Razor clams are very big, sometimes the foxes pry at them with their front teeth until they break. Other times they use their back teeth and break a large area open. After devouring the meat, off they would go again, repeating the whole process. Each hole dug contained a clam, their noses never failed them. What talent!
Grizzly with a razor clam
The grizzly bears had a different technique for digging and opening this tasty treat. While the foxes dug a hole so deep they'd stick their front legs and whole head in to them, the bears scratched the surface with their massive paws. A few scratches and the gouge would be a foot deep.†
Each bear had a different technique for opening the clams.† Some lay on the ground clasping the clam between their paws. Others would crouch with their front legs folded on the ground with the clam between them. Once held firmly, the clamshell was broken with the bearís huge jaws.†
By moving strategically, I was able to stay a good distance away from the bears. I wasnít worried about being on the menu now. If the bears want clams why would I be of any interest? Nearby was a group of people that had been dropped off by another float plane. I wasn't anywhere I thought I shouldn't be. I carried my tripod over my shoulder with my large camera and lens mounted on it. With all that equipment, I thought†I appeared fairly large, and not like a play partner or a snack.†
Grizzly bear lazing around
Suddenly, a bear looked at me funny, I stopped and slowly backed away across a stream. Until that time a bear had hardly looked in my direction, much less showed an interest. I headed towards the other people and asked, "Does anyone here have a gun"? I pointed the problem bear out and the guide told me as a group it wouldn't be a problem. I hung around with them for a while and then headed off on my own again. The guide was right; that bear didnít bother us.
More bears appeared in unexpected ways. I saw one lying on it's back in the grass watching the clouds float past. When it heard me, it tried† to sit up. For a second or two, all I saw was two feet sticking up out of the grass. Then a head and two feet, then just a head. Very odd.
A sow and a cub wandered onto the plateau in front of me. All of a sudden their attention was drawn towards the mountains. Two other, larger bears went running across the flats, one defiantly chasing the other. The cub sat beside mom, then stood looking with interest, then fearfully hid behind mom. As the other bears ran through standing water, the spray stood up for what seemed like forever where they splashed through. They were forty feet away before it the droplets fell back and spread into what was still waters a moment before. I can only imagine how fast they must have been running.
Grizzly cub and sow
The cub and mother murmured to each other in bear voices. They nuzzled affectionately and then they both went and got a drink of water at the streamís edge. The scene was reflected like a mirror in the still water. The whole world was contained within that reflection, and I was overwhelmed with the beauty and excitement.
Grizzly cub and sow drinking
The cubís nuzzle became a nudge, then a push. Before I knew it the sow was sitting down and the cub was nursing. Right in front of me the little one stood right on top of it's mom, happily feeding. I couldn't believe my eyes.†What a fantastic adventure.
Grizzly cub feeding