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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-22-2002, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2001
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Default The Bears are awake !

Okay so here is my outdoor tale for today .
I awoke to grey skies and thought today I should get moving and hit the trails , but where to go ... ? decided on Cypress Falls after a check of the Vancouver Sky Cam .... so far my holidays have not been too good weather wise .
The first thing I saw after parking was a sign
" Bears sighted in the park " . The second thing was BEAR POOP on the road ... er I mean scat ( hiker term ) , but that was okay . After all I had my bear banger and my industrial can of pepper spray, a knife as sharp as my wits and if all else failed a peanutbutter/honey flavoured power bar . We all know bears love honey right ? So into the bush I went . It was a lovely day and the trail was devoid of people . The trip to the falls was uneventful . I reached the view point and snapped off a few pictures . Now being the adventurous photographer that I am . I spotted a trail on the far side of the canyon ( yes the dangerous side ) that would afford me with a better shot of the falls .
The trail was narrow , wet, and the rocks were covered in moss . A sheer drop to the rocks over 50m below ( certain death awaited ) ... needless to say I was very , very careful getting down . I found a little place to stand on and took what I hope will be a very good ... no great ... photo .
I started my climb back up when all of a sudden I had a quick sense of movement ahead of me . I froze , there ahead of me on the wide part of the trail was the most beautiful bear I have ever seen . It's coat was smooth and had a very high gloss to it . It was about 150lbs and looking at me with what I can only say was curiosity . Maybe it had just woken up from a long sleep , but it looked to be well fed ... not on hikers I hoped .
What to do ? I could not go back down . There was no where to go , the trail stopped in a shear drop a few feet from where I was . I reached for the pepper spray and to my surprise it turned and ducked into the bush . I took a few steps more and he / she popped it's head out . Shit ! I stopped and lit a smoke to figure this one out . The bear was sniffing the air . I was hoping this wasn't a non smoking bear they are the worst kind . I slowly brought up my 35mm camera to take a picture , a quick check of the counter revealed I was out of film . Double Shit !! .... Wait I had my point and shoot camera in my backpack . I reached for it and again the bear ducked back into the woods ahead of me .... hummm a few short minutes out it popped again . All the time just sitting there checking me out . Cocking it's head one way and then the other you know kinda like a dog does . It was not aggressive the hair was not standing up , the ears were up , it wasn't licking it's chops , it wasn't coming any closer . This was not predatory behaviour nor was it a territorial one . Maybe the dam thing wanted something to eat ! .... What to do . I stood up it ran in the bushes . I sat down it came out . I reached for a camera or my knife it ran for the bushes . I lit another smoke ( glad I decided to buy a pack today ) and the stupid bear sit's down and starts to lick itself . At this point it hit me . This bear was very comfortable with the fact I was on his trail and once he was sure I was not going to hurt him he decided to clean up from a days work of rooting in the forest .
I must admit I was very nervous but at the same time in wonder at this incredible sight before me . What would you do in a case like this ?
Reach into the back of your hiking shorts for a handful of natural bear repellent ? Run , scream , yell ??? Jump over the edge and take your chances on the rocks and water below ? Offer the bear the peanutbutter/honey power bar ? ( remember the sign " A fed Bear is a Dead Bear "... well it was getting cloudy and it started to look like rain so I slowly reached for my bear banger and let it off overhead . The sound was deafening as it echoed on the canyon walls . The bears eyes were as big as saucers and it took off into the bush at warp speed .
I headed out out the trees right after it .
Now that's not the end of my tale . The most dangerous part of the whole day and where I was really in fear of my life was on the drive home . The bear had delayed my trip and it was now Rush Hour on the upper levels hwy . Dam Bears !
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things !

No trail is long with good company.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-22-2002, 11:17 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Langley, BC, Canada.
Interest: Hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, photography, computers, yoga and traveling.
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Holy! That's quite the story! I guess you can attest to the Bears in Park sign.. <img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle> Did you ever get a photo of the bear?

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-23-2002, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2001
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Nope the little guy was long gone . It might have been for the best , my point and shoot had slow film in it . Seeing as how the trail was a bit on the dark side the flash would have went off not to mention that silly little red light ( to rid the shot of red eye ) and this may have triggered the eating responce !!!My 35mm is loaded with 400+asa. This was suppost to be the year I spend on wildlife photography . Yup ... we are off to a good start !
Also found out why he/she was so low . I drove up to the top of Cypress , the snow pack is still heavy ... very few hikers to scare .

No trail is long with good company.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-23-2002, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
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If the bear was only 150 lb he was just a yearling. He probably did never see a creature that walked up right like you before. He was not making a meal plan he was tring to see if you are friend of foe. The best thing to do was what you did, observe.

What the bears specialists say now is that we have to make the bears afraid of humans again. For a cenury any time anybody saw a bear it was shoot now ask questions latter. Bears became afraid of people. Now we are passive and try and lurk around them. We need to show the bears that we are not affraid of them and make noise, yell clap your hands, bang rocks to gether and stand your ground.

The bears that scare me the most is when I see a small cub, I know moma is not far and she will not tolerate anyone near her baby(s). In this case try and see if you can spot momma bear and give her lots of room. See if you can find a way around where she is feeding. I know some trails it is straight up or straight down on either side. Just give her some time she will move on. She knows you have been there. The next scary bear is a big boar. Generaly they have teritory established and they will not let anyone trespass with out a fight. If you find that a big bear is rushing you the specialists say to make noise and run towards the bear (you can't out run him why run away?) get close and growl back it might make him think twice, besides you have to be close for pepper spray to work.

Treat bears with respect, but don't be afraid of them. We like to observe deer and are not afraid of them. Like the deer once the bear knows you are there he will run away 99% of the time.

I should mention that these methods are recommended for black bears, grizzly bears require a different tactic. Give the bear lots of room. If you encounter a griz and it charges, the best method of defence is play dead or bend over, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass good bye. <img src=icon_smile_dead.gif border=0 align=middle> Grizzly bears like the alpine and for the most part they can be viewed from a long distance. Giving the hiker time to make a plan and avoid contact.


May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

- Edward Abbey

Edited by - kenkeknem on 05/23/2002 8:54:12 PM
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-23-2002, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for the info, kenkeknem
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