It has been over a year and a half since we visited Glendale Cove on our epic Grizzly Bear viewing adventure, a vacation that my wonderful wife, Mrs. Toad, put together to celebrate my 50th birthday.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and one that we still talk about whenever the chance arises, reminiscing about how beautiful the landscapes of that remote part of the British Columbia coast are, and how amazing the bears were to see.  Bears hold a special place in my heart, and have my entire life.  They are a threatened species that always seem to be on the verge of becoming an endangered species as development and hunting reduce their fragile population.  If this is your first visit to our blog here, you may wish to see some of the previous posts we’ve made from our trips to this part of British Columbia, cataloged here in our series “North Island Toads“.  In particular, you may wish to see our post that specifically talks about our visit to Glendale Cove to see the Grizzly Bears titled “The Grizzly Bears Of Glendale Cove“.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The day started early in the morning one day in June as the fog slowly drifted over Telegraph Cove creating a mystical air that spoke of the wonders that were to come.  We followed the lead boat through Knight Inlet on a rather long journey to the remote region where Glendale Cove is to be found.  The waters were still, the air had a bit of a chill to it, and a sense of the excitement that was about to come was palpable in the boat for all the adventurers.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

As we made our way down Knight Inlet, the fog slowly began to lift, revealing the rugged landscapes that this part of Canada are known for.  In most cases these forests are uninhabited by people, being home to countless animals that have lived here for as long as the earth can recall.  The serenity and peace we felt as we boated our way towards Glendale Cove was cathartic, almost as if we were in a trance or meditating upon nature’s wonders.  As we reflect upon this trip we can’t help but be reminded about the ongoing political maelstrom that engulfs British Columbia regarding the pending oil pipeline projects.  In the event of an oil spill out here it would likely be the end of this pristine and natural place as there is a wide doubt to the effectiveness of cleanup plans and technologies that are in place to mitigate such a disaster.  It would break our hearts to see this all destroyed in the name of profit and we can only hope that as the process continues, cooler heads will prevail and another way will be found.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Amazing little islands were found all along our route.  These trees have been standing here for a very long time, indeed, and this particular island looked as if it stood sentry for Knight Inlet, surveying all visitors who came and went through this passage.  To call this all amazing would be an incredible understatement.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Once we arrived at Glendale Cove we were all transferred to the easy to maneuver skiffs that were perfect viewing platforms for what was about to unfold in front of us.  Eagles soared high overhead and the sounds of gulls could be heard in the winds as the waters of Glendale Cove gently lapped against the sides of the boats.  The cold drafts of the morning were slowly giving way to more comfortable temperatures as the sun permeated us all, and we began to see the wonderful Grizzly Bears as they came down to the estuary to feed for the day.  Later in the season, you can come here to see the bears fishing in the river that feeds into the estuary on the salmon that are spawning.  That, my friends, is a trip for another time, for sure.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Finally.  Here are the Grizzly Bears of Glendale Cove.  The incredible bears have lived here for untold eons, completely unaware of what it means to have direct encounters with human beings.  As such, they were completely comfortable with us being around.  The expert guides at Tide Rip Grizzly Tours ensured that the bears were not threatened in any way, keeping us all at a distance that balanced the need to be respectful of these amazing creatures with our desire to get as close as we could to see them.  This is where telephoto lenses were critical.  Even though we were close, we weren’t close enough to cause them any form of distress and quite honestly they barely even noticed us as they went about their daily activities.  It was all I could do to stop myself from trying to swim to them to hug them and scratch their furry ears.  I was told more than once that this was a terrible idea, and Mrs. Toad made me promise not to stuff any of the cubs in my pocket to bring home.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

These bears are huge and quite powerful.  It’s easy to miss this as they roam the vast lands of the region as scale and context are often lost.  I believe this entire region is part of The Great Bear Rainforest, a huge swatch of land comprised of over 6.4 million hectares.  This park has been recently designated as such, in part as a means to protect the fragile habitats these bears rely on for their very existence.  Any notion of loss or damage to this region breaks our very hearts as we simply cannot imagine a world where these amazing Grizzly Bears aren’t free to prowl under their own terms.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Each bear is as unique as a snowflake, with distinct colors and markings that identify them as a singular creature living in a massive habitat.  During our visit this day, we say 9 Grizzly Bears in total; 5 cubs and 4 adults.  Each sighting drew excited gasps from everyone onboard the skiffs as our cameras quietly clicked away trying to freeze these special moments forever in time.  My imagination runs rampant even today after all this time as I pause often to reflect on what it felt like to be so close to these amazing animals, enjoying the sightings and experiences of the area under their terms.  Make no mistake about it, we were visitors to their domain.

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Tide Rip Grizzly Tours – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

It is so very difficult to find the proper words to describe the feeling of the day.  Mrs. Toad and I often say to each other that we left our hearts up here, and as I sit here writing this post to share with everyone I yearn so very much to return.  Perhaps we will see one of the friends we made that day, now grown older and perhaps even with a new family of their own.  Female Grizzly Bears only carry cubs every other year during this time in their lives, making each of these bear spirits a true wonder and something to be treasured and cared for.  We are all stewards of the places we frequent and we really hope that by posting these stories we might bring more people into the fold of caring for this area and the bears who call it home.  If you are interested in participating in helping these initiatives, we encourage you to check out the great work being done by the folks at Pacific Wild.  I was lucky enough to meet photographer Ian McAllister in person one day (thanks once again to my wonderful wife who arranged that special meeting) and can honestly say that he is one of the greatest people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and the group at Pacific Wild are doing great work all in the name of preservation.

Well, I guess it’s time to wrap up this ride down memory lane and head back to all the modern trappings of city life.  We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to visit us here at our humble blog, and we hope you’ve come away with a new love and appreciate of the Grizzly Bears on the west coast of Canada.  Please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below, we love to hear from all our visitors.




  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Wow just amazing Toad. I’m dying to photograph Grizzly bears.

    • It was an experience that will follow me for the rest of my life, Edith, it’s something we highly recommend to those who love this sort of thing. Thanks for popping by and commenting here, we really appreciate it!

  2. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    What a beautiful place this is, and how fortunate you were to be able to photograph the bears!
    Oh, yes, I definitely would love hug one of those little cubs, but I am sure that mama would not approve. 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing here. You live in such a beautiful area.

    • Many heartfelt thanks, Lisa, that means a lot to us! Yeh, I’ve heard that the momma bears can be a “tad bit protective” of the wee ones, that’s for sure! We just recently watched the Disney special on Grizzly Bears, it was an amazing movie, one we’ll watch again for sure. I have a real concern for their well being as things seem to be changing so quickly due to the climate changes we are experiencing. At any rate, once again, many thanks for popping on by to see us here!

  3. avatar Frank King says:

    Excellent gallery of one of my favourite places. I look forward to visiting BC again, once the current political situation is resolved.

    • Cheers, Frank, we sure do appreciate you taking the time to visit and leave us your thoughts my friend! Hope to see you on this side of the border again in the future once things settle down. Take care!