Bears, moose and such

“Stop! Bear!” I yelled at the hapless middle-aged woman barreling her way into a dance with a young black bear. She turned around, ran full sprint down the trail in the opposite direction and saved both herself and her jorts from a ripping.

So we were right. And, we were wrong. Less than six hours into our hike into the Tetons, Jeremy, Ashley and I did encounter a bear; but it was no grizzly, and truthfully it did what black bears mostly tend to do—try to get away from people. Despite being less than 10 yards away, the bear couldn’t have been less concerned with us. The moose on the other hand? The moose was fun.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. Moose are dangerous. (We all read Hatchet in third grade.) But on a trail packed with people, the close-range encounter with two adolescent moose seemed like more of a treat than a threat. The giant, lumbering beasts grazed on purple flowers for a while, before kicking everyone off of the trail, putting all humans on notice that you better put some respect on their name: moose.

The Tetons delivered what they promised. Epic scenery (though we did lose track of the ring we were supposed to drop in the volcano), and wildlife. After the terrifying encounter with Jorts Woman and her pet bear, we loaded up and headed north towards Yellowstone.

But Yellowstone deserves a full review, and we won’t be done with that park—the oldest and arguably most famous in the country’s national park system—until tomorrow.

Tonight, we’re camped in West Yellowstone, a Montana outpost just outside of the park’s western entrance. Though, I use the term “camp” loosely. This isn’t the flimsy Coleman pop-up that I’ve grown used to over the past week. This is a wood-framed, canvas tent complete with wood stove and, weirdly, a shower.

You could call it a Glamp. I call it an upgrade. After tomorrow night, it’s back to the road and back to talking to animals instead of people, and if you’ve been following the trip on Snapchat, you know how rude they are…

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