This is always a sad time of year for me. I have wished the bears the best for the hibernation season. Each one of them has become a friend, once again reaquainted for a short time. Some of the bears like Lenore and BPll, I had the honor of visiting almost everyday from when Lenore presented us with her newest cub last June. This little tyke was very healthy and lively from the get go. It dutifully followed Lenore around as they explored this wonderful new world full of interesting sights, contradictions and tasteful food surprises. Eating sedge, rolling rocks for squishy, slurpy and squiggley morsels hidden beneath, wonderful sweet and sour berries to the mainstay of the year; the salmon feast. Both Mom and daughter looked to be very fat and healthy when I last saw them in the middle of Oct.
Bonnie was also a steady visitor to the cove all summer and fall. She was on her own this year, no sign of Clyde, so he must have wandered off to make his mark in new territory. Good luck young friend. We all watched as Bonnie was transformed to a beautiful dark colored, healthy looking sub-adult foraging for her food supply with confidence and knowledge.
Patches returned this fall to the spawnning channel all by herself again this season. I was full of hope to see her with a couple youngsters in tow, but not this season. She is an exotic looking bear with her multi colored coat, dark eyes and frosted ears. She still seems to be very calm and serene in her actions and tolerance of the other bears and human visitors.
"Pretty Boy" was around almost all season. He is a young male to whom we were first introduced to very dramatically, one spring day, as he chased and mated with a cute female on the beach below the clam. He is so handsome with his shiney coat, not a hair out of place nor a scar to mark his gorgeous countenance. If he keeps fooling around in Bruno's mating area, I suspect that he will gain a few scars over the next few years.
Bruno was the first grizzly bear I saw last spring as he patrolled the beach searching for the late arriving females. His prominent white scar leaves no room for mis-identification here. Bruno stayed here longer than other years but by the mid Sept. he had left for parts unknown. Hopefully the springtime drama will continue with him as a full time actor.
This fall, there were two moms each with twin, two year old boys fishing the Glendale river system. Both were repeat visitors from last year, recognizable by the white band of hair in front of one of the cubs front shoulders. This year they are much more adept at fishing with greater confidence as they forage amongst the other bears.
There were bears this year who may have been here before judging by their actions whenever we visitors showed up. Most of them were females with very large, healthy fat butts waddling through the water to their familiar and favored fishing holes. There was one female who had a huge chunk of hide missing off here right ham, slowly healing as the autumn progressed. There was a large male who also had a large chunk of hide freshly torn off in the last month or so, this wound on the left ham. Both these bears did not seem hampered by their wounds as they fished in the polluted river. Rotten fish and feces from all the birds and bears doing their business did not contaminate these open wounds.
Our best surprise of the fall was the mother of "The Gang" showing up with a new set of triplets, including a white, an almost black and a grizzled looking cub. The white cub has captivated all our hearts because of the rareity of seeing a possible grizzly "Spirit Bear." Photos of this rare sighting are surgeing around the globe and will be featured prominantly in a show due to be aired during the winter olympic games. NBC was here for three days of shooting and had a great visit with this bear family. Watch for this show airing sometime in the morning olympic coverage on the Today Show with host Lester Holt.
Our guests are going to be missed as much as the bears. Once again I see how after just a day or two, friendships are formed through a common love of all wild creatures. Many of these people leave a lump in my throat as I watch the floatplane leave the dock, knowing that we may never meet again. I get comfort in knowing that we have gained support and made aware to the world how valuable healthy wilderness is for the long term.
I would also like to thank the people I work and live with through the common seasonal challenges of weather, water and bears. It all works because we all have a genuine concern for the well being of the environment of the cove and on the dock.
The bears are the honorable hosts of the Glendale going on about the business of making a living. I help guide our enthusiastic guests to this amazing corner of the world as witness' to these animal's valiant struggles to continue their unique way of life and the constant struggle for survival in an unforgiving land.
Thank you all for these expiriences and please stop the trophy hunt of the grizzly bears.