Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Canadian Bears: Day 4
I spent ten days backpacking through the back-country of Banff and Jasper with my good friend, Jared, and the only bear we saw was a speck on the horizon. Today we woke up early with fairy dust in the air; our destination: the Columbia Icefield. We stopped to see Peyto Lake which was well worth the short hike. Afterward we spotted our first black bear. Tonya was screaming and we were all frantic trying to find our cameras. He was walking along the road and walked within a few feet of the car, needless to say we were fumbling around. Soon a large crowd gathered to watch him. The bear was only feet away and fortunately for the cows (crowds) it was busy eating dandelions.
Before we made it to Icefield we spotted another huge grizzly. Taylor and I were determined to get a good picture. Our last encounter left us thinking bears are docile. We were dangerously close when the grizzly rose onto his hind feet. I quickly looked around to see if I could outrun the guy in front of me and then the grizzly jumped into shrubs, turned and sprinted off. He was obviously chasing a small chipmunk or something, I was just glad it wasn't us after seeing the speed of these magnificent creatures.
The drive to the Colombia Icefield was beautiful. The glaciers were incredibly mysterious and awe inspiring. On the way back we spotted another black bear. In Banff we took a tram to the top of the mountain but by then I was exhausted, unlike those who I had napped along the way.