My thoughts and experiences cycling, snowboarding and travelling around the world
This is Boo the Grizzly Bear looking fairly nonchalant against a tree (no it is not a man in a suit and yes I had a good zoom lens!). These are my pictures from another trip but my scary bear story starts, summer 2012 in Fernie, BC.
I had seen quite a few bears so far that summer, a few black bears and a few Grizzlies however one encounter was a bit different.
I started pushing my bike up the trail in the provincial park outside Fernie and near the top a loud crashing came from the bushes to my right. I was on my own and was a bit startled, I made lots of noise and warned whatever it was, that I was there and luckily it seemed to move away. Then from in front of me the loudest roar I had ever heard came from further up the single track. I foolishly had no bear spray with me, I was greeted by a full grown grizzly bear charging me and still roaring loudly. I remember noting the rippling muscle of its huge bulk as it sprint towards me so fast for such a large animal. I thought stand my ground, move my bike in front and be big. I stretched to my full height and shouted ‘away, away’. It slowed and stopped about 30 feet away. Just a bluff charge I thought, phew, I’ll back away and all will be good. Then it proceeded to stand on its hind legs and roar again, bears are quite tall on their hind legs I think about 8ft tall but certainly enough to freak the life out of me, it then lowered as if to charge one more time, forget this I thought and swung my bike around and with a running jump launched downhill. I knew the trail well and as the bear gave chase I focused on going fast and getting out of there.
After analyzing the incident I think the first noise I heard was cubs and I had managed to get in between them and their mum. Making loud noises probably antagonized the bear but I think it was the right decision to get out of there! Grizzlies can run up to 45 mph,
which is deceptively fast so fleeing really is only possible on a bike and in an extreme situation. It is quite common for them to bluff charge in such a situation but to give charge again in such aggressive manner and then give chase is pretty unusual. It took a while to get back on the bike on my own. I never did ride that trail again, especially as the week after a local guy came across two cougars halfway down!