Bearing It All!!
It has been about 3 years since I traveled Highway 93 South to Radium Hot Springs, so I decided to go down there today. And I was treated to some fantastic sights!!! Ever since I started concentrating on wildlife photography, bears have always been my favorite subject. I have been fairly close to bears, and have spent a lot of time studying about them, and studying their behavior, and around them in the wild.
The morning started off at 7am with the sun shining and the skies blue. Filled up the CRV and headed west. Went down the 1a (aka: Bow Valley Parkway) between Banff and Castle Junction which is where Highway 93 South starts. Didn't see a thing along the 1a, so I was starting to think I might get skunked again for the second weekend in a row. However, a quick stop at the Osprey nest at Castle Junction just proved that a stop is always recommended no matter what. I could hear the Osprey talking back and forth and could tell one was in the trees near the gate that we normally stand by for the photos of them bringing fish back to the nest. So I slowly, and quietly, sneaked forward and in the gorgeous morning light the adult stood on a branch for a good 60 seconds before flying off. They are gorgeous birds and this is probably the best light I've ever had for an Osprey shot! So happy with the results!
Then, it was off down the 93 to Radium. Over the last couple of weeks I've heard that there has been LOTS of bear activity and today was no exception. There is an 11km area of the Southern part of the 93 that they are patroling, as they are not letting anyone pull over because of all of the bear activity. The first bear encounter was a lone male. When I pulled up it was strolling up a hill beside a waterfall, but didn't look back...would have made a fantastic shot with the water, but he wasn't interested in posing lol!
The car that was already pulled over took off and as a good wildlife photographer does, I waited...he went through the trees and came out roadside a little further down, to eat some of the dandylions. I took photos and watched this guy for a good 10 minutes before he took off deep into the woods and out of sight.
A little further down the road there was a Mom and 2 cubs. These cubs were a fair bit larger than the ones in the photo above, so obviously she had them a bit earlier than the 2nd Mom. Took photos of this Mom and 2 cubs for a good 20 minutes as people stopped and left...what a gorgeous sight to see the little ones playing and running around in between snacks on dandylions. Further down the hwy, on the same corner that I took a photo of a black bear that is on CanStock, there was another mom and 2 cubs (picture above). They were just inside the 11km stretch where we couldn't pull over, so I kept going.....didn't want to, but I did.
I carried on to Radium and didn't see anything other than a couple of deer. I stopped for a bit of fuel, but at $1.44.9/Litre, I only put a splash of $10 in as I had only used half a tank to get to Radium from Calgary. On the way back, about 20 minutes North of Radium, 2 park wardens had their lights on and were slowing traffic due to an absolutely GORGEOUS Grizzly that was eating dandylions roadside. This was in the 11km no pulling over zone, and obviously with the wardens there, I couldn't pull over. It killed me to not get a photo of this Grizzly because it had the most gorgeous coat of fur I've ever seen on a Grizzly to this day. An absolutely gorgeous specamin of a bear!!!
Back at the corner where the other Mom and 2 cubs were, they were now just out of the 11km no stopping zone, so I stopped for a very short time as this area only has a concrete barrier and no real pull off area. But able to get some snaps from my car of these 2 really young cubs, was just awesome!!!
Now back home...but it was a FANTASTIC day for bears!!!