Absaroka TIM Dispatches from the field 11/11 Elk Fork

By Dave Showalter

I joined Cody resident Justin Hawkins for a hike above the Elk Fork, a stream the feeds the North Fork of the Shoshone River. This is Justin’s home field – he supervises the forest campgrounds along the North Fork. We ducked out of the howling wind and ascended a thin trail on snow through the forest, following fresh grizzly tracks the whole way. We never saw the bears, but experienced the exhilaration of hiking with the great bears. The sow and cub probably watched us pass from a thicket. We rose to this 8,000 foot overlook and absorbed views of the snow-capped Absaroka Range, a wild and vital range in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Both the bear tracks and expansive views give a sense of just how much freedom to roam is needed for a fully functioning ecosystem.