For Glacier hikers, a charging grizzly gives a lasting lesson

Print Article

A grizzly bear feeds on huckleberries in Glacier National Park in this file photo.

A Kalispell man and his two sons found out just how fast a grizzly bear can run during a recent trek in Glacier National Park.

Mark Iavicoli and his sons, Nick, 21, and Vince, 12, were hiking the Highline Trail recently on a three-day vacation in the Park en route to Many Glacier via Swiftcurrent Pass.

They were nearing Granite Park Chalet when they saw a sow grizzly and her cub in the distance not too far from the trail, about 300 yards or so. They decided to wait as the sow traversed back and forth across the rocky slopes near the trail.

The bear came over a knob of rock about 100 yards away and the three started to back up. The bear really didn’t pay attention to them and went back up the hillside, about 200 yards away.

They figured they were safe when the grizzly made her move.

“She just started charging down the hill. Full speed galloping right toward us,” Iavicoli said.

By then two other people had come up behind the three men and they backed up in a hurry, scrambling to get on top of a big rock, which, they figured, might offer at least a little bit of protection. They also had bear spray and were ready to use it.

The bear came straight at them.

“I really thought we were going to have to spray her,” Iavicoli said.

The bear charged within 30 feet and then revealed her fury — she grabbed a marmot that they hadn’t seen in front of them in her mouth and “rag dolled it” he said. A marmot is a large, common rodent that lives in the high country of Glacier. It’s the size of a woodchuck and a tasty meal for a hungry bear.

The cub, who was tagging along beside the sow then grabbed the marmot out of mom’s mouth and whipped it around as well.

The two bears gave them a look and then hustled up slope with the marmot and eventually, out of sight.

“I could smell them they were so close,” Iavicoli said.

The three went on with their hike no worse for the wear, but with a firm grasp of just how big and fast and grizzly bear is. Grizzlies aren’t supposed to see all that well, but this bear obviously eyed the marmot from a long ways away.

“When she jumped and got the marmot you could see how incredibly powerful she was,” he said.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Zone change request on the table next month for Cedar Palace

September 18, 2019 at 9:01 am | Hungry Horse News Columbia Falls has at least three projects that will go in front of planning board on Oct. 15, including a zone change request for the old “Cedar Palace” which could end up being a medical clinic. T...

Comments

Read More

Glacier visitation surges

September 18, 2019 at 8:58 am | Hungry Horse News With a fire-free summer, Glacier National park saw a surge in August visitation. The West Entrance was up 53 percent compared to last year, with 366,189 visitors going through the gates. Last year b...

Comments

Read More

Muth’s Muse: Teacher, ranger, farmer, pens book of poems

September 18, 2019 at 8:56 am | Hungry Horse News A man who many Columbia Falls folks will remember as their notable junior high English teacher has published a new book of poems celebrating Glacier National Park. Bob Muth recently published “The M...

Comments

Read More

Carol Guthrie, noted Glacier Park author, dies

September 18, 2019 at 8:55 am | Hungry Horse News Ann Fagre first met Carol Guthrie back in the 1990s. Guthrie was doing research for a book on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and was visiting the Glacier Park’s archives, where Fagre worked at the time as...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X