Then, at about this time every year, my trail cameras capture glimpses of the bears as they waddle back toward the mountains to find dens. They are fat and moving slowly.
Just the other night, a very fat bear walked past one trail camera. Based on the girth of this bear, I'd guess that s/he is healthy.
But that story doesn't seem to fit for this bear, who obviously isn't hibernating yet. This is a big, fat, and apparently healthy bear - all except for that tan section on the side.
I hope that I get more photos of this bear so we can figure out what's up. The bear left the "bear trail" just after this camera and headed in the direction of the den that I have staked out with a trail camera. Perhaps I captured another view there. I won't find out until January, when I am next planning to check that camera (I fear that I might scare off bears from using the den if I visit at any other time than when they are asleep).
A few weeks ago, another bear walked through our neck of the woods, and I put together all the bits of footage into a video. It almost seems as if the video is playing in slow motion because the bear is moving at half-speed, like most bears who are heading for a den. You can watch the video here or at Youtube.
You might have noticed the bear's limp as he left the bear-marking tree. That limp made me wonder if this bear was our former main male bear, Milton, who got hurt about 1.5 years ago. He hurt the same front leg as this bear was limping on. Perhaps he has recovered very slowly and is now returning to his former territory. That would be wonderful!
In any case, I'm sure this bear is getting ready to go to a den. Winter is arriving - there's no doubt about that. Look at the mountains on the horizon behind Shyla in the next photo. They look wintery!