Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Search Of Kermode Bear


Here I am checking my tourist guide to see what kind of exotic wildlife I can expect to find in Canada.

While on the BC Ferry that took us from Prince Rupert to Vancouver Island, a guide sent a ripple of excitement through those of us gathered to hear his talk when he declared that the day before, on this very same route, a Kermode bear was spotted catching salmon on Prince Royal Island.

He said sightings of this bear, often called the spirit bear by Native Americans because its often white fur caused it to resemble a ghost, were so rare that he compared seeing it to seeing the Loch Ness Monster.

Our ferry slowed down as it approached Prince Royal Island so we could all get a good look. But . . . nothing. Figures. We saw precious little wildlife during our two-weeks on the road--a deer here, an antelope there, a few small black bears that we drove by too quickly to get a picture.

About the only time Wendy would get her nose out of the book she was reading while I drove was when we passed an "elk crossing" or "moose crossing" sign. As Wendy complained later, we passed those signs for thousands of miles without encountering a single, verifiable elk or moose.

I even drove us to the wild rainforest of the Pacific Rim National Park Preserve where only a week or so before a cougar had mauled a camper. The literature I picked up at the park office warned that wildlife encounters could include wolves, bears and cougars.

These pamphlets advised what to do if we should encounter a wild animal. Rather confusing though. We had to figure out whether the animal was activing defensively or in a predatory manner, before figuring out how to react to defend ourselves.

If the bear is defensive, I needed to appear non-threatening. If the bear is predatory, I needed to "try to intimidate the bear." Yeah, right. Intimidate a grizzly? Like that's gonna happen. BUT . . . I did bring my air horn. I've had one for years but never used it. Come to find out, it's the defense of choice in many of these wild animal encounters.

Alas, I never had occasion to use it. I even slept with it when we camped in a tent once. Forgot about the horn until we were unpacking the mini-van in Wyoming and something pressed against it, sending a blast through the motel parking lot. Scared Wendy who was helping me unpack a few feet away. It also startled another motel guest who was leaning over his second floor railing observing goings-on below. He looked at ME like he'd just seen the Loch Ness monster.

Yeah, that's right. Better not mess with us Michiganders. We're prepared.

6 Comments:

Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Do you think that years ago, maybe fifty years ago, there were lots of animals to be seen and these days there are so few? I know you and Wendy would have liked to see wild animals on your trip. But Wendy did get the picture of the wild animal looking at the tourist guide book.
I enjoyed the part about the air horn.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--I thought we would see more. We see more deer in our neighborhood than we did throughout the west. Don't know if it's cars, hunters, or what.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

you were prepared Dave. I wouldn't even know where to find an air horn!
on a sad note-Our beloved Lab Sunshine passed on Sunday. many tears are being shed this week.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--Sorry to hear about your dog. From all your pet stories, it's obvious that they're really a part of your family.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Well,lots of excitement
during your trip if a lack of wild animals. Glad you took the air horn
but I hope you both enjoyed some of the two weeks.
I am glad you enjoyed the Curtain Rods story and when you got home you
found the sunflowers. I think maybe the wind or birds spread the seed.

Or just maybe you ARE a better gardener when you are gone.
Have a great week. Regards, Merle

4:20 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Hey, at least the guy didn't jump the rail when the horn sounded. LOL!

2:05 PM  

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