Bear witness: Canada’s grizzly offering

By Justin Walker | July 23, 2012

Want to see bears up close? Forget the zoo, pack your bags and head to British Columbia.

A MALE GRIZZLY BEAR has an estimated top speed of 48km/h. This is disconcerting, but more so is the fact that it can cover the old 100-yard dash in six seconds. Even if I take into account the likely jolt of adrenaline my muscles will receive if pursued by said bear, that is still faster than I can run. Why are these thoughts in my head? Because I am on foot in prime grizzly bear territory: Canada’s British Columbia (BC).

My companion is a diminutive British PhD student, who is half my weight but hopefully slower than I am. Our only hope of discouraging bears lies in plaintive cries of “Hey bear, hey bear” and a seemingly too-small can of bear spray. Strike fear into a grizzly? I don’t think so…

The forest we are in is part of the southern section of the Great Bear Rainforest National Park, and is densely treed with plenty of bear hiding places. It is a world away from life as I know it and the possibility of a bear encounter transports me further from the last vestiges of civilisation. In this case, the sublimely located Knight Inlet Lodge that floats on the waters of Glendale Cove. Skip back four days and it is here that I first step into the world where the wild things are.

For the full article go grab your copy of Australian Geographic Outdoor Sept/Oct 2012.