The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE ESCAPE - WORDS: ANGIE PIERCE

If you want to spot a griz­zly bear, I’ve de­cided you have to think like a griz­zly bear. So if I was a bear in Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park, where would I hang out? Down by the river hav­ing a drink. It made per­fect sense to me, so for three days my fam­ily and I scoured the river banks of the world-renowned Amer­i­can na­tional park for its most fa­mous res­i­dent.

But in an ecosys­tem as big and as di­verse as Yel­low­stone, you never know what will be around the next cor­ner. The park is huge – se­ri­ously huge – and you could spend days driv­ing from one end to the other.

As twi­light fell on our first day, we were motoring through a val­ley with eyes peeled when we caught a flash of move­ment.

We pulled over and reached for the binoculars to watch what looked to be a wolf tip­toe­ing along the shore­line.

It turned out to be a coy­ote and we sat trans­fixed as the stealthy hunter ap­proached an­other coy­ote com­ing from the op­po­site direc­tion. Af­ter a Mex­i­can stand-off, both an­i­mals started wagging their tails and played a quick game of chase be­fore re­sum­ing their soli­tary so­journs.

The next day we came around a cor­ner to find a mag­nif­i­cent moose strut­ting through a meadow with­out a care in the world.

Herds of bi­son – the park’s most pro­lific res­i­dents – are ev­ery­where.

We even­tu­ally came across one of Yel­low­stone’s wolf packs in the La­mar Val­ley, but had to bor­row the high-pow­ered binocs of the se­ri­ous na­ture watch­ers to get a closer look.

Watch­ing a wolf howl through the binoculars and then hear­ing the eerie sound creep across the val­ley was a goose­bumps mo­ment.

But de­spite sto­ries from other trav­ellers who had seen one the day be­fore or an hour ago, we never did see a bear in the wild.

To do that we had to make a bee­line for Boze­man and the Mon­tana Griz­zly En­counter.

Here bears or­phaned by hunters, or deemed prob­lem an­i­mals for neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties, are given a new lease of life in a cen­tre with room to roam. The main ex­hibit is about the size of a foot­ball field. There’s even a man-made moun­tain stream and it’s here that, fi­nally, I see bears hav­ing a drink.

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