Edward Abbey, a great American West author, once defined the wilderness as “a place where you have a chance of being attacked by a wild animal.” This past week trekking through Glacier National Park I got a full grasp of this definition. This is grizzly country after all. Out of the eight days on the trail I saw a total of nine people. I had every backcountry campground to myself and it became very clear that I was alone in the wilderness. That being said I was not completely alone. As you’ve probably already guessed by the title, I came across a grizzly. I have seen many black bears before, but those were more like teddy bears in comparison. I caught his glance. His eyes stared right into mine. I quickly diverted my stare but in that split second I saw the wild within him: pure, unbroken, and feral. I backed away slowly, talked calmly and he turned and left. I watch him as he move over a hill and around the bend, out of sight. I cannot explain the emotion that surged within. I was awestruck mixed with a feeling of surreal content, and yes... a certain degree of innate fear.
As if that wasn’t enough I also came across a pack of wolves, which was more unexpected than the bear, I was looking for him but these just popped out of the woods just ahead of me on the trail. They didn’t seem to notice me but I knew better, being the master hunters as they are.