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Article Teaser: This is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada called the West Chilcotin. Since we have a high density of both black and grizzly bear, this series of articles is intended to help give you an idea of what you are dealing with when vacationing in our area.

Keep reading below...

THE TRUTH OF BEARS - Being stalked by a bear

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

I referred to Smith's story in the last article and had I never had any experiences with bears, I would have had to taken his story with a grain of salt. But I know the man and he's no storyteller when it comes to something like this. And I've been there too.

In 1981 economic disaster struck us all. Jobs were limited and a lot of people were laid off in a world where the industry bubble had burst, much like the tech industry in 2001 where so many people that had invested in 'Internet' style businesses got caught with their pants down ... including me.

In the early eighties, the onslaught was caused by ridiculously high interest rates and I had been one of the ones caught up in the downsize wave, so a friend and I decided to go gold panning. The Cariboo was rich in gold at one time and many of the creeks and rivers, such as the Fraser and Quesnel, still yield small nuggets and flour gold to a person with patience. We decided to go up to Quesnel Forks where two major rivers meet and do some gold panning. We did so for days in the freezing water of late fall and actually didn't do too badly for newbies to the gold panning game. Until I accidentally kicked our Cheez Whiz jar of gold into the water while adding more gold dust and lost it all to the current. Ok, so tempers were a little high for a while but it wasn't really enough to make a living on anyway, ok?

Based on my research and books, we decided to head up a creek called Cedar Creek because it had been an excellent gold bearing creek until the next bonanza on the next creek in the late 1800's. At that time, prospectors had a habit of leaving a perfectly good paying area for the possibility of 'the big one' up the road. Gossip and dreams were the mainstay in gold country in those days.

We found the creek and began to follow it upcountry in dense underbrush canopied by huge, dark cedar trees. The woods were dark because sunlight just couldn't pierce the cedar branches overhead and the ground was soft from rotting vegetation in an almost rainforest type of ecosystem.

Not long after starting out I got the heebie jeebies. I have good instincts in the woods. I have highly honed instincts when I'm only carrying a shovel and gold pan and my partner ahead of me is the only one with a rifle. We had my golden lab/husky cross with us. She was a smart dog and had good instincts too. I figured that out when I had difficulty walking because she was either between my legs or bumping off my knees because she was walking so close beside me and the fur was standing straight up on her neck and shoulders. So I paid attention to sound because I have excellent hearing. Yep, sure enough, on the ridge above us I was hearing the odd faint snap of a twig and I'm the first to admit...I got rattled. That bad feeling just wasn't going away, it was getting worse.

I had mentioned to my gold panning partner several times my feeling on the situation and didn't get anywhere. Finally, the raised hair-on-the-neck feeling got so bad I finally had to tell my partner that it was time to turn back because this just wasn't a good place to be. Being a city type, he wasn't buying it and he had that city oblivion thing happening along with the " I'm cool, and afraid of nothing" testosterone stuff going on. I finally gave him an ultimatum. "You carry the shovel and I carry the rifle or me and the dog are turning around!" Since he wasn't about to give up the rifle, he reluctantly gave in and we backtracked.

We got into the truck and drove by road paralleling the creek until we got to where another road turned off down to the creek, about where we had wanted to get to by walking. We pulled down as close as we could but the road was pretty wet from recent rains and so we got out to walk to the creek. Only a few steps from the truck I looked down and told my gold panning partner to get back to the truck. He didn't understand what I was saying and started to continue down the road. "Get back in the truck now!" I yelled. He looked down and finally saw what I had.

When they talk about dinner plate sized grizzly tracks ... it's really true. Except that in this case, the mud was oozing back into these tracks - they were so fresh. It became very obvious, even to my city-bred friend, that this bear had in fact been above us on the ridge the entire time and now that he hit the same road we would have to go down to the creek, he would have intercepted us. Was it just an accident that he was going the same direction? Maybe. Or had he been stalking us? Both me and the dog had been feeling the same way for at least 45 minutes. That's a long time for an animal to 'just happen' to be in the same part of the country for the same amount of time. But had we met whether by accident or design, the outcome either way would not have been pretty. He would have run away, or died, or we would have been mauled. That simple.

It taught me an important lesson. I would never again go into the woods, especially bear country, with someone less experienced than me in woodscraft that won't listen. I haven't broken that rule to this day.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Jane Baker writes daily articles about the remote Chilcotin area in west central British Columbia, Canada. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full of wildlife, living here goes from no running water or electricity to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without the smog! To learn more about vacationing here check out http://www.resortsbc.com/index.html

All five bear attack articles with images can be found at http://www.resortsbc.com/Wilderness-AdventuresSep3.html

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Internal ID: #4605
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Total Views: 2951

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