We hiked up Hoge Pass the next day, feeling that the weather was about to change. The clouds were breaking up, allowing us to see the magnificent view on the mountains in the heart of the park. At the end of the day, once we reached camp in the middle of the huge Donjek River valley, the Sun was shining and we spread all our wet and damp gear out and before sun down everything was dry again!
The next day, day 4, is the day we reached the Donjek Glacier by following the old horse trail through the forest and the willow. A kilometer or so before reaching the front of the glacier, as we were crossing a small creek bed, we spotted a grizzly bear about 50 meters away from us, sitting down in berry bushes. It was starring at us saying “don’t come any closer”! We cautiously walked around and left the area as quick as possible.
Our heart rates had just come back to normal when we saw a group of four grizzly bears, crossing the dry river bed coming out of the old terminal lake of the glacier. It was a female and her three cubs (probably 2 years old). Luckily for us, we were downwind from them so they did not pick up on our presence until they were far away. By then we had a chance to leave the area without disturbing them, ensuring safety for the group. That was by far the most exciting wildlife observation we had on this backpacking trip!
Camp was not far from where we encountered these bears, and carried away by the excitement of what we just saw and the fact that we made it to the glacier, we came down the hill below camp and went for a swim in the iceberg filled glacial lake!