|Still snow up here.|
My backpacking mentor reminds me to build on what I do know, and gave guidance on mental aspects (thanks Stacy). Yet, I still have questions like how do you look at a bear long enough to tell if it’s a black bear or a grizzly bear but yet not look it in the eye. Also puzzling is whether to camp where lots of other people are present since grizzlies tend to avoid people, or to camp where there are few people where bears are less likely to be attracted by food smells and be further from habituated bears.
My supervisor lends me an education video called “Staying Safe in Bear Country." She shows me the skulls of grizzly and black bears, and talks about differences in their evolution. Also in preparation for an educational program, she shows me key differences between the skulls of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. I run my fingers over the carnassial teeth and sagittal crest of the wolf skull, and study the orientation of the eye sockets in the deer.
|Nothing like some comparative anatomy to put things in perspective.|
I knew moving to Montana would bring my backpacking skills to new levels, I just didn’t expect it to be this tough. Sifting through and digesting the advice I’ve been getting about hiking solo in grizzly country takes time. I have to be patient with myself, take the long view. It will be worth it.
|Lupine and the long view.|
Strawberry Lake Trail