Crow Creek Trail is a lightly trafficked trail located near Ronan, Montana. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking.
It was a nice easy hike along the crow river
This is a delightful hike, and we did not encounter any bears. Beautiful waterfalls are found on a trail that branches to the right. There are no trail markers.
We decided to take a hike in the Flathead National Forest, just west of us here in Polson, MT. Polson is located at the southern end of the Flathead Lake, which is pretty big. Forest information is here, and trail information here.
We started down the trail under overcast conditions and it was about 62 degrees. About 15 minutes down the trail, which follows the Flathead River (raging white water) upstream, the sun started to come out. We passed rock falls and high peaks as the river passed between two very high mountain ridges. Lots of ground bushes and tall pines.
About 25 minutes into the trail, as we were passing a blueberry patch, Barb yelled to me to stop because we had a bear. Sure enough, I looked up the hill and about 60 feet away, a grizzly stood up and looked at us. At first, Barb said it might be a brown bear, but it was tan with a black muzzle, just like you see in National Geographic: grizzly.
We yelled and the bear retreated about 5 feet to a tall stump and stood higher, about 6' tall. We yelled and waved our arms and she retreated a little more, which is when we could hear the cub.
Now, we're nervous.
We slowly start back down the trail, partially backing away, because the books say 'do not run' (mostly because bears can run faster than you can). We could hear the bear bellowing for another 3-4 minutes, until we were around a bend in the trail and out of earshot.
We spend the remainder of the the walk back down to the parking lot looking over our shoulder every few feet, but, fortunately, the bear did not follow.
I think we'll invest in some bear spray and a cow bell for our walking sticks for future wilderness adventures.