The grizzly bears have awoken after their long winter slumber, which means my semi-carefree days of hiking alone are over until next winter. I say semi-carefree, because bison present a year-round potential hazard.
As risky as hiking alone can be, I'm not willing to stop my solo backcountry wanderings--it's one of my great joys in life. So today I hiked alone (sorry mom), armed with binoculars, pepper spray, and a full repertoire of U2 songs. Instead of yelling the recommended "hey, grizz" every 100 feet, I prefer singing "Bullet the Blue Sky."
For the first couple of miles, I thought every rock in the distance a grizzly, but I soon became adept at distinguishing rocks and trees from live bears. Being in the middle of the food chain heightened my awareness of my surroundings and my appreciation of being in true wilderness.
No bear sightings today, but I did encounter some dainty pronghorn, an elk hangout, and a herd of buffalo on the march.