While we had fun in the desert...
The bears were waking up back home. Our big male bears were starting the mating ritual of marking certain special trees to tell receptive females that they were back in town.
For those who have followed this blog in past summers, you might remember "Tiny", one of the biggest males in our neck of the woods.
In fact, he's so big that he almost was too tall for my camera set-up. He was vigorously rubbing his back on a small pine tree. It's a tree that bears have marked every spring and summer for a long time.
These "chosen" trees never grow to full size because the bears break off the top of them every year.
See the white blaze?
He's always been a "creative" tree marker, using his paws a lot to rub branches across his fur, thereby getting his scent on even more of the tree.
I think he spotted the trail camera here. He looked straight at it as he marked.
I felt so happy when I knew that both Tiny and Milton Jr. had survived another year and returned to their stomping grounds.
Then, just yesterday, Tiny marked the same tree again.
Although the mountain weather has been dismal (rainy/snowy and cold for weeks), I still have an extra spring in my step knowing that the bears are starting their yearly ritual that is such fun to monitor with trail cameras!!