Samsun last summer we spent a long time up in Canada. British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies are worth seeing and we wanted to head up to Banff National Park too. WE also stayed in Calgary as well during their famous Calgary Stampede. You may want to research this event Samsun as it gathers people from all over the world COWBOY style. YEEHAW. The longest stay was in Fernie with their many hiking and mountain biking trails and expert chocolate maker at the Beanpod. Now about that bear!

First off we put our household items in storage in Sandpoint, Idaho and headed up through Cranbrook, BC and guess what! Cranbrook is known for Grizzly bears. AND EVEN MORE THEY HAD RECENT NEWS REPORTS OF GRIZZLY BEAR ATTACKS. We found lodging for 1-3 nights at off season ski mountains exploring the trails and enjoying the wild flowers, I really love the white mountain daisy’s like you picked for your mom recently. WELL listen to this Samsun the Kimberley Alpine Resort had some unusual recent activity.

Just a few weeks before our arrival a news update was issued. WATCH OUT for wounded Grizzly bear wandering between the Kimberley and Fernie areas. Now these were the EXACT areas we did the most hiking!

Jared and I took Angus Alexander (our golden mountain dog) out for his evening walk. Dogs can sometimes lead to bear trouble and on certain trails they advise you to hike in groups and leave the dogs at home. Angus is big and black so people often confuse Angus with a bear on the trails. In one day alone he frightened over 3 different groups of people on the trails up at Schweitzer this last month. But no one can confuse a brown Grizzly bear for Angus.

While out that evening we heard a little dog wearing a bell and thought how unique people put bells on their dogs here. NO it wasn’t just the nice jingle telling you where your “best friend” ran off too IT WAS a tactic used to alert the bears. By the way the experts say it makes bears curious and they don’t associate the sound with humans. So you are better off to yell and clap and in general make noise while you hike. And always carry a bear deterrent. AND never hike alone in bear county. As we hiked further up the ski hill Jared with his keen distance sight saw HIM. The biggest and only GRIZZLY bear I’ve ever seen in the wild. He looked bigger than the whitebark pine trees that grow only on the highest points of the mountain at the ski hill in Kimberley. You should know the seeds from the whitebark pine are good source of Grizzly bear and cub food. Which means where there is food for a GRIZZLY there is most likely a GRIZZLY. They have a lot of eating to do. HE HAD A WIDE GIRTH which is a polite way of saying he had plenty of food to bulk up on. He was busy foraging and did see us, THANK YOU JESUS. HE had his sights on his next attempt at a large caloric intake, in other words a really satisfying meal. This is when I thought to myself. Angus, Jared and I COULD BE FOOD. I lost my interest in exploration and began to pick up speed to head back to the mountain lodge. Now you should know you aren’t advised to run from a bear. You are to stand your ground and be prepared to use a bear deterrent. Which is a response I’m working on.

Angus had no idea about the bear and was happily following his nose around the mountain without any concern for that GRIZZLY. Now Samsun what would you do?

Jared seemed content to admire this massive predator, but not me. I had seen enough. I had ample adrenaline for the return trip back to safety. And Angus and Jared followed reluctantly.

While in the Canadian Rockies bear news kept on tracking with us our entire time in BC and even in Alberta.

Samsun I didn’t think it would be dangerous to see bears in July IN TOWN. But I was WRONG. The week we arrived in Canmore a town near Banff National Park and Lake Louise and Moraine, a bear was spotting running into a restaurant of the town. You may want to watch the news video, here.

Bears were everywhere. Bears on the trails. Bears on the ski hills. Bears in the town. So we bought some bear spray. And with prayer and some boldness we kept going out into bear country. We hiked the Mount Fernie Trail which has some beautiful flowers the rare Rocky Mountain Aster which is purple as well as the fire red and pink Indian Paint Brush to name a few. It also is a steep vertical gain of 3,041 feet with a good rock scramble near the top. During the hike I was lagging behind trying to get a photo of these beauties when the bushes below began to move. All the bear news shot straight to my legs and I began to run uphill on a tough climb. I ran and ran till I caught up with Jared and Jonah. They looked at me with laughter. Red faced and flushed with adrenaline and a heart pounding fury I arrived. Trying to explain and catch my breath was difficult as Jared said I never looked more alive. AND YES ALIVE is what I was going for, hahaha. The rest of the hike I stayed rather close to Jared as he was packing the bear spray.

Dare to dream of bear encounters and all the exploring you will do in the future. Love Char

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