2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Glacier presents some great photographic opportunities, talk about it here.

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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:12 am

Off to the North Fork to Glacier View Ridge. See if I can get above the inversion and get some good images of the Livingston Range.
Similar to the view you see on the Apgar Mt NE view web cam.

later
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:55 am

Ha! Scratch that plan :(
Went out to leave and had a dead battery :twisted:
Started truck with my portable jump battery went Napa, bought a new battery, installed it. Then....
Stopped at Laurie's sub shop in CFalls for a sandwich. CFalls cops, Flathead Sheriff, and a Border Patrol guy were all in there!!
BP guy and Sheriff both said the North Fork road was pretty icy. So headed to the park and Lake McDonald for something to do

later, again 8)

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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby TnTammy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:31 pm

Pete,
When you do make it to the North Fork, do you have any concerns about an interaction with wolves? Am unfamiliar if these incidents occur at all, or the frequency of a negative encounter. In other words, is it suggested to take ?bearspray even when recreating during months of bear hibernation?
Silly questions from a Southerner....
Thanks, Tam
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:23 pm

TnTammy wrote:Pete,
When you do make it to the North Fork, do you have any concerns about an interaction with wolves? Am unfamiliar if these incidents occur at all, or the frequency of a negative encounter. In other words, is it suggested to take ?bearspray even when recreating during months of bear hibernation?
Silly questions from a Southerner....
Thanks, Tam


Hi Tammy

I haven't seen a wolf since 2009. Heard them quite often and seen lots of tracks out there in winter.
I don't worry about encountering wolves.
First, they usually known humans are around since wolves have exceptionally acute senses of eyesight, hearing and smell.
And most of the time avoid people. That said, they don't always avoid people, because I've talked to people who have seen them, mostly folks who are out and about i that are far more than I.
I've seen wolves 3 times in GNP, but not since 2009 and never close by.
The second Spring I lived here I was bowhunting out east of Olney on a kellyhumped logging road.
Suddenly a beautiful, nearly black wolf came up out of a grown over clear cut and stopped in the middle of the road a out 20 yards away. He/she just stared at me intently, not moving for about 10 seconds, then just leisurely trotted off :)
Not showing any aggression at all.
I'll never forget those golden eyes looking right at me though!

I really hope to see a wolf, or wolves, close up. I'm not gonna worry about being attacked, but I will be carrying bear spray as always 8)

I Xcountry ski'ed for first time in 3-4 years yesterday at Whitefish CC with PizzaBob, his wife Sandy. and their guest Ann.
Good fun. Only crashed 3-4 times LOL, including one "header".
Conditions were pretty icy but I did ok all thing considered. Gotta practice slowing down/stopping going down hill while turning.
So hopefully I'll be able to get out towards Kintla lake and find a place to watch for wildlife with my camera(s).
The terrain is very flat for 5 miles or so.
What do y'all think? Any suggestions?

Later,
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby TnTammy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:54 pm

Thanks Pete for that info about the wolves....hope you get a sighting like Paul did this year. Since you've got bearspray I won't worry. :D

Yes, we have a few people on here who know alittle bit about X-country skiing, methinks! :wink: Personally, i'd be snowshoe-ing as i'm a catastrophe on X-country skis. :mrgreen: Hard work on both those endeavors; must be pretty out there in the snow!

Best, Tammers
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby Ear Mountain » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:40 pm

PeteE wrote:I Xcountry ski'ed for first time in 3-4 years yesterday at Whitefish CC with PizzaBob, his wife Sandy. and their guest Ann.
Good fun. Only crashed 3-4 times LOL, including one "header".
Conditions were pretty icy but I did ok all thing considered. Gotta practice slowing down/stopping going down hill while turning.
So hopefully I'll be able to get out towards Kintla lake and find a place to watch for wildlife with my camera(s).
The terrain is very flat for 5 miles or so.
What do y'all think? Any suggestions?
Later,
pete :wink:

Pete,
I've skied to both Bowman and Kintla Lakes. Even going partway is a great outing so long as the snow is good (not ice!).
To reach Kintla Lake our group forded the Northfork of the Flathead maybe 8-9 miles north of Polebridge. The ski to Kintla Lake was easy from there but the ford definitely was a challenge. I used chest waders and left them near the ford. Make sure the water is fairly low. Having lunch on the shore of the lake by the campground was a treat. Of course skiing north from Polebridge is an option and the scenery is good as you know. But reaching the lake from there might be problematic if you don't intend to camp at the lake and don't want to ski in the dark on the way out. :wink:

Bowman Lake is also and easy ski in but more of a challenge coming back. There are some downhills with corners that you climb on the way in (easy) but have to descend on the way out. If snow is good there is often a well defined ski track to Bowman Lake which makes for faster and easier skiing.
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:58 am

Ear Mountain wrote:Pete,
I've skied to both Bowman and Kintla Lakes. Even going partway is a great outing so long as the snow is good (not ice!).
To reach Kintla Lake our group forded the Northfork of the Flathead maybe 8-9 miles north of Polebridge. The ski to Kintla Lake was easy from there but the ford definitely was a challenge. I used chest waders and left them near the ford. Make sure the water is fairly low. Having lunch on the shore of the lake by the campground was a treat. Of course skiing north from Polebridge is an option and the scenery is good as you know. But reaching the lake from there might be problematic if you don't intend to camp at the lake and don't want to ski in the dark on the way out. :wink:

Bowman Lake is also and easy ski in but more of a challenge coming back. There are some downhills with corners that you climb on the way in (easy) but have to descend on the way out. If snow is good there is often a well defined ski track to Bowman Lake which makes for faster and easier skiing.
Ralph


Thanks Ralph,

For now, I believe I'll have to limit my skiing to the "gentle terrain" of the flat parts of the Inside Road.
Like Dirt Harry famously said in Magnum Force, "A man's got to know his limitations". 8)

I don't think I'll be wading the North Fork in the winter! :) Especially alone.
That's just A Bridge To Far to use another movie metaphor. :)
I would love to camp at Bowman. I believe I could snowshoe into Bowman if conditions were right.
THAT would be awesome!

I feel OK skiing north to the end of Big Prairie. Going south could be a hassle for me on skis because of the trees that frequently fall across the road.
Once I get used to popping my skis on/off going south will be easier. Snowshoeing south is ok. I've done that, and I'll do it again when I get a chance.

Another issue is driving out there.
Jaybird doesn't do well on icy roads. I have winter formula rubber snow tires but not studs.
Squeeze was better on ice but still scary. The North Fork road is just not a road I like driving on when it gets icy.
There are a couple places where the roads snakes up and down a couple of ridges that are really treacherous when icy.
In the past, I did a 180 and a 360 out there in Squeeze going down hill and letting him "get loose". Very scary.
So I'll have to wait for more snow and better road/skiing conditions.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions!

pete :wink:

TnTammy wrote:Thanks Pete for that info about the wolves....hope you get a sighting like Paul did this year. Since you've got bearspray I won't worry. :D

Yes, we have a few people on here who know alittle bit about X-country skiing, methinks! :wink: Personally, i'd be snowshoe-ing as i'm a catastrophe on X-country skis. :mrgreen: Hard work on both those endeavors; must be pretty out there in the snow!

Best, Tammers


Thx Tammy. I'll be OK. I'm not worried about the wolves. I would dearly love to see some wolves--and the closer the better.
I always care bear spray. Grizzly bears can show up even in winter, especially when it's been as mild as it's been here, and the lack of snow.
I was snowshoeing out towards Bowman Lake one time in mid February and followed fresh grizzly tracks for a 1/4 mile or so before the bear tracks broke off towards the creek. :)

Yup! Ear Mountain and Jay W are two EXPERTS when it comes to snow skiing and I take what they say seriously. GNP is not a place to take lightly at any time, and that is especially true in mid winter.

Thx Tammy. Hi to Mike!

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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby paul » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:28 am

Pete,

I think Big Prairie would be an excellent out and back on skis. (as long as the wind isn't too bad). You'd have a decent chance of spotting some wolves up that way too.
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby Pizza Bob » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:02 am

paul wrote:Pete,

I think Big Prairie would be an excellent out and back on skis. (as long as the wind isn't too bad). You'd have a decent chance of spotting some wolves up that way too.


Conversely, a large pack of wolves have a decent chance of spotting you too! :D

Once the road is less icy I’m all for a trip up there
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby Pizza Bob » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:07 am

BTW, Merc hours posted on their website ....


Summer Hours (Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend): 7AM to 9PM, everyday
Fall Hours (Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend to Halloween): 9AM to 6PM, everyday
Closed For Repairs & Holidays (November 1 to March 28, 2019)
Spring Hours (March 29, 2019 to Thursday before Memorial Day): 9AM to 6PM, everyday
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:24 pm

Pizza Bob wrote:
paul wrote:Pete,

I think Big Prairie would be an excellent out and back on skis. (as long as the wind isn't too bad). You'd have a decent chance of spotting some wolves up that way too.


Conversely, a large pack of wolves have a decent chance of spotting you too! :D

Once the road is less icy I’m all for a trip up there


I'm not too worried about a large pack either.
When was the last time anyone was attacted by a wolf or wolf pack in GNP or anywhere in the USA?
That's right. Never, if I remember correctly.

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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:58 pm

PeteE wrote:
Pizza Bob wrote:
paul wrote:Pete,

I think Big Prairie would be an excellent out and back on skis. (as long as the wind isn't too bad). You'd have a decent chance of spotting some wolves up that way too.


Conversely, a large pack of wolves have a decent chance of spotting you too! :D

Once the road is less icy I’m all for a trip up there


I'm not too worried about a large pack either.
When was the last time anyone was attacted by a wolf or wolf pack in GNP or anywhere in the USA?
That's right. Never, if I remember correctly.

EDIT
Almost never. 5 times a quick search revealed. Never in GNP that I could find.
So not worried.

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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby dpratt » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:02 pm

PeteE wrote:I'm not too worried about a large pack either.
When was the last time anyone was attacted by a wolf or wolf pack in GNP or anywhere in the USA?
That's right. Never, if I remember correctly.

pete :wink:


I don't think there is a documented account of an actual attack by wolves in the US. [EDIT - saw your edited post, Pete; I stand corrected.] I've run across wolves in both Glacier and Yellowstone, as well as right down the road from my house. They've always reacted the same - mild disinterest and a lackadaisical retreat. Once I heard one howling and barking because it was agitated that my wife and I were getting close to its location. Never did see it, but it quieted when we changed course. I often wonder if there was a den we were unknowingly approaching. It is an easy 3 mile walk from my house, so I've always want to go back and check it out, but have yet to do it.

In fact, I just got back from a hike looking for wolf tracks. We've had a decent size herd of elk roaming around here lately. Yesterday when I went out to split some firewood, wolves were howling not a couple of hundred yards away. Saw plenty of elk sign, but didn't see any wolf tracks. I'm not surprised. When a herd of elk move through an area in the winter, you can probably see the disturbance from space. Wolves on the other hand, are quite stealthy.

I'm with Pete - no concern for wolves (but a very healthy respect). I'm more concerned with the mountain lion that seems to have taken a liking to my place. It left tracks in fresh snow about 30 feet from my house a couple of weeks ago. Woke up last Thursday morning to tracks coming up my driveway and sidewalk, onto the covered porch and patio. I'm not too concerned about that either, unless of course it does it while we're up and moving around. Just part of living where we do.
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:57 pm

The odds of your neighbor or lightening killing you are better than being killed,or even attacked by a wolf.

This is a good read.

http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/wo ... on-humans/

Here is a partial quote from the link above. I love the last paragraph from Montana FWP :)


...Despite what The Onion might have you believe, wolf attacks are exceedingly rare. In 2010, a fatal wolf attack in Alaska marked only the second documented case ever of a wolf killing someone in the wild. There are some 77,000 wolves in North America. The first-ever confirmed case of fatal wolf attack in the wild in North America occurred in 2005, when Kenton Carnegie was attacked by a pack of wolves in Saskatchewan, Canada.

In 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle found evidence of only 27 non-fatal wolf attacks on humans in North America. Most of those cases involved rabid wolves, which are themselves exceedingly rare, according to the Chronicle.

Wild wolves generally steer clear of humans, and it’s generally when humans try to go near wolves that trouble erupts. Wolves that have become habituated to humans, like a released captive wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid, are more likely to go near humans, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The agency says that wild wolves “generally have some place to be and something to do.” Apparently a wolf’s social calendar fills up quickly.


Perhaps those who are still worried about wolves should stay home and watch golf on TV 8)

my 2 cents

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Last edited by PeteE on Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2019 "Snaps" Around Gracier National Park...plus

Postby PeteE » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:14 pm

I realize this discussion about wolves is a bit off topic in "Photography".
That said, those who come to photograph wildlife in GNP should be aware of the potential hazards of GNP's wildlife including wolves.

So maybe DaveParker or DPratt can move it to General Glacier Discussion or Hiking where it can be seen by more folks, especially people who are new to Glacier park.

Personally, I consider an "encounter" with a wolf to be an extremely low risk proposition and would love to see and photograph them--at close range.
Still, they are wild animals and an encounter should never be taken lightly.
VIGILANTIA AETERNA!


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