©Bert Gildart:With very little connectivity in Shenandoah NP, creating posts has been difficult. Nevertheless, I was almost overwhelmed by some of the photo opportunities that presented themselves, particularly ones of deer and bears.
Let’s start with bears, and the images that follow were afforded while traveling south along the Skyline Drive, just past Timber Hollow Overlook. I arrived shortly after Momma Bear had ushered Baby Bear high into a tree. Momma Bear then shinnied the tree herself and assumed a guard position on a limb about 20 feet above the ground. She didn’t seem to object to her situation until someone driving an unmufflered vehicle screeched to a stop and then began running around with a cell phone camera.
Here are some images of Momma Bear showing some of the aggressive poses she assumed as more people stopped and began moving in toward the base of her tree. I must note that I was way back with a 600mm telephoto lens. I think the lens provides an acceptable working distance.
The other great opportunity occurred early one morning as I wandered one of the park’s meadow area. In Shenandoah National Park, May and early June are the times in which fawns enter the world. Their arrival creates lots of stories and most bring a smile to the face of the listener.
For instance, about a week ago a doe tucked her new born into some tall grass near our camper. First, however, she licked it and then licked it some more — the goal to remove every bit of scent from the body of its young. Then she went off and left it for several hours as she browsed the surrounding woodland and grassland for food.
Normally, that’s a safe practice, but one doe was not so lucky. While gone, a hungry bear found the fawn and the rest of the story is not such a happy one — at least for the doe. The incident happened just before I arrived.
But, generally, hiding the new born works; it gives the mother a chance to regroup and the young a chance to acquire its footing. Then, several days later when fawns can move around, they join their mothers and begin learning about the huge world they’ve just entered.
That’s when most of my images were taken and, I must say, the interaction of doe and fawns sure brought happiness to my life. It’s wonderful that Shenandoah preserves such a magnificent slice of nature. These stories are accessible for most anyone willing to rise early and do a bit of searching.
We’re now on our way north mostly to visit family. Because most work, we’ll have lots of spare time to complete work on our book Hiking Shenandoah. Point of fact, the book does more than just outline hiking routes; it also details the natural history and history that hiking in this magnificent park affords. Release next year will mark the books fifth update.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy