Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day weekend in Denali, part 2

Sunday morning we woke up to another rainy day. We decided to drive back into the park on our way home. As we drove down the park road and noticed a few cars behind us. Since we were in no hurry, we turned down a side road to let them pass. We were making the loop from the trail parking lot and we were headed back to the main road. Suddenly, Greg noticed some movement in the forest beside the road. After a brief second, he spotted a lynx stalking amongst the trees. We couldn't get a picture from our spot so he got out of the car to try to get a better photo of the lynx. We followed him all the way to the other side of the wooded area but lost track of him. Greg was on foot and I was in the car and we both continued to look for the elusive cat. I finally saw it and pointed it out to Greg. As the trees were so thick, he had a difficult time trying to photograph it. Finally, it stopped under a big spruce tree and Greg got one shot off before it sprang straight up into the tree.
 You could hear it clawing the bark as it climbed, but our view was blocked from seeing the cat. It jumped down a few minutes later and headed out the other side of the woods. As it crossed the road in front of us, Greg got a few quick photos.
Greg did follow it a few hundred feet into the dense brush and willows but a good photo proved to be as elusive as the lynx. Greg finally decided trying to be stealthy in this area, without bear spray, might not be the smartest thing in the world so he returned to the car. We continued our drive to the Savage River area without seeing much of anything else. As we headed back out of the park, we noticed a tour bus stopped in the road. Everyone was looking out one side of the bus and taking pictures. We assumed it was a moose since we had seen many in that area before. After a few minutes, I saw that it wasn't a moose but was a pretty good-sized grizzly bear.
 As it made its way down the small hill, we noticed it only had 3 paws! Its front right paw was missing just below the elbow.

 We later found out this bear had been dubbed "Tripawed" by the Park biologist. It seems he showed up last year after surviving some nasty injury that cost him his paw. It was even thought at one point of having him put down. The park decided against it and by the looks of him, he seems to be doing well. Our drive into the park turned out to be a good decision. We turned toward home, finishing off a great weekend. Hopefully, our next post will have some more awesome pictures. We are flying into Katmai National Park this weekend to go on a bear-viewing adventure!

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