The Daily Forest Report May 24, 2016: Grizz!

by nielskunze on May 24, 2016

I had just stopped to grab a chunk of fir sap to chew, had scraped the clinging bark from the amber resin, and finally worked it into a proper wad of gum… when suddenly several things happened at once. I reached the crest of a tiny hillock on the trail, gaining a view up ahead; Toby gained the same view at the same time; the bear that we saw ahead on the trail just saw us too; Sitka and Lhasa immediately saw Toby’s reaction… and the chase was on!

It didn’t last long. The blonde bear I’d just seen streaking away ducked under the barbwire fence at the first opportunity. And immediately, once upon the other side, the bear made a very bear-like woof-growl-roar… and the dogs stopped right there. Of course I was yelling at them to “Stop! And come here!”… but I think the bear was much more persuasive than I. The dogs milled about the ‘hole’ in the fence, sniffing at the tufts of fur caught in the barbs, and issuing a chorus of barks without bite.

When I caught up to them, I said “He’s heading straight to the power-line. I bet we’ll see him there.” The dogs were misbelieving and impatient. For the next twenty minutes they learned to respect the intensity in my tone as I continually insisted “Stay close!”… as well as to appreciate my ability to accurately prognosticate.

Grizzly Bum

Grizzly Bum

And there he was! Just like I said. I was pretty convinced already that what I’d seen sprinting away from me and the dogs was a grizzly. Its colouring was too perfect… and it didn’t run like a black bear.

After stopping to pick a few wild strawberries, we had come out to the long clearing under the power-line. When we looked south, there he was!

I'ma Say... Grizzly

I’ma Say… Grizzly

My first grizzly encounter while out walking in the woods! Sure, as a BC motorist, I’ve seen plenty of grizzlies at the side of the highways… but never out in the Forest… while walking. (There’s nothing between that bear and me other than wide open fields and sunshine… oh, and a camera, of course.)

The master of turning within, denning, maximizing internal resources, Grizzly was out in the uncharacteristically lush spring, sharing his dreams with any who would dream along. He dreamed this year of lives lived as druids; Bear is a cultivator of treemind… although he loves especially the open fields among the wooded hills, where flowers and greens and grubs abound… in unfiltered sunshine.

I was at maximum zoom. It was difficult to keep the dogs at heel and hold the camera still enough to completely focus at that distance. We tried to follow closely, as the bear was upwind and traveling upwind– south… but he was sauntering at a bearish pace… and then he disappeared west– the direction of the backcountry.

Wait! Come Back!

Wait! Come Back!

Thus far, we had zigged and zagged and encountered the grizzly twice… and now we were about to zig again…

But alas, we did not meet up again.

Grizzly Track

Grizzly Track

We found some rain-drizzled footprints in the mud. My estimate of about a 400-pound bear seemed reasonable.

That was a good day… a nice adventure. The dogs learned how to behave as a complete team.

The Hidden Heart Shroom

The Hidden Heart Shroom

We do love our Forest adventures!

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