Reminiscence of a Bear Encounter

posted in: Running, Traveling | 0

 ~ Running in Fear ~

Not the fear of running late for work neither the fear of not breaking a Personal Best
nor the fear given by the Adrenaline of a Bungie Jump
No … ! Death … as simple as It can Be !

Monday 4th of july 2011
– We left Cranbrook BC Canada around 10 am and drove the
Highway direction Pincher Creek on our way Island Lake Lodge,
there into a regional Park that seems to offer spectacular views,
we bifurcated 8 km up from Fernie and reached the Lodge,
informed ourselves about Trails , Weather and Wild lives .

The Baldy Loop
Rating : Moderate-Advanced
Hiking Time : 3-6 hours
Length : 10.5km
Elevation : 1385m ~ 1965m
Access: Begin by completing the Baldy Trail. From the summit,
continue west, following signs for the Baldy Loop.The trail
traverses the summit ridge of Mount Baldy,
before beginning its descent towards Lizard Pass
then follow the Pass Trail back to the lodge.

The Baldy Loop traverses the panoramic summit ridge
of Mount Baldy, with great views of the Bull River drainage, the
Lizard Range and the Cedar Valley. This trail also leads you back
via some of Island Lakes legendary winter ski terrain!

The perfect beautiful and easy RUN … Is it not ?
I put my VFF on, packed my backpack with food and water,
put on my orange OZ Shirt, attached my Bear bell to my belt and we took off.
After an hour or so of uphill running and my wife Miyuki fast walking behind,
I stopped by the ridge waiting for her.
I usually stop every 10~ 15 mn until I start hearing her bell.

Scenery before me:
Astonishing with beautiful Blue sky,
Green Trees down into the peaceful valley … until :
A Big dark slow moving massive fur animal popped up out of behind a couple of trees few meters down near the trail.
I first thought about a Big Deer, a Moose but never expected …
a Grizzly !

We sure asked the lodge receptionist before leaving and they haven’t seen one for a while.
It has been a long W-End here with lot of Hikers.
Technically; bears are shy animals that will walk the other way
when they spot people or hear voices/noises and I always run with a Bright Shirt and a Bell.

According to guides the only reason they attack you is :
if surprised or to protect their Cubs and … Today was Cub’s day !

When the baby turned around, looked at me and stood up on its back Feet, I knew that meant … TROUBLE..
I yelled . Never do that Right … You should keep quiet !
Repeat after me: Shut the Fuck up and remain C.A.L.M !
except that I had to let my wife who was on her way up know the presence of the Grizzly Cub, she would get the message.
” Bear Cub, Bear Cub! Run Down-Dooooooooown ! ”

I started running uphill, shouting ” Dooown Doooown”
The Mum charging behind; I was on the trail,
she came straight up through the rocks and small vegetation ,
I heard wife’s upset whistle confirming that she got my call ( in fact she could see me running up)
I kept running, passed one curb, ran some more and reached as always in the mountain, a bloody U turn meaning:
going back to Mum if she had kept going up ..

I stopped, turned around, pulled out my knife, opened it.
With no one in sight, I took a breath: a SHORT one !
Here! Grizzly mum was now on the trail still running, full speed !
I couldn’t keep going up cause she would outpace me
and couldn’t run that damned trail down back to her :
Bad breath – Big ass … definitely not my type !!!

With no much choices left, I went straight down in front of me ;
jumping between rocks, through dead trees and branches with an opened knife in my right hand …(sic !)
reaching for trees with my left hand trying to keep my balance.
I almost fell, cut myself with some branches, my right foot small toe hitting a big rock.

I was out of breath but not out of words; ” FUCK, FUCK, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK .! ”
She was still behind me; I was scared to death. PERIOD !
Wife’s whistle got louder and louder ..
I was still yelling, it at least meant I was still alive and my wife would realized that.

Fortunately I could make my way back to the trail and I guess that saved my ass.
I took a sharp right and as never before I was happy to see my wife again holding her small Pepper Spray.
She normally is a fast downhill runner but I passed her,
I took the lead with my opened knife, ran down non stop, no looking back, not a single word, no whining.

When entered the lodge reception, the employee asked when seeing me livid as ever :
” Is everything OK ? ”
I reported the incident, we rested, had lunch, took the car and left.

Couple of minutes later while driving, Tears rolling down my face I stopped the car …
I was in the state of Shock !

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… Reminiscence of a Bear Encounter …