There are some fears, rational or otherwise, that intrude into even the most pleasant of experiences. We’re back on the Bruce Trail again in our quest to complete the full, just under 1,000 kms, length. My hiking partner Cheryl and I are relishing it over 4 years… which is just another way of saying that we’re not speed hikers. It also means that this is our 3rd Spring with all the fantastic, re-emerging life that we get to witness. The rocky escarpment floor and naked deciduous trees, just before they sprout leaves, have a stark beauty all their own.
Now this is forested Ontario so that includes great big bears and Cheryl is always on the lookout for them. She declares every crevice or cave we pass probably houses one…
We’ve been known to blow whistles, carry bells or just talk loudly so we don’t surprise a sleepy, hungry, just awakening bear along the way.
Here I’m descending yet another ladder but more importantly, can you see what that is peaking out of my backpack?
For those of you who guessed bear spray – full marks…Although apparently you have to get in really close and spray in the eyes for it to do any good so I think it just makes us feel better.
For the record, talking loudly and a lot, seems to be what we excel at and so far we haven’t met a bear!
We’ve seen interesting signs of other creatures from square shaped holes left by woodpeckers, to tree bark chewed by hungry winter deer.
We’ve seen bear scat and heard odd grunts, that didn’t come from either of us, but so far at least the trail has been bear free. But we know they’re there and, of course, now that we’re getting further north… Our heartfelt wish however, is to complete this trail without seeing a single one.
On a more serious note, our Province has inexplicably authorized a spring bear hunt for the first time since 1999. Even many hunters are opposed to killing bears at a time when they’re having cubs. This statement on the side of a shed I’ve passed for years, explains just how I feel about that idea!