This morning we needed to go to the backcountry office in the morning to pick up our permit for the backpacking trip up the Bechler River in two days so we had to wait till after that to start our hike. Since the backcountry office opens at 8 AM, we spent the morning driving towards Mammoth.
Then we saw a large Grizzly in the meadow below. He was very far away so not the greatest look at him. He’s the small dot in the lower left hand area. If you click to zoom you can see better.
After leaving the viewpoint we drove on to Tower and came across a mama black bear with two cubs. It was still early so she wasn’t causing a traffic jam and no Rangers were to be seen anywhere shooing people off. This allowed us ample time to enjoy watching her and to get some nice photos.
After getting our permit at the Mammoth backcountry office, we headed out to Hellroaring trailhead for today’s hike. Since we got a late start this would be a short hike, only 8 miles round trip to the bridge across the creek and back. It was a hot hike, out in the open most of the way. About halfway into the hike, Sara found a large elk antler.
We hiked to the bridge and had some lunch before taking these shots and heading back.
Along the way back we noticed a lot of bear sign. Torn up trees, bear scat, bear tracks and overturned rocks everywhere. We later found out that a bear had been sighted back in the area the previous day. Wish we had seen him. Some pics of the traces he left behind:
On the way back you cross this large suspension bridge. While this seems like overkill for a hiking trail, this particular trailhead is a very busy one with access to about five of the more popular hiking and backpacking routes in the park, all of which start on the far side.
After finishing up the hike for the day we went back to camp for showers and to do laundry. Tomorrow we take a shuttle to the far corner of the park to begin our backpacking trip so we needed to prepare.