On Saturday I was up in the Grandchild Peaks area (the peaks between Mt.
McGinnis/Stroller White and the Herbert Glacier). There are still big areas
of snow, but there are also wonderful alpine flowers on the open ridges. I
saw at least 15 different species of flowers in bloom, and there were
probably more that I'd forgotten by the time I got home and wrote my list down.
Carrying mountaineering gear took precedence over carrying binoculars, but
we still identified some birds above tree line, including Rosy Finch,
American Pipit, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Rufous Hummingbirds. We saw one
very young family of Rock Ptarmigan with six or eight tiny chicks. We
watched a Bald Eagle swoop down from a ridge where it was perched, catch
something on the ground, and carry it away. We couldn't see well enough to
know if it was a ptarmigan or perhaps a young hoary marmot that it caught,
but that was the general size.
We saw very fresh wolf tracks, made within the last few hours. We also saw
mountain goat tracks and bear tracks. Hoary marmots were the only mammals
that we saw.
I found a scrap of skin covered with thick, black-tipped brown,
two-inch-long fur. It was just above tree line, with bear scat nearby. Can
anyone tell me where I might take it for identification?