Here is my favorite marmot, at the Swiftcurrent lookout in GNP:
In 2006, I was adopted by a family of goats at Lake Ellen Wilson in GNP. They followed my every move for the afternoon, evening, and all the next morning. I'm convinced that goats don't sleep, as they were tripping over the guy lines of my Squall 2 all night.
The next morning, they escorted me up Gunsight Pass. They would pass me, wait off the side of the trail for me to catch up, let me get ahead of them, and then come bounding by again. It was like a game to them.
At the pass, I was about to take a photo of Gunsight Lake, where I was headed. Momma goat grunted something about how I needed to take my photo from a different spot. (Lake Ellen Wilson is behind her)
She was right:
So I encouraged her to follow me down the trail to Gunsight Lake. She just grunted, and immediately joined her kids and they all bounded back down to Lake Ellen Wilson. Apparently the pass was the border of their domain, and they were just out for a jaunt, to be sure that I left their turf in proper fashion. Fun stuff...
A week later, I was camping at Kootenai Lakes in the north of GNP. Lots of moose there. In the morning, I was the last hiker to leave the camping area, as I had plenty of time to hike the 2-3 miles back to Goat Haunt to catch my boat ride back to Waterton. I sat on a log on the lake shore, watching a mother moose and her yearling on the other side. All of a sudden she moved directly toward me. I figured she was just going to eat some grass growing in the lake. But she and the yearling kept coming. Back at my campsite my pack was ready to put on. I decided that when she got to the middle of the lake, she would have to swim, which would slow her down and give me time to get to my pack and get out of there. The thing is, that lake was only maybe 2-3 deep in the middle, and she came across quickly. By this time I realized that she felt I was her biggest problem. I hurried back to the campsite, looked for a good tree to maybe climb (there wasn't one), pulled out my 4" Spyderco blade and pepper spray, and prepared to make my feeble stand. When she got to the trail that rings the lake, maybe 50 feet from my campsite, she grunted to her yearling to stop there, and then another, different grunt to instruct her baby to move down the trail away from me. Then she quickly bounded over thick and high deadfall to get right in my face. She grunted all sorts of things, dug at the ground with her front hooves, sprayed moose-spit on me (she was just 15 feet away), and generally let me know that I was about to be dead meat. At that point, I realized my knife and pepper spray might be useless--the spray might just anger her more, goofy as moose are, and about the only good that knife could do is let me slice my own throat to lessen the impending pain. I kept talking to her in sweet, soft tones, and after a few minutes she bagan to settle down. Finally, she let out a loud and forceful "HAR-UMPH," then she abruptly and quickly bounded back over the deadfall to join her yearling. That was the first moose word that I learned, which I think means "There, you sombitch, clean your shorts, get out of here, and tell everybody you see to never, ever come to my lake!" (BPL doesn't accept TIFF images; also, no yearling moose were harmed during this wildlife encounter).
OK, so about 3 weeks after the moose adventure, I was in Yellowstone. I came upon a huge female bison , which was standing right in the middle of the trail, staring at me. There was a steep dropoff to my left, and a serious pile of deadfall to my right behind the thick brush that lined the trail. To give her a wide berth, I had to climb up onto the deadfall, and try to inch my way past her. I was stepping from one 10" log to another, using trekking poles to keep my balance 3-4 feet above the ground. It was tiresome, and also a bit dangerous, as I was concerned about blowing out a knee somehow. After going maybe 50 yards in 20 minutes, I decided I was probably well past her. When I got back to the trail, there she was--looking at me as before. She had followed me, but she got to use the trail. I had no choice but to go back into the deadfall maze and keep doing it. After another 75 yards or so of that slow grunt atop the logs, I had a better view of the trail this time, and it seemed like she wasn't around now, but rather moved away from the trail. I guess she lost interest.
In 2011, I was hiking solo to Iceberg Lake in GNP. There was no one else around, so I made lots of noise and sang my songs. I came to a curved brushy corridor that was maybe 7 feet tall, and I could only see 30-40 feet ahead. That's when I met the griz, face to face. It seemed a little confused, so I talked sweetly and slowly backed up. When I got out of the brush and back to the open trail, I scooted uphill maybe 100 feet until I was pinned by a steep snow field. I waited there, pepper spray in hand. After several minutes, here came the bear, casually ambling down the trail. I kept quiet and just watched it go by.
After it passed, I decided it would be safe to resume my hike in the opposite direction. When I took my first step toward the trail, I saw the first of that bear's cubs. There were 3 of them in all. After they made it past me, I was about to slip in behind them and continue my hike. But one of the cubs got curious and decided to come up to see who/what I was. Mom saw this and kept a very watchful eye on things.
When the cub got to within 40 feet of me I knew I had to do something, and fast. So I started screaming at it. Mom finally let out a low grunt, and the baby did a quick about-face and rejoined the siblings. Then they all moved on down the trail. All's well that ends well.
Last summer, at Cracker Lake in GNP, I had a midnight duty to perform. I found a flat rock, did my business, and got back into my bag. Sometime later, I woke up to what had to be the sound of a griz digging and rooting near my tent. Turned out it was this guy:
He was the campsite's resident goat, getting his human urine however/whenever he can. Like I said, I don't think goats sleep.
Final story: 3 days later, I was at the Morningstar campsite in GNP. I set up my Contrail in late afternoon, and I was the first camper to arrive. I was inside the tent, lying on my stomach head first to fiddle with the pad at the foot of the tent. I heard a huge splash in the lake that I was camped by. I quickly slithered back out to meet this guy:
He decided to come closer to check me out. Not trusting any moose, ever, and despising them all for being so territorial and goofy, I slipped over to the campground's outhouse where I might find some protection. It turned out to be a non-event, and my moose went somewhere else. But there actually were 4 adult males in all, and they all bedded down right on the trail between the tent sites and that outhouse. Nobody used the privy that night, and the guys all chose to rather bait any goats that might be nearby instead.
Sorry for this endless post, folks. I had nothing better to do, since the stock market is so silly today.
(Edit: massive number of spelling/syntax errors)