In the spring of 2018 grizzly bears 399 and Blondie and their year and a half old cubs put on a show for those lucky enough to witness. The highlight was watching Blondie walking her two cubs from the corals only to realize that the grand matriarch, 399 and her cubs, were coming into the same small clearing. 399 gave chase and Blondie bee lined it out of there. I was there with just one other person, a ranger. As the chase ensued and it was clear that they were headed our car we dove into my car for safety. In seconds they had covered a couple hundred yards and ran past my truck. The speed and power was a sight I will never forget.
Grizzly 399 and her two subadult adults take an anxious look as a large adult male bear enters the meadow where they had been feeding. In another month these cubs will be sent on their own way but for now they are a wary family.
One of 399' s cubs enjoys a back scratch as 399 continues her relentless feeding.
Grizzly 399, the grand matriarch of the Grand Tetons, makes her way down a greening meadow. For just more than 20 years she has raised her families here and her presence has likely done more to stir the commitment to conservation, especially that of the grizzly bear, than any person or thing in the past 20 years.
Still Going Strong
She may be just over 20 years of age, but grizzly 399 remains an indomitable force.
Grizzly 399 takes a wary glance as her cubs nonchalantly enjoy the security of her protection.
One of 399's cubs practices his balance atop a fallen timber.
Grizzly 399 and one of her cubs forage on the emerging spring greens and roots of a meadow near their home on Pilgrim Creek.
Back Into the Woods
WIth the Grand Teton range rising in the background, 399 leads her family into the forest where they will spend much of the day.
Sunrise at Blacktail Pond
Grizzly Blondie and her two subadult cubs slowly graze across a hillside in the Grand Teton National Park.
Girzzly Blondie leads her cubs from their home in the northern parts of Grand Teton National Park. Spring is a time to replenish their reserves after a long winter and now they will forage on shoots, roots, rodents and soon newborn elk.
Blondie's Family, 2018
Grizzly bear Blondie leads her two subadult cubs from a nearby corral.
Meeting at the Corral
As I watch the grizzly bear Blondie and her two cubs meander toward me I am struck. There is only me and a ranger in this remote region of Grand Teton National Park. We watch together in silent awe. But as they approach we see from the corner of our eye, Grizzly 399 and her two subadult cubs begin to give chase. Blondie may be 399's cub, but neither wants the other around. In a flash, 399 has given full chase and the 6 bears race like thoroughbreds across the parking area toward the two of us. There is little time. I have my truck and the ranger and I race into the vehicle as the 6 grizzlies sprint by. It all happens in a second. But the memory of diving into the vehicle and these beautiful bears sprinting by in a flash is one I will never forget.
Stalking for Her Next Meal
Grizzly 399 looks askance as she strides across a nearby slope. She is the queen that ruleth over everything great and small.
399 and Her Subadults, 2018
Grizzly 399 and her subadult cubs meander to a lower meadow where they will resume their feeding.
Grizzly 399 epitomizes the spirit of the wild west, as it once was. Every so often we get to see glimpses still, but without dedicated conservation they will become just memories.
Grizzly bear Blondie and her two cubs inspect some traffic cones. For more than 30 minutes they wrestle with, topple, roll and even stand up these cones.
An easy sunrise from Blacktail Pond.
Tundra Swans fly across the morning sky as dawn brings a new day to Grand Teton National Park.