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.