Things that happen when you live in Alberta

Awesome moment: Seeing a bear cub in the wilderness.

Not so awesome moment: Seeing a bear cub in the wilderness, blocking my way back to my car, while I’m alone and a good half an hour away from civilization and phone reception.

I was hiking from Jasper townsite back to my car (which was parked much higher), thinking about stuff and minding my own business. Then suddenly, to my right, not 2 feet from me was a bear. It was smaller than most bears I’ve seen, so it was probably a youth. It was eating stuff on the ground. Either it didn’t hear me or didn’t care about me because it didn’t even look up.

I remember my thoughts clearly “Baby bear. Not good. Where do I go? I need to get back to my car but if there’s a bear here, I don’t know if the mother is further down the path. Don’t run.

I spun around and backtracked, walking as fast as I could.

The bear just ignored me and kept eating.

When I’d reached a safe distance it dawned me: People would want pictures! The thought of me rummaging through my backpack for my camera in front of a baby bear made me smile. From then on, I carried my camera out, just in case…

The strange part of the story is that I can’t remember what the bear looked like. When I try to picture the meeting in my head, the bear is really, really small. “Maybe it was a beaver, not a bear.” (As if I couldn’t tell the difference between a beaver and a bear! Not to mention that we were quite a distance from water.) “Maybe it was a log and not a bear

It had taken me a couple of seconds to decide that this bear was a baby. Therefore it was almost full grown, not small at all. I’m not one to jump at shadows, so I know it was a bear. Yet my visual memory can’t picture the scene. The images it gives me are just random extrapolations of what I was thinking during the encounter.

Isn’t it funny how memories work?

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2 Responses to Things that happen when you live in Alberta

  1. jorge says:

    Its nice that mr bear didn’t consider you interesting enough so you could tell us all about your adventure. Thanks for sharing your hike.

    • Ophelie says:

      Hehe bears will usually leave you alone unless they’re protecting babies (hence why I wasn’t impressed at meeting a cub) or they’re startled.

      I was actually worried about startling this one, but oddly enough he didn’t seem to hear me. I beat it out of the area ASAP, though, before he looked up and got scared!

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