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August 24th, 2011 - Three Bears on the Cassiar By GP

Quotes about Bears

“The rule about bears is their unpredictability.”
– Anonymous

“I don’t have to run faster than a Bear, I only have to run faster than you” – Me (Greg Powell) on my first and LAST date hiking in Algonquin Park with a woman – who will remain unnamed.

Yesterday I started heading south down the Cassiar Highway in northern British Columbia. A fun road to ride with its roller-coaster hills, sharp turns and surrounded by dense forest.  While coming over the crest of one of the rollercoaster hills I spotted my first bear on this highway, it was a small black bear cub playing in the roadway. Noticing the motorcycle he quickly darted off into the forest and most likely closer to Mama Bear. I did not try and get a photo as I know Mama Bear would not have approved.

Stopping for the night I was determined to get an early start and continue my way south. The skies were clear and I figured I could make good time today. The rain had other plans for me and kept moving in and out until I finally had enough and decided to stop and put my rain get on. Having just stopped for coffee a few minutes before I also needed to use the restroom and took advantage of one of Rest Area’s offered along the highway.  Returning to my bike after answering natures call, I started to undo my bag straps and retrieve my rain gear; thinking about how the rain has been affecting my mood. Four days of cold rain and I am starting to feel annoyed and irritable, emotions I have not felt since starting my adventure. Just as I undid the first strap I looked up from the task at hand only to discover a bear walking straight towards me from the other end of the Rest Area. The rain gear can wait, he was big, I took off down the highway. I don’t think he was interested in me, but I was not sticking around to find out.

After 53 kilometers there was another rest stop and I was able to put my rain gear on, but it was too late. I was wet, cold and getting miserable. Memories turned to two couples I know back in Ontario, John and Susan, and Max and Olga, who no matter what the circumstances always seem to be positive. What did I have to be miserable about? The weather? Cheer up the weather will change. I am on the adventure of a lifetime!

I slow down and turn off the Cassiar and onto highway 16 heading towards Prince George BC. An abandon building is on my left and on the right hand side of the road is a black object, not moving and seems out of place at the roadside. Suddenly a black bear raises his head, looks right at me and with amazing agility, jumps into the road way. I have a bear right in front of me, staring at me, only 20 meters away.  As I begin to slow down the bear decides to cross the road. Not wanting to be stopped in the roadway I accelerate and pass behind the bear. My heart was racing but I couldn’t help but feel a rush of adrenaline and thought to myself “That was cool”.

No time for photos of the bears. Deciding to stop in Smithers BC and dry out, I found a hotel and called it a night. As soon as I paid for my room the rain stopped. I am starting the day tomorrow with full rain gear on; expect sunshine in Prince George.

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