The grizzly mother gives birth in the high country, in a snug and
cozy den in late January or early February. Here the newborn baby
grizzly bear, weighing far less than an average human child, crawls
over its mother's thick fur to find a teat and begin sucking rich
warm milk. It's hard to imagine that such a tiny grizzly bear will
eventually grow into a huge animal weighing 500 to 800 pounds or
There is an old saying that the only way to survive being chased by
a grizzly, is to be able to out run the hiker with you.
A grizzly bear cub however, is far more self-sufficient than a child.
It has a set of sharp teeth, a protective coat of fur and sharp claws.
Despite resembling our culture's favorite childhood image, a cute
and cuddly teddy, this baby bear is a self contained dynamo ready to
begin its two to three years of intensive lessons from mother on how
to survive in Glacier National Park and other bear habitat.
This cub, like all grizzly bear cubs, is filled with endless energy and an insatiable appetite as well as curiosity, playfulness and a zest for life.
As the weather warms, the mother grizzly and cub move down slope to
find an open area where a winter avalanche has scoured the snow
away, allowing succulent green plants to emerge earlier than in
Glacier National Park is located in the northwest
corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more
than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along
with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier
National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and
miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are
seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the
snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.
A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is
one of the most scenic roads in North
America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is
closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in
June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which
would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.
Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park
for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a
park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an
informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter
wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice
an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your
environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife,
geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.