“Did I just see a Montana Grizzly or was that a Black Bear?”
This weekend has proven to be quite the bear sightseeing tour! Be happy that’s not bare (as in the latest Missoula bike festival- don’t ask)!
If you are coming to Missoula, Montana for some wildlife viewing, the best place to see a grizzly is in the Washington-Grizzly Stadium during a home game. Missoulians are pretty proud of their football team. Outside of the stadium, however, some people aren’t as wild about the re-introduction of the Grizzly. That’s a whole new topic and a story for later on.
Few, if any, grizzly bears are seen in the Missoula/Lolo area and thankfully, we’ve never personally run into one while exploring the woods. However, if you happen to visit Glacier DO REMEMBER that grizzly bears go hiking too! The probability of running into a bear of any kind in Montana is much less than meeting an angry person which means the statistics of bear run-ins are pretty low. In reality, Missoula doesn’t harbor many angry people, there are too many things to do and enjoy here!
Now if you dig a bit deeper, Montana history is full of interesting stories where men and women clash over many issues. Our own road “Deadman Gulch” actually earned its name years ago from an argument over water rights that obviously didn’t go so well for one individual. Montana does have an interesting history of stage coach robberies, vigilante hangings and even moon shine “wars” right here in the Missoula area. There have even been a few pretty crazy individuals to roam modern Montana as well. Overall, those are just headlines that sell books and our “wild west image.” In truth, Montana has good-hearted people and is known for being one of the friendliest places in the U.S. to visit or live. We have many guests who comment on how welcome they feel upon their arrival here in Big Sky Country. Friendliness, Fun and Fuzzy Creatures are top reasons to come for a visit!
And yet, I digress… Let’s get back to bears in the stadium and woods.
Brady and I don’t often see football games in person. For us, the busiest time of the workweek consists of Friday, Saturday and Sunday- when guests are exploring the town. What we love about innkeeping is the ability to live vicariously through our guests who come to enjoy games, concerts and hiking trails! Since Blue Mountain is literally part of our backyard, we almost always have time to enjoy nature.
Today was one of those glorious, autumn afternoons. The temperature was perfect and I was sure I heard John Denver singing “Sunshine on my shoulders…” For me, having the ability to instantly get out and enjoy nature is as rewarding as life gets. Probably the thing I like most about fall days is you never know who else might be out enjoying a stroll.
Deer try to camouflage themselves in the long, golden grass, while hawks often circle above. We’ve seen darling foxes creeping through the thickets and the last of the fuzzy caterpillars munching leaves as fast as possible. All of these amazing creatures of the forest know that Jack Frost will soon come knocking at the “door.” Now is the time to store food and take in the last rays of sun!
Here on Blue Mountain, fall is a magical time to enjoy the slow changing of the seasons. Birds begin to migrate and summer fawns lose their spots, growing into adulthood. I often think about the hidden forest secrets I’ve not yet discovered and wonder how many eyes are watching me as I casually walk through the forest. For me, such mysteries are comforting- I am but one tiny piece in a vast wilderness of wildlife.
Once in awhile, I think there just might be a chance that I’ve spotted something wild and wooly without being detected. I’d like to think so, because I wish to leave as light a footprint as possibly along the path I choose to walk.
Today gave us one of the rarest of magical moments as we neared the end of our forest journey. Just above the road, we watched a healthy black bear yearling cub climb the hill and then disappear from view. In football terms, my guess is he was just about on the ten yard line. It was a fairly close encounter, but certainly not a worrisome one. As the laziness of an autumn day allows, he slowly ambled up the hillside. The bear’s thoughts seemed to be elsewhere- likely focused on filling his belly with the the last of this summer’s berries. Not so unlike one of our autumn tasks- packing away delicious preserves in our storeroom for guests. Indeed, it is time once again to prepare for Old Man Winter’s return!
Whether you are a local or from out of town, we hope you find the time to explore Blue Mountain on your own. We always welcome you to stay with us here at the B&B while you enjoy the views and wildlife, our home made berry preserves and hospitality. We, and the mountain are awaiting your visit!