K2inCanada's Blog

May 20, 2018

May Month – Fishing Month

Filed under: Animals, Bears, Canada, Fishing, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 11:15 PM

2018 was a more normal year and the lakes did not ice if till the first weekend of May. Hence we only got two weekends of fishing/camping in so far and we are spending the long weekend at home but that’s for a different post.

May 5/6 weekend we went to our usual spot at Little Pete. The lake was already busy but our spot was still open. The weather was really nice with lots of sunshine, a bit of a breeze and not too cold at all. In fact, I spent my time walking in T-shirt! But the area was still pretty wet. All the ponds and meadows I usually hike to were still under water and it took a lot more bushwhacking than usual. But I did get rewarded with a bear sighting at the far away point, near the lookout. A beautiful and big cinnamon bear was eating grass in the open and I was able to observe him without scaring him for about 20mins until he peacefully wandered off into the forest. Pretty awesome. We did see each other again when I continue on the trail and he came around a hill but he took off right away. Not a good time to be a bear, it is hunting season after all.  When I got back to camp I jumped into my float tube and joined Jeff on the lake. While I walked the tube to the water, I saw 3 deer up the hill which Is still consider part of camp :-). It was already late in the day but I caught a couple fish nonetheless – all small though – but it was nice as the wind finally had calmed down.

The next morning we woke up to water running underneath our tent. It had been dry when we set it up. Luckily we stayed dry inside the tent. During breakfast we got to watch a Red-Tail Hawk hunt in “our” campsite and saw him actually catch a mouse. Very cool. I went for another walk that day but didn’t really get to see anything but birds until I got back to camp. The deer were back up on the hill – 4 of them. I love it when the wildlife around you just behaves as if you were just part of the scenery. Great trip! The highlight though was seeing a Great Grey Owl on our drive out via Douglas Ranch Road.

May  12/13 weekend we ended up at Blue Lake. Although we started out trying to find Gordon Lake up near Chattaway Lake resort. Our “broken” Topo map all sudden worked again and so we headed out into the unknown trying to find the lake. I think we got close but never saw the lake. And luckily didn’t get stuck either despite trying many little dirt tracks to find in. at the end of one of those we turned the truck of and went for a short walk to see if we could see the lake. We did see another road that may lead to it but could not be reached from where we were. Okay – turn around an try again. At that point though our Topo map failed us again and without it we hardly made it out of the bush. So after wasting 2 hrs trying to find this lake we finally gave in and just headed to Blue Lake, another hr of driving…. Jeff was not happy spending half of Sat in the truck. On top of that, when we finally reached Blue our usual camp spot was busy – like really busy. But lucky for us the opposite end was still open. Jeff was on the water in 10min while I set up camp and went for a walk first. It was incredibly hot and I went for quite a long walk but did not get to see any wildlife that day. Discovered a few new water ponds though around the Little Blue area and there were lots of tracks from deer to moose to bear! Worth exploring again – maybe on a less hot and bright sunny day :-). But the worst part of this day – my beloved super zoom camera died that afternoon. Zoom got stuck and with AF stopped as well. RATS.

 

The next day I mostly spent fishing and it was great. Nice 18inch trout quite frequently. Jeff found the secret spot and we fished next to each other for over 2hrs. Off course he out-fished me 5 to 1 but that’s okay :-). Just went for a short walk before we headed back home (so I could get ready for my trip to Belgium the next day) and saw fresh bear poop and prints in a snow patch. Never got to see the bear and I was running out off time.

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April 23, 2018

Share the trails – Earth Day Hike

Filed under: Bears, Canada, Hike — K2 in Canada @ 9:27 PM

Sunday afternoon “hike” in Minnekhada Regional Park in Port Coquitlam. A great way to spent a sunny, 16C day when the body is too tired to go for a paddle. It’s by no means a challenging hike, more a stroll through the woods but this park is known for its bear sightings. Last time we were here, we scared a mom and her cub off the trail. So this time I was hoping but not really expecting to see a bear. It’s a busy little park and there are quite a few people around. But we did see a bear – two actually. Mama bear and her year old cub. They were coming down the trail we were walking up. So we stepped aside to let them pass, talking to them so they knew we were there. They did not seem to care much about us. While mama bear gave us a bit of space when passing us and got about 5m off the trail, the cub, a skinny tall guy, was coming right at us. He was so close, I could have petted his head. Mama bear was not too impressed about juniors behaviour and huffed at him and us since were so close together. The cub knew the huff and bolted up a tree as if he was getting shot at. We were standing less than a few meters away from mom who could have reached us in a single leap, talking to her calmly. Mama bear just looked as us like saying “Kids these days”. We didn’t want to stick around for the family drama to unfold and walked slowly away from the bears. No more huffing from mom. Junior came down the tree and, to our utter surprise, started following us rather than going into the direction they were on before our encounter. Mama bear was shaking her head but followed him. Our guess, someone must have fed the little guy before and he was hoping for something. He showed no aggression at all. We just continued on our way at normal pace, ignoring the cub. As we rounded a corner and lost sight of them behind us, Junior must have lost interest as well. We did not see him again. Weird behaviour for a bear but overall a peaceful encounter. We hiked for another couple hours, up some knoll with a great view over the valley. Really a fun little park. We never got to see the cougar, as the signage had promised though :-).

We rewarded ourselves with BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Copper Ale at the Gillnetter Pub, watching the Fraser flow by. It felt like the perfect weekend!

December 12, 2017

Stunningly Beautiful!

Filed under: Bears, Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:53 PM

I know, I am way behind with my posts but I had to share this. Stunningly beautiful images of bears – black or white both amazing. I just love bears!

October 13, 2017

Bear encounters

Filed under: Animals, Bears, Canada — K2 in Canada @ 6:41 AM

This story takes place a couple weekends ago. Naturally, after seeing a bear up at Cypress on my birthday I had to go back the next weekend. A beautiful sunny day. I didn’t really expect to see the bear. Near the top I hung out with 3 grouse that tried to “hide” in the fall colours right off the trail. Pretty cool.

 

And when I got down to the meadows where birthday bear was last weekend, I counted myself very lucky to actually see him again. At least I think it was the same bear in pretty much the same spot as the birthday bear! This time I had a bit better view of him too. He was munching away on berries probably not even noticing me standing 100m away watching him. Unfortunately, it did not take long until more hikers were coming down the trail behind me, talking. The bear did not care. I pointed the bear out to the group of 3 guys but instead of peacefully continue on their way, they started to make a lot of noise while passing me. Clapping their hands, talking even louder. Yeah, I know, folklore says you should make noise in bear country. Personally I hate bear bells. I rather keep my eyes and ears open. And this bear was far off the trail, not paying too much attention to his surrounding other than the blueberries in front of him, putting on fat for the winter. The loud noise though got his attention pretty quick and he bolted into the bush. Idiots, I thought. Idiot, they probably thought for me watching the bear silently. Off they disappear down the trail ahead of me. Shortly after I hear the guys yelling “watch out, there is another bear right here” and they made even more noise and, stupid, started running. I carefully continued down the trail expecting that that other bear would have left because of the noise as well. But not so. I came face to face with a quite agitated looking mama bear and her young cub not wanting to surrender their nice blueberry patch whatsoever. And that patch was right along the trail – 20m distance between us. I stopped to analyze the situation in plain view. The cub was up the tree when I first saw them and mama was looking back and forth between me and the 3 noisy guys I could no longer see. Great I thought. Not only did they scare away the friendly bear, no they left me with a quite pissed off mama bear. The cub climbed down the tree while I tried to figure out what to do. I expected them to walk off into the bush. But then mama bear took a charge back at the tree, huffing, in the direction off where the 3 guys disappeared. The little guy didn’t know what to do other than staying close to mom and go up that tree again. It was a bit scary for a moment but neither bear showed aggression towards me. I calmly talked to them. Mama bear was watching me and obviously listening to me telling her no good would come out of her chasing a hiker up here. She finally relaxed and after a few more seconds relented the area and walked off into the bush. Her cub close behind. It took a couple minute for my heart rate to come down again.

 

I do see black bears on my hikes and walks quite frequently but this was definitely the closest encounter I have had to date. Most other times the bears take off as soon as they hear, see or smell me. This was different. My read on this, the bear became agitated because of the extensive noise and the running of those 3 guys ahead of me. If they would have just walked by her, she probably would have stayed calm and continued eating. If I wouldn’t have alerted them to the first bear, they might have walked right by the 2nd without noticing it. But that’s all speculation off course. Female bears with cubs can be quite protective and I usually do not hang around to watch them this close. I guess I could have backed off rather than stand my ground but my gut feel told me to stay put. I am glad this turned out the way it did. I neither want to endanger myself or the bears!

You can judge me all you want but I will continue sharing nature with all the wildlife there is. I will stick to my philosophy to watch my surrounding, observe but not threaten any animals I see. I get just as excited about seeing deer or grouse or chipmunks as I do about seeing a bear or bobcat. I was back doing the same hike again the next weekend. Mostly sunny after a rainy Saturday and even busier with people but I again got to see a bear. I felt extremely lucky. This time I think it was a different bear, higher up at the top of the mountain. He saw me coming from a long way off and meandered slowly into the trees, stopping here and there to nibble on a few more blueberries along the way. None of us felt threatened – both of us continued on with what we love. Me enjoying a beautiful fall hike – the colours are just short of amazing and no pictures do them justice. Him eating to prepare for winter.

Most bear encounters end like mine. You just very rarely hear about those – not sensational enough I guess. Here is another story that ended well for all: https://blog.thedyrt.com/adventure/survive-a-grizzly-bear/

October 8, 2016

September Hiking = Bear Watching

Filed under: Animals, Bears, Canada, Hike — K2 in Canada @ 10:40 PM

As the days are getting shorter so do my hikes and I stay in the local mountains. I hike the top while Jeff roller skis up the road. But that does not mean I am on my own. There are quite a few more people around obviously but I was also lucky to see bears on 2 out of my 3 hikes on Cypress last month. They come out of the bush to fatten up on the nice grass growing on the ski slopes.

First encounter was on Sep 12. A beautiful sunny day and I hiked up Mount Strachan, a much less busy trail compared to the Howe Sound Crest Trail, coming down the ski run to Eagle Chair lift. Two girls coming up warned me about the 2 bears they saw hiking up. One just around the corner. So I slowly continued on hoping it was still there. And I was lucky. A young bear judging by the size. Not sure why he had picked that spot. There seemed to be more rock than grass on that slope but he was happily munching away. I watched him till he reach the other side of the slope when he finally saw me. Didn’t seem to scared as he slowly wandered off into the bush. Unfortunately I did not see bear number 2 when I continued hiking down even though I payed extra attention. By the way, the views from Mt Strachan are really nice and it’s only an hour up, if that.

Second encounter happened on Sep 18 which was even more special to me. I hardly got the hike started, walking up the ski run this time when I spotted the bear right at the bottom of the bunny hill. Close to where all the people walk by – not many spotting the bear. This bear was bigger and I think a female. She looked very healthy. Ready for a winter of sleeping and giving birth to another generation of Cypress bears. I was wondering if she could have been the mom of the two cubs I saw on Cypress last year. Anyhow, she did not seem concern about the people and I was happy to see that everyone who spotted her stayed on the trail rather than trying to get closer. She was just beautiful. I almost did not do my hike but eventually I decided to leave her alone and get a bit of exercise. Only had time for a”quick” up and down the ski run as Jeff would be up meeting me at the car in an hour. Well I did take a detour going up towards Hollyburn for a bit. On the way down I ran into paddling buddy Sean and his wife and we walked down together. I didn’t expect the bear to still be there but she was. Sean and his wife were a bit more anxious about it and stayed behind me while watching  for a bit. Sean knows I ran slower than him :-). Now the sun was out in full force as well and I could not take my eyes off her. Needless to say Jeff had been waiting for a while. But when I told him there was a bear right at the bottom, we both went back and watch her for some more time. A very special day!!!

The last hike in September, Sep 24, we didn’t see a bear. Maybe because Jeff was actually hiking with me. We took the Baden Powell trail east until it joined the Hollyburn Mtn trail and followed it to the top. It was a overcast cloudy day and no views from the top. We crossed the top and were lucky to find the trail that connected with Mount Strachan and the ski runs. It was pretty steep down but in pretty good conditions. Bushy in sections which meant we were soak from wet bushes rubbing against our pants. Could be a nice round trip on a sunny day. Coming down the ski run being wet and no bear sightings made it a bit less fun :-).

And if you still don’t have enough of looking at bear pictures, here is a video of the two encounters above as well as one I took in the spring of Blondie (one of many posts I still have to do on our spring fishing adventures this year):

 

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