Crunch Crunch Crunch

A black bear chews on the ribs of an old carcass beside a downed log at Yellowstone National Park on October 4, 2006. Original: _MG_5935.cr2

My first day in Yellowstone set the tone for the entire trip. That Wednesday was my final morning in the Tetons and I drove north to Yellowstone, where I would stay for the rest of my trip. I didn’t see much in the Tetons that morning and the weather was so cloudy that the mountains were mostly hidden. On my drive into Yellowstone, however, it wasn’t long before I started to see wildlife.

On the road towards Bridge Bay I came across two coyotes hunting near a small pond, then found a small group of gray jays working their way through the forest. On the road towards Roosevelt as it was getting late in the day, I pulled off the road to photograph some bighorn sheep lambs and ewes that were near the road. The gentleman next to me mentioned that a bear was coming, and sure enough far down the road a black bear had crossed the road and was heading towards the bottom of a hill.

After not having seen any bears the previous year in Yellowstone, I was excited to see my first of this trip (it would not be my last). As I settled in with my new telephoto lens, a small group of us watched as the bear wandered over to an old carcass of some large mammal and began to work over the bones. When an idling diesel pickup truck left, it was suddenly so quiet that you could actually hear the crunch crunch crunch as the bear began breaking apart the ribs. Eventually it walked back down towards where it had come from. It was time for me to depart as well, the bear had its dinner, now it was time for mine.

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