My mountain bike trek into the back country was way late yesterday, well beyond the early morning hours best for spotting wildlife… of course I brought my camera anyway, you never know! About three miles in I spotted a small herd of bighorn sheep ewe with a few lambs sunning themselves on a rocky knoll across from the Platte River. I parked my bike and got out the camera hoping for a few nice pictures to mark the day.
On my way back to my bike after a few shots of the ladies and their babies I spotted something moving in the water on the other side of the stream. OMG, it was the bear that I have long been seeking, this one a cinnamon colored black bear taking a break from the heat of the day in the cool Rocky Mountain water. I placed the camera on the monopod and snapped a few pictures from my vantage point on the opposite side of the river from the bear. Soon I
decided to go back to my pack for the 1.4x lens extension for some closer views.
By the time I returned though, the beautiful bear had completed her swim and was back on the riverbank nearly out of sight in the dense foliage lining the river. It was at that moment that I spotted more movement in the leaves and upon closer inspection with my long lens I discovered not one but two little cubs clamoring to keep pace with their mommy! They were making their way west in search of berries in the trees along the bank so I hopped back on my bike to follow.
The trio meandered along the shoreline of the pristine river, the little ones occasionally stopping to play while mom searched for the food she would need to survive the long Rocky Mountain winter. At one point the little ones got spooked by something and ran back downstream to search for a convenient place to climb to safety. Mom patiently walked back downstream to retrieve the youngsters and the journey upstream continued. Finally I captured my favorite shot of the day as the little ones frolicked, mom and one of the babies together! I had hoped to catch all three but the little ones proved to be much to busy to stop and pose for me 🙂 I believe I’ll return the week after next with
the hope that I will see them again before they crawl into their cave in the rugged cliffs for the winter.
Eventually the little family arrived at a particularly rugged and steep section of cliff and rock where mom led the little ones up a precarious crevice behind the rocks where there appeared to be a good source of food. I could no longer see the bears, only the trees shaking as the cinnamon bear bent the branches down for her babies, so I climbed on my bike and made my way back to the trailhead.
Wow… what a privilege it was to see these amazing animals up close… and to get to photograph them, amazing. A few others had gathered to take in the amazing scene but the bears paid no mind to the people on the other side of the river. I would like to see the little family make the river their permanent home, living out their lives in peace in the safety of the rugged cliffs of the canyon along with the growing herd of bighorn sheep.
As always, these pictures and more are available on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Also available are many household products, tech items and stationary, all with a beautiful #swkrullimaging photograph!