For most of the hike in I was worried about one of two things. The first was how to say Assiniboine without sounding like the clueless American that I happen to be. I landed on going with “a cinnabon.” Sounded great to me, but maybe I was just hungry. My second main concern revolved around grizzlies. I didn’t want to become their tasty treat. So I clapped a lot. I clapped for berries. I clapped for digested berries. I clapped for cute little baby bear paw prints. As I was descending into a meadow, I stopped clapping and I saw my first grizzly in the wild. He was far away and to my right so no biggie. I resumed my clapping and carried on with my hike and chanting... a cinnabon, a cinnabon, a sin on a bun.
Since there was a known grizzly in the area sniffing around and I was already dog-tired from 20+ miles of hiking that day I figured I would try to avoid hiking back to the campground in the dark after a sunset. All I really wanted to do was get cozy and take advantage of the obvious security of my tent. But still wanting to grab some star shots after sunset, I set my camera on auto-pilot and left figuring I’d be the first one back the next day. But you can't be the first one there when the rest of the crowd never leaves. I didn’t even think about the critters that actually lived up there. When I came back at dawn, Alvin or Simon or Theodore decided that my tripod was a tasty late night snack and chewed on the legs and chewed right through a cord hanging off my camera.
Lesson learned. Don’t underestimate the chipmunk when you’re worried about the grizzly.