Saturday, November 21, 2009

North to Canada

I thought about heading north to Canada to share some wildlife experiences. One that comes to mind was on a back road in May (1997) with my daughter Erin -- who has spotted more than one bear for me over the years. This young black bear (maybe 250 pounds) was already in the tree eating the buds when we found him. He would pull a branch over to his mouth with his right paw, strip the buds, then release; then use his left paw to pull another branch over. When he couldn't reach any more branches he climbed up the tree a couple more feet. Yes! The tree swayed while climbing. However, once he settled in the swaying subsided. After about an hour -- photographing from all angles (including this one with Mount Robson in the background) a car came by with Japanese tourists. A man and a woman got out of the car, took a couple of pictures and left. He said he had never seen a bear in the wild before. Of course I thought, then why in such a hurry to leave? Maybe he thought bears were everywhere and he would see hundreds of them. I suspect --- based on my own experience -- that he now wishes he had stayed a little longer. After another hour, it started getting dark, so the bear came down the tree, took another look at me from the ground as if to say take a couple of photos of me on the ground, and then just wandered off into the darkness of the woods. In all, about two hours with this bear. Now that's what being in the wild is all about.

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