Trips: Oh Felicia! Teton Spring 2019

In the early spring of 2019 Felicia emerged from her den below the Continental Divide with two cubs. Unfortunately, she quickly lost one to a boar. Felica and her suriviving cub, Pepper, were often seen near the highway that crosses the divide. But another misfortune struck: Pepper became separated from her mom when another boar gave chase. For more than a month Pepper lived alone, somehow surviving against all odds, and even learning to kill her first rodents to help stay alive. There was little hope that Pepper could survive. But she did and then, a miracle, they reunited. During the summer, the two were seen periodically, grazing, nursing and exploring, and as fall's snow began to fall they were seen headed to their den. Sadly, when winter finally gave way, only Felicia emerged from the den. In her short year, Pepper captured a lot of hearts with her pluck and spirit. Here are some of my favorite photos of my time with Felicia and Pepper.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Only a few days out of her den, Felicia strides across across a nearby ridge.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia stops her efforts to find food to nurse Pepper, her lone surviving cub. Her other cub was lost not long ago to a marauding boar, one of the most dangerous threats to cub survival.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Wait for me, Mom!

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia charges down a hillside.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper enjoy some playtime.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

With a slight wag of her tongue, Pepper walks alongside Pepper.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Family Portrait: Felicia and Pepper in perfect synchronicity. Numerous sows, like Felicia, raise their young surprisingly close to highways, perhaps because they know that the boars are less likely to be near there. Felicia and Pepper spend a scary amount of time near this roadway. But it has protected her surviving cub it seems.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Portrait of a Grizzly: Felicia

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia is a large, imposing and powerful grizzly.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Early spring is a time for grizzly bears to find tender shoots, roots and maybe some rodents. Felicia spends nearly all her time searching for food as her young cub Pepper learns quickly learns to step exactly as her big mom does.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Grizzly Felicia and her cub Pepper walk in synchronized unison.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

The Grand Tetons rise in the background as Pepper and Felicia stride to greener meadows below.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia casts a wary eye below.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper cruise across a narrow ledge where winter's snow has melted.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper walk across a snowy mountain ridge.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

The calendar says May but there is still a lot of snow on these mountain ridges as Felicia and Pepper look for easier terrain.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia is more powerful but Pepper is lighter and that can be an advantage in the soft snow.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper slowly pick their way across this snowy mountain as yet more clouds and snow begin to blow.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

With immense claws and power, grizzly Pepper plows through the snow, as her cub Pepper rallies from behind.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

On the hunt, Felicia stalks for food.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Grizzly bears Felicia and Pepper search for roots and rodents in this freshly melted meadow.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Pepper runs to her mom's side as Felicia casts a wary eye and nose to potential danger below. Though their eyesight is not great, Grizzly bears have exceptional smell that can alert them to danger - or possible food - miles away.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia encourages Pepper that it is time to make a getaway.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Pepper is a beautiful grizzly bear cub with a distinctive white sash or blaze. Here she practices her earliest dance moves.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

A Sense of Perspective. Pepper keeps a lookout while Felicia digs for roots.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia descends a mountain hillside.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper prepare to retire for the evening.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Pepper reaches for a kiss from Mom, as Felicia looks to make sure they are safe.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Pepper tells mom about her exciting day on the mountain day.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Grizzly Tenderness. Felicia gives some tender loving to her cub, Felicia.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia nurses her cub Pepper as she displays her massive feet and claws.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

The clouds have brought more snow as Felicia looks down from her mountain slope.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia looks back to see why Pepper is not following more closely as falling snow sticks to her face.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper make their way through the falling snow.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia woofs a warning from her snowy ledge.

Felicia and Pepper, photo

Felicia and Pepper prepare for another day in the snow.