Hope

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We went over to Two Medicine on Sunday with the hope that the weather would be a little bit better than it was here. It was raining here. Over in Two Med, it was raining too, but about 10 degrees colder.

So much for hope.

The other hope was that the snow had melted off enough so that at least one trail we like to hit would be at least partially clear of snow.

It was partially clear of snow, for sure.

But it was also flooded at the trailhead and what wasn’t flooded had several feet of rotten snow on it.

So we hiked as much as we could and hung around Pray Lake, photographing the yellow-rumped warblers that were picking off insects hatching from the lake.

We were just getting ready to leave when a guy came walking up and asked me if I saw the grizzlies.

There was a pair of them playing on the snow above the campground.

Somehow I had missed them.

He’d been watching them for a couple of hours, he said, but he was getting cold.

I did get a glimpse of them — but then they went off in the trees and I never saw them again. Such is life. It would have been the perfect spot to safely watch, and hopefully photograph them.

On the way back to the truck I saw a ground squirrel with two crows close to it. Why would those crows be so close to that squirrel? It turned out, the squirrel was eating another dead squirrel. So much for them being herbivores (at least completely).

I’ve seen other squirrels eat meat. I’ve photographed red squirrels eating birds and I once caught a ground squirrel eating a piece of gum someone threw out. Red squirrels also eat mushrooms. Quite regularly, in fact.

The most interesting photo I’ve ever taken of a ground squirrel was a dead one — an ermine was running with one in its mouth through a crowd of skiers at Big Mountain.

We’ll go back to Two Medicine soon, of course. But the place, like most of Glacier, is going to need some warm weather before you can get anywhere without snowshoes or skis.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.

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