Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 14

by Bingle on Jun.01, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family

Black bear - Sunwapta

Day fourteen was a long driving day. We had reservations in Great Falls, MT for that evening. The plan was to drive straight back through Jasper and Banff and out the southeastern entrance towards Calgary without stopping since we’d already seen things on the way north. Our plans were interrupted fairly quickly when we spotted yet another male black bear loping along near the road. We pulled over and paced him for about ½ mile before he disappeared into the woods.

When we got to the Athabasca Glacier, the sun was out, so we stopped for a couple of pictures (since it had been overcast when we had been here before). We ended up stopping a few more times for quick “sun on the mountains” pictures other places as well.

Mountain Goats

Shortly after leaving Athabasca Glacier, Karen suddenly asked that we pull over. She had spotted two white spots up on the side of a cliff near the top. Sure enough, they were mountain goats! We watched them (and took pictures and video) until they both scampered over the top of the cliff and disappeared.

Bighorn Sheep

We hadn’t seen any big horn sheep since entering Kootenay National Park on our way to Banff, but that soon changed. We encountered three big horn sheep shortly after seeing the mountain goats, including two that were in the turnout for the Weeping Wall (which is a rock face with dozens of little water falls on it). They were nibbling at the gravel in the turnout, presumably using it a salt lick. We stayed in the van and got some pictures from pretty close by, so close that Amber asked for the sliding door on the van to be closed.

The next animal sighting was a coyote out in a field after we had left the parks. We turned around to try to get some video, but it quickly disappeared in the distance.

We saw various deer and antelope on the remainder of our drive to Great Falls while we listened to a book on tape to pass the time. After checking into our hotel and having dinner, Karen and the girls went swimming in the (cold) indoor pool while Rich recovered from driving by soaking in the hot tub.

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