And here is where our vacation story gets exciting. Patrick got up to go to the bathroom that morning and when he turned around to head back to the tent he saw a mama grizzly bear and her cub walking down the trail only 50 feet away. I was sleeping in the tent, so he woke me up to let me know that a bear and her cub were outside. I am a very deep sleeper so I was pretty out of it at this point and really during the whole bear encounter. I did want to see it so I tried to look through the tent, but with the rain fly on I couldn't see anything. Patrick got the bear spray out and continued to hide behind the tent. The bear kept looking back at him periodically, so the bear was aware that Patrick was there, but the pair kept moving down the path and eventually to the other side of the lake. Before they got to the other side I did look out the tent to see them for myself. At that point they were pretty far away, but that was close enough for me.
Patrick took some photos once they were a little farther away, but since we just had the little camera and they were far away the pictures aren't the greatest. You can see the bear looking back at Patrick though. That alone would have freaked me out. I am glad I was barely conscious for this experience or I would have been freaking out big time. One thing the photos did clarify for us was that the bear was in fact a grizzly bear. It's not the color the bear's fur that determines whether it's a black bear or a grizzly bear, but whether they have the hump on their back. This bear has a very distinct hump so it was a grizzy bear.
And here is where the bear went after we had our little encounter. They were very hard to track in the woodsy area over there, but our binoculars were very helpful in keeping an eye on them.
Originally we planned to make oatmeal for breakfast since we brought it with us and it would be great fuel for our trip back, but after our bear encounter we didn't want to do anything to attract the bears back to us. So, we settled for granola bars instead.
From this photo you can see how dramatically the temperature changed from afternoon to morning. Without the sunshine it was pretty chilly and we both broke out some fall like clothes to warm up.
And here is the trail that Patrick saw the bear on earlier that morning. He had even pointed out the day before that he thought that might be an animal trail.
After one last look at the beautiful Cracker Lake we were ready to head back to civilization and away from the bears. All the videos and bear safety information say to be loud as to not startle a bear. So the entire trip back we were very loud by doing lots of shouting and singing. It was well worth the extra effort to not have another bear encounter.
We arrived back at our car around 1pm. Our car was parked right next to the Many Glacier Hotel and after our little bear experience we thought we would check to see if they had any rooms available. They had one room left so we decided to take it. It wasn't anything fancy, but it did have a bed, a shower, electricity and view of Swiftcurrent Lake so it wasn't all bad for $150.
We took a shower and ate some lunch before our 4pm boat ride we signed up for. The boat ride took us across the Swiftcurrent Lake and then we got off and walked a quarter mile to Lake Josephine. Once we were at Lake Josephine we got on a different boat with a different tour guide who escorted us across the lake. From Lake Josephine walked a mile and a half to the Grinell Glacier Lake.
After the boat excursion we had a very nice dinner at the Interlachen Lodge in the hotel. We ordered these buffalo chicken balls, basically a chicken meatball with buffalo sauce on them. They were way easier to eat than regular wings and very tasty. We love the idea so much we are planning to make them at home sometime. We also split a club sandwich and a burger and had some tasty beverages that included huckleberries. It was a great way to recover from our long day of hiking.