Before that, we hiked 11 miles roundtrip to Grinell Glacier. When I was younger—even when I visited Malaysia—I remember thinking that Africa and continents with rainforests had really scored in the nature department. The flora and fauna of North America were just sort of…beige.
But I would like to humbly rescind that assessment. Some things we saw on our hike:
- Another bear, which triggered my flight-or-photo mechanism. I was dubious about continuing on the trail, but we staked out a space between two other couples and decided there was safety in numbers. The couple in front, whom we nicknamed Northface, had cameras with telephoto lenses and seemed like they were trying to lose us. The other couple, recent University of Washington grads, was friendlier. We developed a sort of call-and-response thing with them to ward off bears. I defaulted to cheerleader mode and yelled “Woo!” every minute or so.
- A herd of big-horned sheep, as vivid and majestic as the ones I’ve seen in Natural History Museum dioramas. Maybe more so, since they weren’t stuffed and dead-eyed. They were placidly nibbling grass, and when they leaped across the trail or scampered up the mountain, you could see the power in their haunches. They have buns of steel.
- Three lakes, one as brilliantly turquoise as any Hawaiian beach. But probably a little colder.
- A glacier. I know they’re very important environmentally, but to be honest, it pretty much looked like snow.