Friday, August 21, 2009

Close Encounters of the Ursus Americanus Kind

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, between, work, house deals, preparing to move, and moving our daughter back for school. Despite how hectic things have been I have managed to keep some running and a little bit of biking on the schedule. Right now I think I have enough of a base to pull off a marathon sometime in October or November. My right calf is okay, but I still have some doubt about how it is going to act with some added stress on it. I have been keeping my runs to about one hour and a moderate pace and it has been holding up. But you know when you have that feeling that it is still there, ready to come to the forefront at any moment. That is how it feels right now.
This week I had a close encounter with a bear on my lunch time run. I was running the back trails and had decided to take a little more rugged route along a game trail. The trail is off of the main town trails which are well travelled and within the town limits. From where this game trail cuts off of the main trail I could hear kids playing in their back yard so we are not talking about bush whacking into the wilderness. So back to my encounter. I headed up the trail just as a way of making up some time, plus it is actually a nice run. I went for about 5 minutes and then I turned to head back onto the town trail. On the way back, I could hear some loud snuffling noises in front of me and off to the left. At that point I couldn’t see anything as this trail has lots of curves and bends, so I kept going. When I got to the bottom of the hill and about 50 metres from the main trail, I could see a large black bear in the bush to the left of me and about 5 metres away. He was making the noises as he was trying to get a good smell of me. Immediately I stopped as I could see that he had already saw me, however he was not moving. So it became a bit of a stare down. Because he was so close I was not thinking of making any more noise than I already had, plus it was clear he had a number of options for avoiding me if he chose. Usually they are more aggressive if you are blocking their only egress. I was not inclined to go back up the trail, so I just kept my eyes on him and continued to walk toward the exit onto the town trail. The bear was still not moving but he was continuing to sniff the air and raise his head. With every step I am just hoping that he either turns or goes the other way or stays put. While I am keeping my eyes on him I am also looking around for anything that I could use to defend myself, a stick, big rock, anything. Unfortunately there is nothing that looks like it would help me at all. Now I have put about 25 metres between us and I am that much closer to the main trail. Bears can run fast there is no doubt about that, so I am still not thinking about trying to out run him. I just want to get out of his sight without him moving and that is what I did. However, once I was on the main trail I lit it up! Usain Bolt wouldn’t have caught me as I put some major distance between us. So I guess that this workout provided adequate stresses on my body and also introduced a bit of speed into the mix as well.
Hopefully that is my last encounter for awhile. The bears here (Alberta) act a lot differently than those I have run into back in Ontario. These bears never seem to take off once they see you and are either more curious or bold, I’m not sure which.
This weekend will be busy helping my son Nicholas with some repairs on his house. I am fortunate that my brother Blair is available to help us out as who knows what damage the two of us could do left to our own devices.Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Becky H said...

Wow... glad your bear encounter only served to raise the adrenaline levels...quite the rush though!! Stay safe!