Yesterday was a bit unusual for me as I had back to back to back conference calls that started early in the morning and went through to mid-afternoon. The early morning start interfered with my daily walk leaving me the choice of going in the afternoon or just waiting until the evening which would make for a rather dull Friday night. After sitting at the computer for hours straight I needed to stretch my legs so I opted for the afternoon.
In behind my apartment complex there is a nice stretch of the Hoy Creek Trail so I often start my walk there, get some fresh air before going out to the sidewalks skirting some heavily trafficked roads. As I walk along the trail I round a slight corner and notice some movement on the little bridge crossing Hoy Creek up ahead. Much to my surprise a large black bear steps off of the bridge on to the trail about 10 yards in front of me and casually starts sniffing his way down the path.
Naturally I just stopped and remained motionless and continued to watch the bear ever so slowly walk in the other direction. Looking at the bear I think about who does one call to report a bear sighting in the city, do I call 911 or some other group? Upon further thought I figured that by the time anybody responded to my call the bear would have already left the path he was on and surprised whoever was at the other end of the trail. Knowing that this part of the trail opens on to a very busy sidewalk at a bus stop on the even busier Johntson Street I figured this could get real bad real quick. I thought it would better if I circled around and warned the people I knew that would be on the sidewalk of the impending arrival of the bear.
Taking a different path I hurried to the other end of the same sidewalk that the bear would soon be on and began warning people of the danger ahead. The first 2, an older woman with a young teenage girl in tow thanked me and continued on their way towards the direction of the bear. A little further ahead there was a group of 6 elderly people enjoying the view of Hoy Creek and all the little salmon fry swimming in the waters below the overpass they were on. I warned them to be on the lookout for the bear and continued up the road towards where the bear would eventually immerge. Next, a young woman tuned out with her iPod was walking towards me so I stopped her and warned her as I knew the bear had to be close by and likely in the bushes to her right.
Upon arrival of where the Hoy Creek trail joins the sidewalk I looked down the path and sure enough here comes the bear. By this time the little old lady and her granddaughter caught me up and I pointed out the bear. The young woman with the iPod turns around and comes to join the three of us as we watch the bear slowly walk towards us. About 15 yards from us the bear turns off of the path and goes in to the bush to cut across the creek. This I know will put the bear heading straight towards the group of old people admiring the salmon fry so I warn them once again and they start walking off.
Seeing the group of the old people walking away I also see more people walking towards us, I start walking towards them in an effort to try to keep the bear from coming out of the bush right on top of these unsuspecting people. Armed only with my camera, and making a lot of noise, I tried my best to parallel the bear as he went through the bushes in an effort to keep the bear in there.
Suddenly the bear charges out the bushes right between the two divergent groups of people and runs across the busy 4 lane street causing a few emergency stops and scarring a lot of people. Once on the other side of the street the bear walks along the sidewalk to where the Hoy Creek trail continues its way deep in to the neighborhood.
As we watch the bear go back in to the woods surrounding the creek the little old lady and her granddaughter catch me up and she says in her thick eastern European accent, “I have lived in Canada now for a long time and I have never, ever seen a bear.” To this I could only respond with as I resumed my walk, “You can’t say that any more.”