An autumn evening in Denali National Park; the tundra hills cloaked in a brilliant mosaic of gold, amber, and purple; a dusting of fresh snow on the high peaks. From the nearest ridge comes a clatter of tumbling rocks…and the source becomes quickly, startlingly clear.
A grizzly bear—excavating the hillside like a long-clawed backhoe. Nose to the earth, the bear seems oblivious to everything except the freshening scent of his prey—an arctic ground squirrel deep inside a stony burrow. The grizzly's massive shoulder muscles ripple beneath his dense coat of light tan fur; his body heaves up and down; his stocky hind legs brace against the slope.
Then a tiny squirrel bursts out from the fracas with the enormous bear inches from its tail. The air is alive with sounds of thudding paws and huffing breaths…but within seconds everything falls silent. Suddenly still, the grizzly peers down into a burrow, as if he's deciding whether to give the lucky squirrel a reprieve or dig again. Then he turns, rumbles a short ways along the slope, rolls back on his enormous haunches, and stares off toward the distant northern sunset.