Close Encounters of the Bear Kind
I’d had ‘one of those weeks’ – filled with a bit of self doubt, a bit of procrastination, and a distinct lack of motivation to accomplish much. I also knew I needed to scope out a wedding venue for an upcoming shoot. Decided to combine the mission with some ‘me time’. On Friday, dropped hubby at the station, stocked up with a Timmy’s XL steeped tea, double double, and hit the road at 7.30am.
Traveled ‘Route 66’ – the Alberta version – highway 66, west of Bragg Creek, into Kananaskis Country – always a favourite. Hazy warm morning light tinted slightly pink by BC forest fire smoke gave a glow to the already pretty area.
Roadside grazers were common – both domesticated and wild.
Elbow Falls has always been one of my favourite shooting destinations. Despite the devastating floods that tore the area apart in 2013, the falls themselves thunder to the rocks below, with spray mist catching light (and rainbows if you’re really fortunate).
As I descended the path, toying with the new lens and a squirrel playing hide and seek, I experienced the joy of being the only one experiencing the peace and beauty of the morning scenery – birds chirping, chipmunks chattering, and the running water as background music. That quickly transitioned to heart pounding adrenaline when I discovered I was being watched by a young black bear 15 feet from the path, and realized I was all alone!
The gamut of emotions running through my brain went from, ‘oh wow, a bear, how cute’ (click went the camera), to ‘holy *$@!, a bear, it’s 15 feet away’, over to ‘OMG, it’s a young black bear, there’s a momma around here somewhere, walk away, walk briskly away’. By that time my imagination ran wild and I was convinced a shadow moved up on the hill behind. (It could well have been a leaf in the breeze, the missing squirrel, or nothing at all.) The bear turned the opposite way, and I carried on down the hill walking briskly, but not running, until I made it to the car – only a 100m away! I think it took my heart about 15 minutes to go back to normal speed. It was a cross of exhilaration and adrenaline.
My one shot was not as out of focus as I thought it would be.
Breathing restored, I carried on up the road to Forget Me Not Pond delighted to discover the pond was flat calm, a perfect backdrop for reflections.
PS – the Dewinton Community Hall is a fabulous venue for a wedding. Even though it took me four hours to get there, it’s only 10 minutes south of Calgary in a beautiful setting, complete with a gazebo and playground.