On my first full day of visiting Denali National Park, I was fortunate to not only get a good view of Mount McKinley which had been hidden by clouds for many days, but to also get some extraordinary views of grizzly bears. In the images below you are seeing the same bear from my previous post and, above, my sketch of that bear.
Just over the rise in the image above and below, is the Stony Hill pull off, where vehicles can pull over to take in the view. The Stony Hill area lies between the Toklat River camp and Eielson Visitor Center, at mile 66. The only vehicles on the road are buses and the few vehicles that have special permits. Road restrictions are one of the key preservation features of this national park: private vehicles are restricted beyond Mile 15 to preserve the integrity of the wilderness and wildlife viewing. And to help with perspective, the Eielson Visitor Center is an eight-hour drive from the Wilderness Access Center near the entrance of the park where visitors catch shuttles to the wilderness.
I will let the images below speak for themselves--a bear thoroughly enjoying a favorite scratching/rubbing spot. Bears are also believed to rub and scratch to scent mark, leaving information for other bears in the area.
We most often hear about the fierceness of the grizzly bear as a top predator. What you see in this post and the previous, is a more rounded glimpse of the daily life of this omnivorous species. The images are a bit like an impressionist paintings, fuzzy. The distance was out of range for the 200 mm lens I was using, but, nonetheless, an intimate look into a seldom seen behavior. My impression from the postures--pure pleasure!
Links and Resources:
Click this link to view all my posts on Denali National Park and Preserve. To see all posts on my visit to Alaska in the fall of 2012, visit Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve