Stream Crossing

Stream Crossing

Riddle – Why did the chicken cross the road.


Why did the grizzly cross the stream?

Well, it’s a bit like this.

I came upon these two while searching for a large male grizzly I’d encountered the day before. However, Yellowstone is never quite the same from day to day, and instead this morning she granted me an audience with a cub and sow.

Initially, these two were actually right next to the road, a circumstance that afforded a rare opportunity to get some close-ups of a grizzly cub that I happily took advantage of 🙂

Although the photography started with just a handful of people, it wasn’t long before the combination of bears along the road and tight shooting quarters caused the situation to become much more circus-like than I was willing to tolerate, even with a ranger there helping to control the crowd.

I decided I’d had enough and actually made my way back to the truck and pulled away. However, in my rear view mirror, I noticed the crowd was breaking up just a bit. The bears had likely decided to go deeper into the woods.

The thought occurred that maybe they’ll come back down in a bit, so I turned around and parked at a large pull-off that seemed to be in a strategic location. Before too long the bears made a second appearance.

As misfortune would have it, I was a bit too accurate in my assessment of where the bears were going to be and I found myself standing in their direct path. I carefully made my way to a smarter shooting location and watched as the bears walked right over the spot I’d been standing less than two minutes before.

They quickly made their way across the street and across the stream you see in the photo but were diverted by a large male bison who seemed well aware of his bulky superiority – a trait he was more than willing to flaunt as he approached the mother and cub.

The grizzly sow was well aware of her disadvantage and while keeping a wary eye on the bison, she quickly moved her cub upstream. The bison, however, was fairly determined that this was his stream and the more the grizzly retreated, the more emboldened he became. It wasn’t too long before the mother made the (wise) decision that she didn’t really like this stream anyway and crossed back over with her cub – and that’s when this image was captured.*

Once across the street, she stood on her hind legs to verify the bison had stopped the pursuit and hastily scurried up the mountain and into the woods.

*(Note – many people mistakenly believe that grizzly bears  – particularly a mother with cub – are all monsters and will no doubt be surprised to read how easily this one was swayed from her path by a lone bison. However, like all bears I’ve dealt with, they would much rather stand down than risk a confrontation that could potentiality case them physical harm.)

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