(My solo road trip of western Canada – Saturday 26th September)
I find it difficult to explain how I was feeling driving from Mount Robson to my first ever river and jeep safari where there was a very high chance of seeing bears. My mind was totally preoccupied, I was nervous, excited, anxious and very focussed on getting to my destination as soon as I could. Blue River is on Yellow Head Highway Five, halfway between Jasper and Kamloops, as well as halfway between Mt. Robson and Wells Grey Park.
An absolutely fascinating fact is that I was driving towards the only inland temperate rainforest on the planet!! If time allowed, there was up to 12kms of bear territory to explore. When turning off the main highway to enter the entrance, you follow a dirt track which crosses over a railway line where I just happened to be at the right time and place to witness a very loud train crossing, you then pass over a small bridge where only one car can pass at a time. When I arrived at the main building, like a child in a sweet shop, I decided to upgrade my tour from just a river safari to include the jeep safari too after I was told that there was over a 90% chance of seeing bears. For me this was worth it as it was highly unlikely I would return to this place for a long time, and even if I did, there would be no guarantee of experiencing this with such beautiful weather and with the likelihood so high of seeing bears.
It turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life, without a doubt! What I saw was much more than I expected…
We saw a large black male following a trail along the coast, popping in and out of the water as it sniffed its way along the trail. It was quite a formidable sight to be honest. It was very bothered by us as it was focussed on the trail it had found, not sure where it lead.
We then carried on our tour to a couple of different parts of the river but with no luck. We then journeyed to another part of the river where we approached a large black female with three cubs (unfortunately I did not capture a photo of all three cubs together as one of them quickly climbed up a tree behind its mother, but in one of the photos, you can see the cub in the tree). Our guide told us that this sight was quite rare. The cubs were about nine months old and it was quite common that at least one of them would have died by now or the mother would have at least abandoned one of them. It shows the resilience, love and care of an amazing mother.
Once the river safari was over, there was a short break before I commenced on the jeep safari. Other than the river, there was a couple and one other guide. I was given a choice as to where I would like to sit and I chose to stand at the back of the jeep and have a strap tied behind my back which was attached to the jeep railings. The jeep safari blessed me with the opportunity to see a young brown male, who at one point showed who was boss by standing high on its back legs, a beautiful sight. It seemed he could sense something we could not, it was going up and down the hill behind it, and then at one point crossed the road right behind me and very close to me!
Soon after, it became clear what was bothering the young brown male. A huge black male came around the corner, totally and utterly awesome and exhilarating!!! A truly fantastic few hours of my life which I will cherish forever and not forget!