Running with a bear (in your mind ?…..)

After spending most of the day behind the wheel driving along the magnificent Icefield Parkway

between Lake Luise and Jasper, we managed to check in at a hotel near Sunwapta Falls.

The water of this spectacular waterfall feeds into the Athabasca River which then flows thousands of miles North into the Arctic Sea.

To put in some exercise for the day, I dug out my running shoes and decided to head past the waterfall along a local hiking track.

As I was aware that bears might be around, I took professional advice from Becky from Winchester who was manning the reception as part of a working holiday and got reassurance that it would be unlikely that I would run into one.

To be on the safe side I still took along my trusted bear spray and headed off…..

I felt reassured, when I passed a huge number of tourists at the falls and pressed on, down the well signposted hiking track to cover the 7 km to the first camp site called “The big bend” .

The trail was great, just a bit muddy at places but after a while it became more over grown and I realised that I hadn’t seen anyone for the last 2-3 km…..

Hmmm…..I became a bit uneasy, but as I didn’t want to give up so soon, I started shouting at regular intervals into the forest ahead of me, to warn all (larger) wildlife that I was approaching. Eventually I was in the middle of nowhere with still a couple of kilometers to go, when I thought that this was getting really silly and in fact dangerous……

As I was just about to turn around, there was suddenly someone shouting back just a few hundred meters infront of me and a moment later I passed two girls with back packs who were aiming for the camp site as well to spend the night there. They were much amused about the shouting German tourist in the woods….

Somewhat reassured that I was not alone, I carried on running and was eventually rewarded with the stunning scenery of the “Big Bend”

On my way back, I was again grasping my bear spray and start with my regular shouting and noisemaking but bumped first into another couple of hikers, the a group of another four with a Golden Retriever , who needed reassurance that I was not out of my mind and finally I met a couple with a small child…..

It was a great run, but admittedly, when I arrived back at the hotel, I felt a bit silly and the bear spray disappeared quickly in the boot of the car…..

After an additional evening stroll in the woods near the hotel (this time without the bear spray….), we set off the next morning to drive the remaining few miles to Jasper, when – not more than 200m from the hotel – we past this seemingly hungry fellow…

The bear spray is now back in my running belt and I am again happily shouting my way through the forest while in bear country……

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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