Last Wednesday we took a scenic drive to the Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana, this is in an area of Montana I had not been to before so as usual I was spellbound by the scenery as I looked for birds to photograph along the way. After going through the visitors center we got back on the road heading towards Deer Lodge County on a road that follows the Big Hole River. Stopping right before Deer Lodge County we had our lunch a few feet from the Big Hole River while watching swallows skimming over the water to take food back to their young at the nests under the bridge.
After we finished our picnic lunch we got back on the road that winds towards Divide where we could pick up I-15 again. As we drove along the river I asked Ron if bears came down to the river to feed, his reply was; and I am paraphrasing, “Probably Black Bears”.
In less than ten seconds I was shouting words to the effect of Bear, Bear, turn around!!! I had been looking at the shoreline where the tree line comes down to the river when I saw what appeared to be a large dark boulder move only the “boulder” had legs and the face of a Black Bear! As Ron tried to get the pickup turned around I kept my eye on the bear because it kept moving in and out of the trees and their shadows and it would be easy to lose sight of it.
We didn’t get great images of the dark cinnamon colored bear but I was extremely tickled to have spotted it and to have taken a few images of it. For a few moments the Black Bear came out and stood on a large boulder in the bright midday light, not the best lighting conditions but I was happy just the same.
To have asked that question, to have gotten Ron’s answer and then spotting a bear so quickly afterwards was simply surprising and hysterical. I’m still giggling.