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Waterton Lakes Nat'l Park, Canada to Glacier Nat'l Park, MT   07/21-23/06 (Day 87-89)

Keep Your Eyes Out!

We’re not even one full mile inside Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada when we see a good-sized coyote a few hundred feet off the road trying to drag away an even better-sized kill. The thing in its mouth (ground squirrel? hedgehog? VW Beetle?) is so big that the coyote has to stop every few steps, drop her/his dinner and catch its breath. Pant, pant, pant! Then up it springs and carries on a few more feet. Repeat.

But as exciting as that coyote sighting is, it’s nothing compared to the wildlife we encounter across the border in Glacier National Park in Montana, the US side of this unique bi-country park system.

Part of what we’ve got going for us is that Karen’s mom and dad have joined us, so we have four sets of eyes instead of just two. And since Karen’s dad’s wildlife spotting skills really count for those of at least two men, you’re talking FIVE sets of eyes. That’s 10 eyeballs constantly scanning the skies, the trees, the underbrush, the meadows, the lakes, the rivers. Basically, no animal is safe from a sighting with us around.
So it should surprise no one (certainly not us) that upon returning from a fantastic hike up to Grinnel Glacier (steep enough, exposed enough and long enough to inspire a bit of muscle-memory of our best treks in Nepal), we find Karen’s dad on the back porch of the Many Glaciers Hotel with his binoculars glued to his face. This is not unusual. What is unusual is what he’s looking at: a grizzly.

The lone bear is slowly munching her/his way across a hillside about 300 yards away from us. As happens when the word grizzly gets whispered, a crowd soon gathers and, suddenly, Karen’s dad (aka, Eagle Eyes) is busy helping half the guests at the hotel see where the elusive and shockingly well camouflaged animal is.

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