (all publications are available at the Whitefish Community Library and Flathead County Library):

True Griz – Doug Chadwick - University of California Press c2003          

The Kingdom: Wildlife in North America - Doug Chadwick - Sierra Club Books c 1990 

Night of the Grizzlies - Josh Olsen - G P Putnam's Sons            

Montana Wildflowers Impressions - D Linnell Blank, Farcountry Press c2003