So, let’s see – where did we encounter those furry cuties…
Thornton Creek Hatchery
For the first one we actually set up a search. When preparing for our Canada vacation I stumbled upon a website listing good spots to encounter black bears. It’s funny that it was me finding this great tip, as my husband does most of the searching and this one actually turned out to be one of the highlights of our vacay…
Anyway, it indicated this spot to be a popular black bear spotting site. Apparently some accidents already occurred with tourists in the past – so they removed the instructions to actually go there, but with GPS that’s not an issue of course. So no, that didn’t stop us. At the end of the day, after having done the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, we drove out to Ucluelet’s inner harbour where we parked the car at the end of the dead-end road and waited for our moment of glory…
Of course, we weren’t the only ones who ran into the website – there were two other couples staring at the water and the forest behind it, with their cameras ready for action. We did the same. Sitting on the small bridge, looking out on the water.
After about half an hour my husband suddenly was pointing his finger at the woods and said he saw something moving. There he was… our first black bear… He was looking along the creek to see what’s happening, only for a few minutes, before he turned back. Ooooh… that was way too short… We tried to catch up on him in the woods at the right side of the bridge, a little uphill, but without success. So we turned back to the bridge, hoping for our furry friend to return.
While waiting some more, we saw salmon jumping up out of the water a few times, which was pretty spectacular all by itself. But of course that wasn’t the reason we were here. We kept (not so patiently) waiting for the main act.
The other couples were starting to give up and headed back to their cars. We almost we’re going to do the same, but thought to check out the woods again. And then suddenly… the bear was back! He was still hungry, trying to get his dinner. He was standing only a few metres away, with only the creek in between us and him. He smelled us and looked us into the eyes, but we kept very still – trying not to make him feel threatened. We stood there for quite some time and watched him sitting down, laying down and continuing his hunting for salmon.
While chasing the fish, he again went to the left, out of the woods, into the broader part of the creek. He didn’t give up, but it wasn’t a great success though… We were delighted, of course! We had a perfect view and couldn’t believe what we were actually witnessing.
This really made up for what we missed in Yellowstone and were so excited! Little did we know that we would see a few of his brothers/ sisters still the coming days…
After hiking the Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park, we drove along to Jasper National Park, to Medicine Lake and afterwards taking the Miette Road to the Miette Hot springs area. Our main purpose was to spot more wildlife! Anything would do. More black bears, of course, but also moose and elk. My husband behind the wheel, keeping an eye on the left of the road and me doing the same at the right side. Who was going to spot something first? I actually had all my bets on my husband as I’m just terrible in these things, but anyway…
When cars are standing still at the side of the road (or even on the road), you can be sure something interesting is going on. So was the case at Medicine Lake. The place was famous for moose and elk. The first time we didn’t see much and continued our search. A few tens of metres further again a car parked along the road, so we stepped out. A guy with binoculars told us there was a moose on the other side of the river. Ok, there we go – camera out and zoomed to the maximum; same with the video camera. After a few minutes we finally saw it – yes, indeed – a moose. But it was still very far and therefore very small to us… But still, we got to see one!
Black Bear N°1
Further along the road my husband suddenly stopped – he had seen a bear on the right. Yes indeed, the right – so my side, actually – what did I tell you? It was climbing higher up in the forest, but didn’t hide before we got a good shot of him. Yes!
Black bear N°2
Not so much further ahead – another one! If my memory serves me well, I think my husband and I saw this one at the same time. It was standing at the left of the road. Another car just stopped in front of us. Click, click, click! Crazy… Then it started crossing the road, just in front of us. OMG!!! We went a little nuts there… camera went in overdrive…
Black bear n°3
And the last one we saw nearly at the end of our “safari” that day, again at the side of the road. We actually saw it twice, once going up and the second one turning back. Ok, we had seen a few of them already with a better viewing angle, but still – amazing to see these guys in their natural habitat.
A great success, that day – that’s for sure!