We awoke in Telegraph Cove very early in the morning, anticipating what lay ahead for us. This day had been in the plans for months on end, and in some ways it felt strange to find ourselves readying for the adventure that was about to unfold. We knew that we would be moved beyond our wildest expectations if the encounters proved true, but what we didn’t appreciate at the time was how personally profound the experience would be. After all, how could we anticipate how it would feel once we were immersed in the natural landscapes and beauty of the west coast of Canada, a land that is rugged and untamed, and a land that the mighty Grizzly Bear calls home to.
The morning fog slowly gave way to an amazing day as we boated our way up Knight Inlet. Slowly the sun began to push the fog out of the still inlet and the features and landscapes began to emerge in the bright light of day. Our first encounter, the beginning of what was to become a day that we will never forget, found us in awe as we observed Bella and her three cubs on the shore. Our boat came to a quick halt as the sighting began to unfold, and we stood in awe on the back deck amazed beyond words at what we were witnessing. A few hundred yards away was one of Canada’s most beautiful creatures with her three young, seemingly oblivious to the wonder we all felt in our hearts as we took in the brief sighting. As quickly as we noticed and saw them, they disappeared back into the thick forests that surrounded the area.
As we ventured further into the remote region, we came around the corner and entered Glendale Cove. We were very close as a group of bears made their presence known as they foraged along the shoreline. Each of us onboard the boat was having a personal experience as the scene unfolded, and you could hear the enormity of it all enveloped in the silence that fell upon us. The only sound to be heard was the sound of shutters clicking as we all tried our best to capture the essence of the scene in a photograph. Our spirits were touched, never to be the same again.
We came closer to the shore in our skiff, expertly guided by the tour guides from Tide Rip Grizzly Tours, as the bears carried on foraging. For me, this profound experience was the culmination of a lifetime dream, one which I saw myself in the same space as these majestic creatures. Grizzly Bears have a reputation for being fierce adversaries that are dangerous to all those who come too close. This may be true, particularly if provoked, however from our perspective these amazing creatures were at peace with their surroundings, and were trying to maintain a lifestyle that can only be found in this region within their community. We were, after all, visiting them in their homes. This is something that you do carefully with consideration, respecting them greatly for their beauty and allure, balancing this with a healthy regard for the strength and power they can bring to bear if so inclined.
As we continued to explore Glendale Cove, we came around to the other side. Here we found another glorious bear who was seeking some good food to enjoy for lunch. Again, our proximity was something to be aware of, but our hearts soared as we realized that we were graciously allowed to share it’s space, under it’s terms. This was truly a gift the great Grizzly Bear was giving us.
We came away from our trip with a deep new understanding of how these creatures are in danger of losing their habitat to the constant onslaught of development and hunters. As their landscapes erode due to the relentless encroachment of man within their territories, it becomes harder and harder for these wonderful bears to find safe places to live and thrive. As such, their ability to live becomes threatened, as does their cubs ability to grow and learn how to navigate an increasingly contemporary world that challenges them for the very spaces they call home to.
We hope to never hear that the mighty and beautiful Grizzly Bear of the Great Bear Rainforest has become extinct. This can only be true, however, if we all come together in concern for these beautiful creatures, and realize how important they are to the rainforests they inhabit. They very well may be our proverbial canaries in a coalmine, letting us know that we’ve pushed too hard and too far with our extraction of natural resources and development within our parks. We only hope this realization doesn’t come too late.
To read more about our whirlwind trip to the northern part of Vancouver Island, please visit Mrs. Toad’s blog post “A Perfect Place To Leave Your Heart“. Thank you for visiting us today here at The Hollow, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.