One of the hikes we wanted to do on our recent trip to Kananaskis was Chester Lake.
On our first attempt, heavy rains at the trail head, and socked in weather made it a no go. On our second attempt the weather was perfect. Sunny and warm, but not too hot.
As we neared the lake, we entered the final large open area on the right (those who have been there will know what I am talking about). Spotted a male grizzly about 400 metres away. He got wind of me, stood up on his hind legs to get a better scent, then started off paralleling the trail. He was moving a a very good pace. He stopped again about 150 metres out, stood up again, then started in our direction.
I turned to my hiking partner to tell her that it was time to back out, while trying to keep an eye on the bear, but she had already bugged out.
I started blowing my whistle - a couple of toots and a few "yo bears" repeated several times. As I backed down the trail, I finally came to my partner who was a few hundred metres away. She had met up with a couple of ladies from the lower mainland, and was convinced that I was being mauled by the bear. After getting her calmed down, the four of us grouped togther and completed the hike around the lake without further incident (thank you Paula and Janet) !
I don't know what the bears' intentions were - getting a good sniff on what I was, or have me for lunch, but it is an encounter that will stick with me for some time.
We did meet other hikers, who were unaware of the bears' presence, so we passed on a "heads up". We also passed on the information to the "bear reporting line" at the interpretive centre.
Any time I am in the back country, situational awareness is of the utmost importance !!